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Strong bond forged with Western University

The outgoing President and Vice Chancellor of Western University in Canada, Professor Amit Chakma says he hopes stronger ties with Bond University will be a legacy of his leadership.

Professor Chakma visited Bond on May 23 as one of his final duties of a 10-year tenure at Western, a university of more than 30,000 students in Ontario.

Bond and Western developed esprit de corps through Canadian-Australian businessman Jack Cowin, the founder of Hungry Jack's.

Mr Cowin attended Western and is the University's Chancellor. He is also a Trustee of Bond University and benefactor of the Cowin Scholarship Program which allows select students of each university to study at each other's campuses.

Professor Chakma said he hoped exchanges of academics would be next.

"Bond is our major partner in Australia," he said.

"(The Cowin program) is a great program but the next step in the journey is academic staff exchanges.

"Imagine if you had 10 Bond professors spending an academic term or two on our campus and 10 Western professors doing the same thing. All of a sudden you have 10 champions of each campus.

"Reading about an institution is one thing. Coming and living the spirit of the institution is something else. That will be probably the next step."

Professor Chakma said the Cowin scholarships enriched students from both universities.

"All our students who have come to Bond are just full of praise and they cannot say enough positive things about their experience," he said.

"It is different. It's small but it's much more global than we are in terms of your international students.

"Leaving aside what they are studying, the biggest benefit is their realisation that there are different ways of doing things."

Western University is the host of the World's Challenge Challenge which brings together teams of university students from around the world to present ideas to tackle global issues. Coral reef restoration organisation Hiri, founded by two current students, is Bond’s finalist in this year’s competition. The team will travel to Ontario in June for the competition.

"World’s Challenge Challenge has been an outstanding success," Professor Chakma said. "We invite our alumni to come and be judges, so they're inspired. We'll be hosting it again in two weeks."

Western's Vice President (External) Kelly Cole accompanied Professor Chakma on his visit to Bond University.

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