Glendon Campus
York University
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Glendon Students Participate in “Crossing Borders” Conference

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Professors Edelgard Mahant and Josée Bergeron of Glendon’s Political Science department accompanied six Glendon students to the 12th annual “Crossing Borders” student conference held on April 3rd and 4th . The location of the conference was the University of Buffalo’s Center for Tomorrow, and it was co-sponsored by the American Consulate in Toronto and the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo.

Left: Justin Yan (at right) and others getting ready to present

In the summer of 1995, the Steering Committee of the Golden Horseshoe Educational Alliance decided that a bi-national conference would be an excellent means for developing academic relations between students throughout the cross-border region. “Crossing Borders” became a reality in March of 1996 as students convened at Niagara University to share ideas and discuss a wide range of cross-border issues. Since then, the conference has become an annual event and has flourished, receiving attention from key sectors of the academic community. The conference has been generously supported by both the U.S. Consulate General, Toronto and the Canadian Consulate General, Buffalo as well as government officials and scholars from both sides of the border. As of this year, the annual conference will be hosted in alternate years by the University at Buffalo and Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Each of the six Glendon students presented a paper at one of the conference panels, and a seventh, Amin Hussein, who could not attend, had professor Mahant present his paper for him. The twelve sessions included topics such as ‘Cross Border Tourism and Transportation’, ‘Comparing Immigration and Refugee Policies’, ‘Comparing Popular Cultures’, ‘Securing the Border’, and ‘Canadian and American Foreign Policy’, among others. The full list of sessions and other relevant information can be found on the conference website: http://www.canadianstudies.buffalo.edu/crossing_borders/

Right: Regina Nundoo presents

In addition to students from several Canadian and American universities, the conference was honoured by the attendance of the President of the University of Buffalo, the Consul General of Canada in Buffalo, and the Consul General of the U.S. in Toronto.

U.S. Air Force Colonel Keith A. Swensen, Chief, Aerospace Division, NORAD-USNORTHCOM delivered the keynote address with the title "North American Aerospace Defense Command". Swensen outlined recent changes to the NORAD agreement in an informative and humorous manner. For example, he stated that NORAD monitors 7,000 flights a day, 365 days of the year. He also said that “…if grandma flies grandpa’s plane off-course, NORAD will intercept her.”

Left: Keith Swensen

“Teaching and learning came into sharp focus with the knowledge gained from the panels”, said Glendon student participant Regina Ann Nundoo. “Where before all was just text on paper, the “Crossing Borders” conference made everything stand out with the realism that can only be brought about by people who have had hands-on experience, such as Col. Swensen. American and Canadian views on foreign policy were shared, resulting in real personal improvement on the subject matter, while questions from the audience helped to further define our ideas.” The other Glendon students attending were Sirus Biniaz, Danika Bourgeois-Desnoyers, Lindsay Horton, Milos Jankovic and Justin Yan.

Next year’s conference will be held at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Article based on information supplied by professors Edelgard Mahant and Josée Bergeron, student Regina Ann Nundoo, as well as the conference website.


Published on April 16, 2008