Conestoga news

October 2, 2020 6:36 AM

Conestoga President discusses future of international education

President John Tibbits was featured among the panelists at a high-profile discussion on the future of international education in Canada hosted by the Waterloo Region branch of the Canadian International Council, a national non-partisan forum that engages Canadians in exploring and defining the country’s role in the world and areas of international engagement. 

“International Education at a Crossroads in Canada,” a virtual panel discussion held on September 22, attracted more than 500 participants. Moderator John Milloy, director of the Centre for Public Ethics at Martin Luther University College in Waterloo, led the panel through a discussion of the role and impact of international education in Canada, the associated opportunities, the disruption brought on by the pandemic, the future outlook and the challenges ahead. 

As well as President Tibbits, other panelists included the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Paul Davidson, President and CEO of Universities Canada; Meti Basiri, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of ApplyBoard, a Canada-based technology company that streamlines the international student application process for students around the world; and Nina Shirkhanloo, ApplyBoard’s International Recruitment Manager. Basiri is a 2014 graduate of Conestoga’s Business Administration - Marketing program: his company has assisted more than 100,000 students with their educational journey since it was founded in 2015.  

Canada is the world’s third-largest destination for international education, hosting more than 650,000 post-secondary students each year. They contribute more than $21 billion to the country’s GDP and support in excess of 170,000 jobs. Many stay in Canada after they complete their studies, becoming permanent residents and contributing to the economic, social and cultural growth of our communities. 

Closed borders, travel restrictions and social distancing requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have created significant challenges for international students and the post-secondary institutions that support them. Panelists discussed potential solutions for addressing these challenges and positioning Canada for future success as a world leader in international education. 

The full discussion is available online at