These words, spoken by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in 2012, were echoed by His Excellency Cees Kole, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, at the annual Global Health Advisory Board meeting at McMaster on October 24. As Honorary Chair of the Global Health Advisory Board for the collaborative MSc Global Health program with Maastricht University, HRH Princess Margriet was referring to the urgency with which we must act to prepare our future global leaders.
Last week, members of the board travelled to our annual meeting from all over the world to explore key issues and questions: What are the imminent issues in the working field of global health today? What is the educational skill set required to work within this context? Is our course offering currently and adequately meeting these needs?
In the context of globalization and internationalization of higher education, the program is consistent with the McMaster University President Patrick Deane’s Forward With Integrity initiative, which outlines a number of measures the university is taking to enhance international activities and incorporate global perspectives: “At McMaster, we must continue to aspire to a more profound vision: to be an institution that is global in impact, that addresses through its research the great challenges of humanity without overlooking their local manifestations, and which seeks to educate students in all subjects so as to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all disciplines and all peoples.”
The governance structure of the Global Health program is an innovative framework, designed to increase and support gålobal citizenship. At the transnational level, the international Advisory Board provides representation from across the globe and across disciplines (Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Business).
Special guest His Excellency Ambassador Kole, in his presentation, acknowledged the power of this transdiciplinary approach, as well as the connection between research, industry and policy. He called for a need to design the future of global health now, and explained that education, and strong educational and multidimensional partnerships like the MSc Global Health, are the keys to success.