UBC global engagement strategy launch

Apr 12, 2021 - 8:30 am to 9:45 am

UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono launched UBC’s global engagement strategy, In Service, on April 12, 2021.

The program featured local and global speakers in conversation on what it means to be a university in service to the world through equitable collaboration – from research on issues of global relevance to capacity development work and global educational experiences.

Watch a recording of the full event.

Watch the UBC global engagement video.

Download UBC's global engagement strategy

More information: daniella.weber@ubc.ca or 604-822-2484.

Media inquiries: michelle.pentz@ubc.ca.

We acknowledge that UBC’s campuses are situated on the traditional, unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation.


  • Emcee: Murali Chandrashekaran, Vice-Provost, International, UBC; Fred H. Siller Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business, UBC; Senior Research Fellow, Global Network for Advanced Management
  • Elder Larry Grant, Musqueam; Adjunct Professor, First Nations and Endangered Languages Program; Consultant, Musqueam Language and Culture Department, UBC
  • Elder Wilfred 'Grouse' Barnes, Westbank First Nation; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health and Social Development, School of Nursing, UBC Okanagan
  • Santa J. Ono, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor
  • Janet Napolitano, Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley; Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security; Past President, University of California 
  • Lauren N. Sorkin, Executive Director, Resilient Cities Network
  • Philippe Sutter, Consul General of France in Vancouver
  • Ravi Kumar S., President, Infosys Ltd.
  • Steven Johnston, Executive Director, Community Impact Real Estate Society
  • Moderator: Murali Chandrashekaran, Vice-Provost, International
  • Jane Weru, Executive Director, Akiba Mashinani Trust
  • Rashid Sumaila, University Killam Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Faculty of Science, and School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Faculty of Arts, UBC; Canada Research Chair 
  • Cindy Bourne, UBC Alumna (Ph.D. '20, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies) and Staff: Coordinator of Graduate and Teaching Assistant Programs, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Office of the Provost, UBC Okanagan
  • Parsa Shani, UBC Alumnus (B.A.Sc. '20, Civil Engineering, Minor in Urban Studies and Political Science); Sustainable Finance Analyst, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

  • Murali Chandrashekaran, Vice-Provost, International


Murali Chandrashekaran

Dr. Murali Chandrashekaran is the Vice-Provost, International at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, and the Fred H. Siller Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.  As Vice-Provost, International, Dr. Chandrashekaran provides leadership in shepherding the University’s diverse and complex international activities on both campuses, and in advancing UBC’s international strategic priorities.

Dr. Chandrashekaran obtained his B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology–Madras, and his Ph.D. in Marketing from Arizona State University. 

Prior to coming to UBC in 2011, Chandrashekaran held professorial and administrative positions in the business schools at the University of Cincinnati and the University of New South Wales.

He is widely published in leading academic business journals in the areas of metrics and valuation.  His current research is in the area of resilience valuation and asset management – specifying measures, monitoring systems, and estimation models to derive metrics that capture the short-term and long-term impact of assets and investments on resilience of neighborhoods, cities and regions.

Dr. Chandrashekaran lives in Vancouver with his wife and three daughters, and has taken up competitive curling as a new hobby.

Santa J. Ono

Santa Ono is the 15th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia.

He also serves as Chair of the U15 Group of Universities, on the Board of Directors of Universities Canada, and as Past Chair of Research Universities of British Columbia. In 2018, he served as co-chair of the Tri-council advisory committee on equity, diversity and inclusion policy.

Prior to his appointment as President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC, Dr. Ono served as the 28th President of the University of Cincinnati and Senior Vice-Provost and Deputy to the Provost at Emory University.

A molecular immunologist educated at the University of Chicago and McGill, Dr. Ono has taught at Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and University College London.

He holds Honorary Doctorates from Chiba University and the Vancouver School of Theology and is a recipient of the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education, the Professional Achievement Award from University of Chicago, a Grand Challenges Hero Award from UCLA and the NAAAP 100 Award from the National Association of Asian American Professionals.

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. She served as the twentieth president of the University of California, the nation’s largest public research university with ten campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program.

Prior to joining the University of California, Professor Napolitano served as Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013. She is a former two-term Governor of Arizona, a former Attorney General of Arizona, and a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. In 2019, Napolitano published How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11. 

Professor Napolitano earned her B.S. degree, summa cum laude, in Political Science from Santa Clara University, and her J.D. from the University of Virginia. She is based in Berkeley, CA.

Lauren Sorkin

As Executive Director of Resilient Cities Network, Lauren Sorkin oversees global efforts to strengthen cities in the face of the complex and interconnected challenges they face. Leading a team of professionals in London, Mexico City, New York, and Singapore in collaboration with Chief Resilience Officers in more than 40 countries, she drove the co-design process to launch Global Resilient Cities Network as an independent city-led network organization.

Sorkin serves as an advisor and spokesperson on urban resilience, women’s leadership sustainable finance, climate risk, stakeholder engagement, and urbanization trends. She is on the Advisory Board of several sustainability focused initiatives including Food Tank, the Singapore Sustainability Summit (S3), Natural Capital and Smart Cities World Editorial Advisory Board.

Previously with the Asian Development Bank, Sorkin led the Bank’s first ever climate change investment plan before moving to the ADB’s Vietnam Office to mainstream climate risks and opportunities in the country’s US$7 billion portfolio. Before joining the ADB, she worked with USAID to implement clean energy, climate change and conservation projects in Asia, Africa and South America. She has published work on biofuels, climate change, public speaking for social impact, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS.

Sorkin holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tufts University and a Master of Science in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics.

Philippe Sutter

Philippe Sutter began his duties as the Consul General of France in Vancouver in September 2017. His jurisdiction comprises British-Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

In his 25-year experience within the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, he has served in various capacities. As an expert in European affairs, he was deputy ambassador in Belgrade, Serbia and served as political counselor in the French embassy in Vienna, Austria. He led multilateral negotiations in the European Union in Brussels as well as at the United Nations in New York. Before coming to Vancouver, his previous assignment was head of the Multilateral Affairs department in the Ministry for the Armed Forces in Paris. He also has extensive experience dealing with management issues.

Born and raised in Alsace in the heart of Europe, Sutter graduated from Sciences-Po Strasbourg (Institute of Political Studies).

Ravi Kumar S.

Ravi Kumar S. is President at Infosys. In this role, he leads the Infosys Global Services Organization across all global industry segments, driving digital transformation services, consulting services, traditional technology services, engineering services, data and analytics, cloud and infrastructure along with enterprise package applications service lines. In addition, he oversees Infosys Business Process Management (BPM) and is Chairman of the Board of Infosys BPM. He is the Chairman of the Board of Infosys Public Services and oversees the Consulting Services Subsidiary of Infosys.

Kumar also oversees the alliances organization and the global partner ecosystem at Infosys.  In addition, Kumar is championing and pioneering the localization initiative and building technology and digital talent pools in the U.S, Europe and Australia for Infosys to drive creation of new and Digital Technology and Innovation Centers. He is also Chairman for Infosys Foundation USA focused on computer science education in K12 Schools in the U.S.

He is on the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences, Chairs the IT & Business Services Workforce Council for the Governor in the State of Connecticut, Member of Skills Consortium of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Fortune CEO Workforce Redesign Group and many other industry forums. 

Steven Johnston

Steven Johnston is a seasoned executive with more than 17 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector working to improve the social and economic circumstances of vulnerable populations. He began his career in community economic development at Dixon Hall in Toronto, where he played a key role in building and supporting innovative programming for at-risk residents living in the inner city. He relocated to Vancouver in 2014 to lead Tradeworks Training Society where he guided the growth and revitalization of the agency’s critical employment and social enterprise programs. Following that Johnston has worked for the City of Vancouver developing the City’s innovative Community Benefit Agreement policy.

Currently Johnston is the Executive Director of the Community Impact Real Estate Society, a unique social enterprise that makes affordable commercial real estate available to non-profits, social enterprises, and other community serving organizations. In addition, Johnston serves on a number of community boards and is a mentor to many organizations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Jane Weru

Jane Weru is a lawyer by profession and holds a Master’s Degree in NGO Management from the London School of Economics. From 1993 to 2001, she worked with Kituo Cha Sheria, a legal aid and human rights organization in Nairobi, first as head of legal services and then as Executive Director. Most of her work focused on public interest litigation on behalf of poor communities threatened with forceful evictions and violent demolitions.

In 2001, she helped found Pamoja Trust, a nonprofit organization that mobilized and supported grassroots movements of the urban poor by providing technical, legal and financial support. From 2006 to 2010, Weu served as a Board Member of the Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI), an international organization of slum dwellers federations with affiliates in 37 countries of the global south. In 2010, Weru served as Team Leader for the Kenya Railway Relocation Action Plan for the Ministry of Transport supported by the World Bank for the resettlement of 10,000 households sitting on the railway reserve in Kibera and Mukuru.

She is currently the Executive Director and founder member of Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), a non-profit organization working on developing innovative community led solutions to housing and land tenure problems for the urban poor in Kenya. Weru has since August 2018 been the Project leader of the Mukuru Special Planning Area, a project of the Nairobi County Government, aimed at developing an integrated development plan to improve the lives of the 100,000 households that presently occupy over 600 acres of land within the city.  Weru is an Ashoka Fellow and also served as a member of the National Task Force for the preparation of the Community Land Bill and the Evictions and Resettlement Bill.

Rashid Sumaila

Rashid Sumaila is a Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia. His research focuses on bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, marine protected areas, illegal fishing, climate change, marine plastic pollution, and oil spills.

Dr. Sumaila has experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in Norway, Canada and the North Atlantic region, Namibia and the Southern African region, Ghana and the West African region and Hong Kong and the South China Sea. Sumaila received his Ph.D. (Economics) from the University of Bergen and his B.Sc. (Quantity Surveying) from the Ahmadu Bello University. Sumaila is widely published and cited. He won the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize and was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2019.

His interest in the environment started early in life when his grandfather used to say people should “walk as if the ground feels pain” – this is sophisticated environmentalism! His specific interest in ocean and fisheries was picked in Norway. Dr. Sumaila enjoys exploring novel ideas and mentoring future thinkers. He loves waking up each day thinking of how best to contribute to ensuring that we bequeath a healthy ocean to our children and grandchildren so they too can have the option to do the same.

Cindy Bourne

Cindy Bourne has spent much of her professional life developing ways to support both informal and formal learning experiences. She holds a PhD situated in Education (UBC), a Master of Adult Education (St. Francis Xavier University) and a Bachelor of Arts (UBC). Currently, Bourne facilitates the Learning Design Internship Program and the Graduate and TA programming for the UBC Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

Tangential to her work in higher education is Bourne's research and implementation of innovative ways to enable literacy in challenging contexts.  She had learned that low literacy in these contexts often is the result of a lack of access to relevant reading materials. The development of a process to co-create culturally relevant books to support the Ghanaian curriculum provided the seeds for her doctoral research. When the UBC Okanagan School of Education expressed interest in linking Bourne's literacy work with a global experience for teacher candidates, those seeds became a doctoral study that explores how a university might position student learning in the service of others.  The design principles developed from her research can be used to help universities develop a principled way to integrate service and learning.

Parsa Shani

Parsa Shani holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering and a Minor in Urban Studies and Political Science from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is currently a Sustainable Finance Analyst at UN-Habitat supporting the Cities Investment Facility (CIF). Shani grew up between Tehran, Iran and Vancouver, Canada and over the past 6 years, he has spent time in the private, public and NGO sectors.

During the Summer of 2018, Shani took part in a UBC Global Seminar in Chongqing, China, focusing his research how China was able to prevent the formation of urban slums. Shortly after, he moved to Seattle to spend a semester at the University of Washington as a Corbett Fellow, during which he supported the City of Seattle’s Department of Transportation within the Asset Management team. Summer 2019 took him back to Asia, this time to Chennai, India as part of the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, where he worked within a multidisciplinary team from global universities to tackle the issue of resilient housing in the City. He has since also spent time as a management consultant at Deloitte’s Public Sector Transformation team and as an infrastructure management researcher at UBC.

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Event Details

Apr 12, 2021 - 8:30 am to 9:45 am



  • Global Capacity Development
  • Issues of Global Relevance
  • Students as Global Citizens
  • UBC as a Global Actor