Working Agenda

The Calgary Recommendations for North American Collaboration: Our Working Agenda

Canada, Mexico and the United States have shared many historical, cultural, and linguistic bonds, and since the signing of NAFTA, our countries have become inextricably linked by growing economic ties. Local and regional prosperity depends largely on the global competencies of our future professionals who are today's students and education leaders acknowledge that higher education must take a more aggressive role in offering students opportunities to gain international expertise, particularly in our North American regional context...

Beginning in 1992, two landmark meetings, “Wingspread” and “Vancouver” helped steer the direction of higher education collaboration in North America. CONAHEC, the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, and its members recognize that the need for North American higher education collaboration is greater than ever, and in conjunction with its 8th North American Higher Education Conference held in 2002, CONAHEC and its host institution, Mount Royal College, convened a Priorities Committee of recognized higher education experts in North America.

Prior to the event, committee members conducted a study of issues and trends in North American higher education collaboration since the movement began in 1992 with Wingspread. From the study, the committee drafted ten recommendations to further this important regional collaborative agenda. The committee then solicited that North American higher education stakeholders rank the recommendations according to priority, as well as to suggest additional recommendations.

Based on the document produced, CONAHEC adopted the following recommendations as the basis for our working agenda:

  1. A proposal to the three federal governments (Mexico, Canada and the U.S.) that they establish a permanent North American Trilateral Commission to provide sustaining infrastructure, strategic direction, and funding for a variety of programmatic initiatives that foster North American higher education collaboration.
  2. Further development of the existing Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education to facilitate and fund student and faculty movement at much higher levels and with greater flexibility. 
  3. Develop a mechanism that promotes quality assurance of institutions and the recognition of course and program equivalencies in a tri-national context.
  4. Create an incentive fund or collaborative financial mechanisms to encourage and support collaborative research in North America.
  5. Develop guidelines and infrastructure to strengthen and expand collaboration and partnerships between the colleges and universities and the business sector.
  6. Reinforce the importance of acquiring a second and third language for all students in North America.
  7. Develop a mechanism for promoting quality assurance and recognition of certification of skills for the professions and technical occupations in support of North American professional mobility.
  8. Review post-September 11th immigration regulations in the three countries and determine the impact on the future of North American mobility for faculty and students.
  9. Develop a trilateral proposal for the establishment and growth of centers for North American studies to advance scholarship and research on relations between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
  10. Find high levels of financial support to enable CONAHEC to sustain and expand the electronic information base and clearinghouse.