Panel Discussion on Skills Training at the Mylan Group Facility (Vietnam)
Tra Vinh Province, Vietnam, Saturday, November 19, 2011
Good morning and thank you for giving me such a warm welcome.
Let me offer my sincere condolences for the loss of life that occurred during the recent flooding here in Vietnam. The thoughts of the Canadian people are with you as you work to rebuild lives and communities in the aftermath of the floods.
I would first like to say a few words about Dr. My, because I think his story is worth repeating. He is the personification of the friendship between Vietnam and Canada.
Dr. My lived, attended university and raised a family in Canada; in fact, his children are still there studying and working. But he returned to his home country because he saw an opportunity. Years later, the Mylan Group has become a hub of innovative thinking and production.
I have often spoken on the importance of innovation in our society, how it drives us and how it informs how we live. Dr. My appreciates this; he has innovated in his business and has challenged himself again and again to go one step further.
One aspect in particular of this factory truly illustrates the innovative mindset. The patents that the Mylan Group has developed are all displayed proudly, each one a testament to innovative thinking. But what is really impressive is the refusal to remain stagnant. The opposite wall deliberately has plenty of room for even more patents.
The skills we develop at work and at school are what drive economies. When we afford our young people the opportunities to learn, we all stand to benefit from the results.
Our two countries know this and offer possibilities to learn new talents and update those we already have. Whether at school, in the workplace or in your everyday life, education is always taking place.
That is why I was pleased to learn that the community college that began with Governement of Canada funding and Canadian technical support has evolved into a full-fledged sustainable university. I was also pleased to find out that Tra Vinh University today has active partnerships with Canadian academic institutions such as the Marine Institute of Canada.
The success of Tra Vinh University is due not only to its graduates, but also to the dedication of its faculty and staff. As dean of Chemistry, Dr. My is, in fact, a key member of that faculty.
This institution also understands that its role is more than simply a place of learning; it is also a place to support the local economy and does so by directly engaging employers in curriculum design and delivery.
In fact, this institution reminds me of one that I recently visited in Canada, one that has achieved success based on the needs of the community.
The Université du Québec à Rimouski has become a leader in marine research and education, because it used local resources and understood there was a niche that it could fill.
Allow me to explain. Increasingly, we are looking at new opportunities presented by the sea, in a similar way to humanity’s evolution centuries ago from a hunter-gatherer society to a more agrarian one.
In the last 20 or 30 years, we have been devising new ways to utilize the sea in the areas of energy, mining and even farming.
Because Canada has the longest coastline in the world, Canadians, and especially universities, have a wonderful opportunity to become leaders in a new and exciting field.
We can accomplish this, as well as many of our other goals, through a strategic approach that considers local strengths to build outwards.
As we gather here to discuss ways to expand on our relationship, and the importance of learning and skills development, I hope that you will keep in mind that learning is a lifelong process, one that is never fully completed.