TamilChangemakers Insights: Globlal Issues Require Consistent & Compassionate Responses
"In times of crisis, our response needs to be kind, compassionate, consistent and timely. We must respond to our community, whether it be wars in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, or floods in Pakistan or civil unrest and peaceful protests in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka or Iran."
Nov 19, 2022
Vinitha Gengatharan's insights appeared in our October TamilChangemakers Newsletter. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here and join our private LinkedIn group here.
In a globalized world, with large diaspora populations and international students, when events like war, natural disaster, civil unrest or a public health emergency happens in one corner of the world, we are all impacted. The impact is often both local and global.
Canada and Canadian universities are home to staff, faculty, students, international students and a network of alumni and partners from nearly every corner of the world.
In times of crisis, our response needs to be kind, compassionate, consistent and timely. We must respond to our community, whether it be wars in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, or floods in Pakistan or civil unrest and peaceful protests in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka or Iran.
The community hurts in similar ways - their attention focused on loved ones, day and night riddled with no sleep, and difficulty concentrating on immediate tasks at hand and for our students, added financial instability and academic concerns. The support must be consistent.
If we are about ethical and inclusive internationalization and global engagement, then we are obliged to live these values at home and abroad. Our response needs to be consistent, equitable, and timely in support of our shared humanity.
For those of us in the sector, we need to examine our past and current practices to ensure we continue to be a best practice in the world. Our experiment in pluralism, diversity and inclusion has to evolve to meet the challenges of our time.
Vinitha Gengatharan is Executive Director, Global Engagement & Partnership at York University. Previously, Vinitha was at the University of Toronto for 17 years where she held several progressively senior roles and led the university’s international strategy and partnerships. She has extensive experience in engaging in the Asia-Pacific region including building institutional collaborations with institutions, industry and government. At the University of Toronto, she established the University’s in-country presence in China. She has served in a leadership capacity on numerous not-for-profit boards including Agincourt Community Services Association, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Hart House Board of Stewards. She is a founding member of Tamil Women Rising and is a member of the board of directors at the Canadian Bureau for International Education.