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August 14, 2013

SHASTRI-MITACS INTERACTION MEETING


On August 8, 2013, The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute organized an interaction meeting with Mitacs students affiliated with the University of Calgary. The meeting provided an opportunity to showcase the value added of the Shastri Institute for the past +40 years in promoting and fostering collaboration between India and Canada.

The event was attended by 13 Mitacs students including 1 University of Calgary. The participants came from different parts of the world, i.e., 3 students from China, 6 from Mexico, 2 from Brazil, 2 from India and 1 from Nigeria. The meeting was also attended by Dr. Mattu, President of India-Canada Chamber of Commerce Alberta Business Council as well as Shastri staff members, Ms. Mahmuda Aldeen, Program and Member Relations Officer, Ms. Sarah Sidane, Program and Communications Officer and Mr. Sabu Alexander, Finance and Public Relations Officer.

Led by Ms. Aldeen, the meeting started with general introductions where the students provided a brief overview about their projects. Through an interactive discussion, the students shared their experiences and expectations from this internship. All of them thanked Mitacs for this excellent opportunity, which offered them a very good learning curve. The students noted the differences in the teaching-learning styles between the institutions in their home countries and Canada in the sense that the methodology they were exposed to in the Calgary University was more liberal and realistic than in their home universities. Besides, the equipment used is more sophisticated, the libraries have rich resource materials and the teachers involve students in the learning process. The participants added that this exposure was very fruitful and helped them to explore new ideas and new ways of thinking. The students were very positive about their future and keen to come back to Canada for further study.

The discussion was followed with a presentation about Shastri Institute by Ms. Aldeen. The presentation gave an overview of Shastri’s mandate, mission and its strengths. The presentation also highlighted Shastri Institute’s multi-disciplinary approach and its thematic areas.

Ms. Aldeen talked about the Institute’s membership growth since its inception in 1967. From 3 members, the Institute’s total membership capacity increased to 95 members in Canada and India. Discussion included Shastri’s leadership engagement with both the federal and provincial governments in Canada as well the government of India and other stakeholders. Ms. Aldeen also listed some MoUs the institute inked to encourage student mobility namely, the Quebec International Tuition Fee Exemption which enables Indian students to study in Québec universities on Québec domestic fees as well as the recent MoU with the government of Saskatchewan on education cooperation.

The participants were happy to learn about the Institute and wished Shastri could open up and embrace new countries besides India and Canada.

In his intervention, Dr. Mattu talked about the role of Canada India Chamber of Commerce in promoting the business and professionals and facilitating trade opportunities between Canada and India. He also mentioned the tremendous opportunities Canada is offering for youth to further their studies. He encouraged the group to come to Canada as it is currently looking for new models and connections apart from US and Mexico.

Ms. Aldeen and the other Shastri Staff members thanked all participants for their time and contributions at this event and wished good luck to all Mitacs students in their future studies and endeavors.

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