Saturday, June 23

Q&A: Governor general of Canada discusses innovation across borders

David Johnston, governor general of Canada, will be speaking at the California NanoSystems Institute auditorium Tuesday about how the United States and Canada can promote innovation across borders. The event will be from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is free for all students. Johnston spoke with the Daily Bruin about innovation and how it is relevant to college students.

Daily Bruin: Can you elaborate a little bit more on what you will be speaking about at the event?

David Johnston: Diplomacy of knowledge, innovation and exchange across borders will be the general theme of the visit to campus, it will be the general theme of our visit to California. How philanthropy ties in to education and innovation will also be a part of it. There are various events in cities in California – some on university campuses, others hosted by innovators entrepreneurs and the Canadian Consulate – all of which have to do with the themes of innovation and collaboration.

DB: Why is it important for the U.S. and Canada to promote innovation across borders?

DJ: We have a long tradition of doing just that. We have the largest trading relationship in the world in terms of raw exchange of talent. It is probably practiced best between the U.S. and Canada in large measure. … It is reason for us to do better. These are times of rapid change and globalization. We want to take a good relationship and make it even better.

DB: How do you plan to implement the collaboration?

DJ: We want to building on foundations we already have. … I am passionate about education exchange, research collaboration and cross-investment over the borders. U.S. is overwhelmingly the largest contributor to venture capital in Canada. We want to sharpen these skills as we look at 2014 and beyond.

DB: Are there any projects already in the works?

DJ: An exchange of students exists between Canadian institutions and (Californian ones). It exists in the form of venture capital support of California in Canada. After graduation, a lot of Canadian students are involved in entrepreneurial activities in California.

DB: Do you have any plans with UCLA or other universities, specifically?

DJ: We won’t be making any announcements because that isn’t my role as governor general, but certainly I will be reinforcing the climate that these exchanges should take place in an increasing way in the future.

DB: Why is this relevant for college campuses to be involved in promoting international innovation?

DJ: Talent, I think. (College students) are so powerful in their creative energy and I think young people are very attractive people to meet with. With the recent technological innovation and social innovation, never has knowledge been more valuable than it is today. If you look in history and the creation of ideas, it’s never been more important.

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