A selection of President Gertler's speeches and institutional publications on the theme... International


  • 2018
  • Statement on the events in Pittsburgh October, 2018

    The University of Toronto condemns the horrific and abhorrent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

  • Anticipating Tomorrow: The Future of Higher Education in a Turbulent World April, 2018

    As the title of my talk today indicates, I want to address ‘The Future of Higher Education’ – and to discuss the turbulent, disruptive nature of change in the economy and what it means for universities.


  • 2017
  • In support of Central European University April, 2017

    I write as President of the University of Toronto to express our community’s alarm and dismay at the recent vote in the Hungarian parliament supporting legislation that would, in effect, shut down Central European University in Budapest.

  • Big Ideas @ Rotman – Tech North January, 2017

    We’ve gathered here to consider the next steps in building the Toronto-Waterloo corridor into one of the world’s top technology clusters by 2025. That might sound like a tall order, late on a Friday afternoon. But we have some great foundations to build on, to realize the vision of Tech North.


  • 2016
  • Boundless Campaign Celebration December, 2016

    Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are here tonight because we share a love for the University of Toronto, a commitment to its academic mission as one of the world’s great public universities, and a belief in its vital importance to our country and our planet. We are here because U of T plays a major role in our lives, and because we know that, in supporting U of T, we are playing our own role in the history of this great, good place.

  • International Collaboration: A Role for Universities and Urban Regions in Fostering Global Prosperity November, 2016

    Thank you also to President Lin for the invitation to join you today and the privilege of offering this keynote address. It is a great honour.

    I am delighted to be back in Beijing and deeply grateful for the warm hospitality I have received here over the years. Indeed, Beijing truly embodies the spirit and optimism of this Forum. I hope my remarks this morning continue in that spirit. In particular, I want to speak to the Forum’s sub-theme: mutual trust, cooperation, and sharing.

  • Statement on Recent Acts of Anti-Semitism October, 2016

    The University of Toronto’s St George campus has recently witnessed blatant acts of anti-Semitic vandalism. We deplore these abhorrent acts. We will support those affected, investigate or assist in the investigation of apparent crimes, and forward any evidence to the Toronto Police for their assessment.

  • Statement on Free Expression October, 2016

    Recent events on our campuses have led us to reaffirm the University’s commitment to free speech and to highlight, once again, two critical features of this commitment.

  • Catalyzing Innovation: Cities, Collaboration, Connections, and Commitment. September, 2016

    Address to the 6th Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
    This morning, I want to talk about what I will call the four ‘C’s: cities, collaboration, connections, and commitment. In particular, I want to investigate how these four ‘C’s combine to foster innovation in our regions.

  • Statement on the events in Orlando June, 2016

    The University of Toronto community has reacted with horror and grief at the news of the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who are mourning the loss of family and friends, and those who have been injured in this immense tragedy.

    Our thoughts are also with our LGBTQ community here at U of T and in the greater community across Canada and around the world.

  • Statement on Anti-Semitism and Racism May, 2016

    The values of diversity, inclusion, respect, and civility are fundamental to the University of Toronto. Discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups based on race, religion, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, or any other identity as stated in the University’s Statement on Human Rights is intolerable.

  • Innovation Creativity and Urban Regions – Address at the Utrecht Town Hall April, 2016

    For my remarks, I would like to build on some of what my esteemed colleagues have said and offer five policy considerations for successful cities. I recognize, of course, that success takes many different forms and has many different ingredients. Each region will have its own unique characteristics – perhaps this is something my colleagues and I might address in the question and answer session.

    Nevertheless, the five policy considerations I will propose are, in my view, essential to building and growing innovative, successful city clusters. They are based on my ~15 years of research with David Wolfe and colleagues at the University of Toronto.

  • Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change March, 2016

    Late in 2015, the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels issued its report on a petition urging the university to divest fully from direct investments in fossil fuel companies.  Today, the university is releasing its response to the advisory committee report. 

  • The 150th Anniversary of the German Department March, 2016

    I am delighted to join you tonight to celebrate this remarkable milestone, and to extend congratulations on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Department of German on behalf of the University of Toronto!

  • San Francisco alumni reception March, 2016

    Ladies and gentlemen, let me say how truly delighted I am to be back in San Francisco, one of the world’s most beautiful and dynamic cities. Given where we are meeting, in the middle of what is arguably the world’s most innovative urban region, I thought you’d be interested to hear about recent developments in Toronto’s innovation ecosystem, and the very important role your alma mater is playing in it.


  • 2015
  • Report of the Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels December, 2015

    On March 6, 2014, Toronto350, the University of Toronto chapter of the larger 350.org movement, presented the Office of the President with a petition requesting that the University of Toronto fully divest from direct investments in fossil fuels companies within the next five years and to stop investing new money in the industry. This is the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee struck to consider the petition.

  • Urban Regions and Universities December, 2015

    It is increasingly clear that this relationship between cities and universities is critical to our collective prosperity. In fact, my argument today will be a simple one: Global cities in partnership with global universities are building the foundations of our collective future prosperity. While there is growing recognition – both in China and in Canada – that urban regions are fundamental sources prosperity, I believe that their importance remains under-appreciated. I am going to argue this afternoon that this is going to change.

  • Students and scholars at risk September, 2015

    We have watched news of the Syrian refugee crisis with overwhelming distress, sorrow, and frustration. Our reaction has been all the more visceral, particularly here at the University of Toronto, as we witness the disproportionate impact on young people and children.

  • Foundations for Canada’s Future Prosperity May, 2015

    My main argument is a simple one: at a time when our traditional sources of prosperity are being challenged by both cyclical and longer-term change, we need to instigate a local, provincial, and national conversation about where our future prosperity will come from

  • In Memory of Professor George Connell,
    President Emeritus of the University of Toronto
    March, 2015

    With the passing of Professor George Connell, the University’s 12th president (1984-1990), the University of Toronto community has lost a great leader, scientist, colleague, and friend.

  • In Memory of Dr. John Evans, President Emeritus of the University of Toronto February, 2015

    The University of Toronto receives the news of the death of Dr. John Evans with sadness at our collective loss, and gratitude for his decades of contributions to diverse facets of Canadian society.

  • Universities and Smart Cities: A Global Perspective January, 2015

    The University of Toronto is proud of the ongoing collaborations between our Munk School of Global Affairs and the ORF. This partnership brings together premier foreign affairs think-tanks from India and Canada. It involves international thought leaders from the academy, from industry and the non-profit sector, from the public service and all levels of government. And it extends beyond the borders of our two great nations into international collaborations.

  • Universities and City-Regions: A Partnership for Innovation and Opportunity January, 2015

    Universities and city-regions collaborate on many of the themes at the very heart of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute: community building, peace-building, social innovation, opportunity, and prosperity.
    But before I get too far ahead of myself, let me start with an image from the past… Imagine that you are standing at the corner of Bay and Richmond looking east.


  • 2014
  • Announcement of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research November, 2014

    Ted Rogers said, “There are always lots of opportunities, if you persevere and aren’t afraid to take chances. But the important thing is that you have to work very hard and take risks.” Given the number of people affected by heart disease in Canada and around the world, we need to take Ted Rogers’ advice.

  • AUCC Optimizing Innovation Conference Keynote October, 2014

    The City and The University: A Partnership for Innovation Download the full text and slides as a PDF… Check against delivery Good evening – thank you for that kind introduction, David. I am delighted to be here to address this wonderful and distinguished audience. I am particularly happy to acknowledge, Ambassador Barak, Esteemed guests from […]

  • 1914-1918 In Memoriam July, 2014

    Ladies and gentlemen, visitors to this campus are struck by its marvellous buildings, old and new. Invariably they pause at a uniquely dignified landmark, at the heart of it all. The Soldiers’ Tower…

  • Global LGBTQ Human Rights: In Conversation June, 2014

    The University of Toronto has a long—and proud!—history of advocacy on LGBTQ issues; marked by an important string of ‘firsts’. While there are too many for me to list here, I will touch upon a few highlights.

  • Norman Bethune Sculpture Unveiling May, 2014

    Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Norman Bethune stands forever as one of our most famous alumni, and as an extraordinarily accomplished graduate of our Faculty of Medicine. World renowned in the history of humanitarianism, he served and continues to serve as a key bridge between Canada and China.

  • Address to the Toronto Region Board of Trade May, 2014

    I want to spend the next 20 minutes or so making the case that the partnership between universities and the Toronto region is crucially important – and often misunderstood.

    I also want to present the case for why it makes sense to grow and deepen this partnership, for the mutual benefit of both the University and the city, and talk about some ways to achieve this.

  • Faculty of Medicine Retreat April, 2014

    Over the next twenty or so minutes, I would like to share two key messages with you. The second message – about partnership – will comprise the lion’s share of my remarks.

    But my first message is this: Thank you. Thank you for your leadership… for your scholarship, mentorship, and clinical expertise… for your commitment to research, and research-intensive education… for your dedication to your students, your colleagues, your patients, your hospitals, your University, and your extended communities.

  • Comparative and International Education Society conference March, 2014

    Over the next few days the world’s leading authorities on education will address a theme of great importance – “Revisioning Education for All”. It is a marvellous opportunity for all of us to share our experience and expertise, and to move forward together in realizing this goal.

  • MLK Was Here February, 2014

    In the autumn of 1967, Dr. King delivered the seventh set of Massey Lectures. Established by the CBC, the Massey Lectures are an annual five-part series of talks by a distinguished scholar on a topic of contemporary interest and import.

  • Creative Destruction Lab Awards February, 2014

    Seeing the Creative Destruction Lab in action was fascinating, and truly exciting. We use the word ‘innovation’ a lot – no doubt because it’s of fundamental importance to our economy and to our society. But it’s amazing actually to witness ‘new things’ coming into being, through the exchange of ideas, insights, and expertise.

  • Canadian Studies Book Celebration January, 2014

    Thank you, Donald [Ainslie], for that very kind introduction. Thanks also, to you and the leadership team here at University College, for your outstanding work. And special thanks to Emily Gilbert, director of the Canadian Studies program, for her leadership, and in particular for launching this great initiative. Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to […]


  • 2013
  • A Celebration of the Remarkable Life of Nelson Mandela December, 2013

    Nelson Mandela is a towering figure in the history of the world. As our first speakers have made clear so eloquently, Mr. Mandela epitomized courage, integrity, and wisdom. His unflinching dedication to human rights for all people – in the face of unimaginable personal suffering and injustice – remains a singular inspiration. His example is a source of hope and optimism in a

  • Installation Address November, 2013

    20th … 8th … 2nd … 1st … and last. That is the paradox that is the University of Toronto.