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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence

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Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

International experts to gather in Waterloo for public conference on academic freedom and partnership agreements

Aug 28/12| For Immediate Release


Lori Chalmers Morrison, Associate Director, Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 x3067 or


Shelley Grandy, Sr. PR Adviser
University of Waterloo
905-866-2656 or

WATERLOO, ON — A distinguished group of Canadian and international experts will gather in Waterloo Sept. 6 for a public discussion of academic freedom in the context of university partnership agreements.

Co-hosted by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, in partnership with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Perspectives on Academic Freedom conference will feature speakers and panelists representing a range of viewpoints from the academic community in Canada and abroad.

“Academic freedom is essential to the role of universities in a democratic society,” said Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “The pursuit of truth and its communication to others means that faculty must be free to take intellectual risks and engage in reasoned discourse, rigorous research and scholarship that is subject to peer review. This conference permits Canada’s universities to explore these principles more deeply.”

The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist, Jeffrey Simpson, will moderate two panel discussions. Speakers and panelists from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe include:

  • Robert O'Neil, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Virginia
  • Rose Goldstein, Vice-Principal Research and International Relations, McGill University
  • Heide Hackmann, Executive Director, International Social Science Council, Paris
  • James Turk, President the Canadian Association of University Teachers
  • Gary Rhoades, Professor and Director, Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of Arizona 
  • Martha Crago, Vice-President Research, Dalhousie University
  • Peter Warrian, Senior Research Fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies, and Past Chair of Philanthropic Foundations Canada 
  • Peter MacKinnon, Past President of the University of Saskatchewan
  • Len Findlay, Chair of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers
  • John Hepburn, Vice-President Research and International, University of British Columbia
  • Paul Davidson, President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
  • Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo 
  • Max Blouw, President and Vice-Chancellor, Wilfrid Laurier University

“Academic freedom and university partnership agreements have been the subject of vigorous debate, not just in Canada but across the international academic community,” said Max Blouw, President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. “These matters are important to the reputation of universities and the research they support, and we are pleased to facilitate an informed and insightful discussion of the complex issues involved.”

“As academic institutions strive to establish new and innovative partnerships to serve society, maintaining academic freedom is essential to the ongoing credibility of universities and affiliated research,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “This conference provides an important forum for discussion regarding the role of philanthropy in supporting research at our publicly funded institutions.”

The Perspectives on Academic Freedom conference will be held Sept. 6 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Waterloo Inn, 475 King St. N., Waterloo, Ontario. Admission is free but guests are asked to register at:

For more information about the conference program, visit:


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