The inspiration for the World's Challenge Challenge came together as we planned for Western University's first International Week in 2013. How could we engage students in thinking more about global issues and taking productive steps towards finding solutions? We looked to several sources of inspiration for the answer. The first being His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor-General of Canada, and former Dean of Law at Western, who wrote the following in 2012, in The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers:
“It is perhaps the defining question of our time: How to tackle the complex, interrelated challenges of the 21st century in a coherent and effective way? The answer, I am convinced, lies in what I call the diplomacy of knowledge, defined as our ability and willingness to work together and share our learning across disciplines and borders. When people achieve the right mixture of creativity, communication and co-operation, remarkable things can happen.”
Original Column from The Right Honorable David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada
We also looked to our own University President, Amit Chakma, whose international experience has shaped his academic and administrative career. President Chakma's personal passion for international learning and intercultural sharing has created a community of global leaders at Western who want to make an impact on the world stage. In a 2012 Convocation speech at the University of Waterloo, President Chakma said:
“If you embrace a global vision, your talents and creative minds hold the potential and the power to solve [enormous world challenges] and improve the human condition right across our global village.”
With so many issues and challenges ahead, we need the collective efforts of many - from across the globe and across different disciplines - to create solutions that can work. Come and be part of the World's Challenge Challenge and become a global leader!