From left to right: Ambassadors Pierre Alarie and Gwyneth A. Kutz; BCCIE’s Director, External Relations, Colin Doerr; Senior Trade Commissioner Brenda Wills and Ambassador Marcel Lebleu.
The Pacific Alliance Roundtable: Building BC’s relations with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia
On April 24, 2017, the BC Council for International Education and Global Affairs Canada co-hosted a roundtable in Vancouver, BC on the topic of strengthening education cooperation between BC and the Pacific Alliance members, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
The roundtable was attended by Canadian federal diplomats from the four Pacific Alliance countries, including:
- Marcel Lebleu, Ambassador of Canada to Chile
- Gwyneth A. Kutz, Ambassador of Canada to Peru and Bolivia
- Pierre Alarie, Ambassador of Canada to Mexico
- Brenda Wills, Senior Trade Commissioner, Embassy of Canada to Colombia
The event was a great success, sparking dialogue on how to build educational opportunities between BC and Latin America. The Ambassadors of Canada and Senior Trade Commissioner provided market updates and trends from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. There was also a discussion of how Canada and BC are in an ideal location to be a nexus linking Latin America with Asia. Finally, there were networking opportunities with provincial and federal International Education colleagues.
Created in 2011, the Pacific Alliance is a regional integrative initiative including Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The Alliance seeks the free movement of goods, services, capital and people while promoting economic growth for member countries, with an aim to expand relations within the greater Asia-Pacific Region. Since the Foundation of the Pacific Alliance in 2011, Canada has been a strong supporter and was the first non-Latin American observer to the bloc.
BC has roughly 4,320 international students from the Pacific Alliance markets, which combined make up the 7th largest source of international students studying in BC. This is an increase of 39% between 2010 and 2015 with some of the largest increases coming out of Colombia and Peru.
BCCIE has been turning toward the Pacific Alliance countries as an emerging partner in international collaboration. Earlier this year, we completed a feasibility mission to Mexico, and a follow-up mission is planned for Fall 2017. Previous similar initiatives coordinated by BCCIE include the Spring 2016 Latin America roundtables.
“This was an exemplary demonstration of federal and provincial cooperation sharply focused on the International Education file. The roundtable worked to engage our sector as we turn our attention towards our southern neighbours in advancing our shared interests in identifying innovative opportunities for increased mobility, research and collaboration in International Education.”
-Colin Doerr, Director, External Relations
“The great interest demonstrated by participants highlighted the potential that BC has to increase its international education presence in the Pacific Alliance countries. Canadian educators have much to offer, not only in Latin America but around the world. Global Affairs Canada looks forwards to continuing to work with BCCIE and clients who wish to increase their reach in the international education sector”
-Mandeep Gill, Trade Commissioner