First-ever all-cohort meeting brings together CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars from around the world
Next-generation researchers from all seven cohorts met for the first time in a four-day event that enabled blue-sky collaborations, mentorship and more
Emerging researchers from across the globe were brought together last week in a first-ever all-cohort meeting of the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars.
More than 40 early-career researchers, from all seven cohorts and across all programs, gathered in Montebello, Que. They joined from a dozen countries, including South Africa, Chile, Israel, Sweden, the U.S., and parts of Canada. The four-day event enabled members to workshop op-ed ideas that could change the world, receive mentorship from CIFAR fellows, discuss combatting disinformation, and collaborate on blue-sky research topics.
“Our world is rapidly changing and increasingly faced with the convergence of serious — and indeed existential — challenges,” said Stephen Toope, President and CEO of CIFAR.
“CIFAR sits at the nexus of these changes. It is important to transform conversations in key areas of research and scholarship, through dialogue and collaboration,” he added. “Which brings us to today. In the spirit of CIFAR and our next-generation initiative, we are looking for opportunities, not only to foster interdisciplinary networks, but also peer-learning networks.”
The op-ed workshop facilitated by The OpEd Project, highlighted not only the many complex challenges the CIFAR research community is looking to address, but the important, unique perspectives and expertise of the Global Scholars. Encouraged to leverage their respective expertise in order to write op-eds that could help change the world, the early-career researchers shared topic ideas that ranged from eco-apartheid, to climate change and disinformation.
“From this workshop, I’ll either come out with an op-ed, or it’ll help me coalesce my ideas into a more academic piece,” said Megan Peters, a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar (2019-2021) in the Brain, Mind & Consciousness program. Peters also participated in a fireside chat on combating disinformation, featuring disinformation and democratization expert, Nina Jankowicz.
For Alona Fyshe, Canada CIFAR AI Chair (Amii) and CIFAR Fellow in the Learning in Machines & Brains program, the meeting provided an opportunity she wouldn’t otherwise have to interact with Scholars from not only other cohorts, but from other programs.
“There are many people I’d only interacted with on Zoom. It’s really cool to finally meet them in person and have that irreplaceable real-life connection,” said Fyshe, who was among the very first cohort welcomed to the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program when it began in 2016.
“What’s great about this program — the thing that has had the biggest impact on my career — is the people I’ve met and the networks I’ve built. It’s been life changing,” said Fyshe. “So the chance to do that again here? That’s what I’m most looking forward to.”
Photos by Josh Fee.
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CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.