Office of International Relations - Staffing Announcement

PDAD&C #101, 2014-15

International, Government & Institutional Relations
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors, and Chairs
Simcoe Hall

From:     Judith Wolfson, Vice-President, International, Government and Institutional Relations
Date: June 24, 2015


Office of International Relations - Staffing Announcement

Over the past few months, I have reviewed the organizational structure of the Office of International Relations with a focus on supporting the President and the University of Toronto’s internationalization priorities. I am pleased to share with you the outcomes of this organizational review.

I am very pleased to announce that Vinitha Gengatharan will assume additional responsibilities in the areas of international strategy, institutional partnerships and key international priorities. She will also serve as the team lead for the Office of International Relations, responsible for operational oversight including finance and administrative matters. Vinitha’s new title is Director, International Strategy & Partnerships. In this role, Vinitha continues with her specific portfolio responsibilities including linkages with Asia and the Middle East.

Vanessa Laufer will continue in her role as the Director, International Relations with regional responsibilities including Europe, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Vanessa will continue to build partnerships and provide strategic advice on these regions. Vanessa will continue to promote and support the Government of Brazil’s Science without Borders project and new projects in South America.

Joanne Chou joins us in the newly created role of the International Strategy Officer. Joanne will support institutional strategic partnerships and initiatives. Joanne has over ten years of experience across public, private and NGO sectors. Joanne worked at Export Development Canada as a Senior Project Manager with the International Business Development Group and was actively involved in EDC’s Asia portfolio, providing guidance on export opportunities to Canadian Exporters. She helped build business partnerships between EDC’s clients and many of Asia’s corporate and public sector entities. Joanne has an M.A. in International Law, and received her B.COMM in International Business from the University of Ottawa. Her international experience includes studying in France and Costa Rica, and working in Jamaica and Dubai.

Also I am pleased to announce that Ayako Ariga and Skandha Sunderasen will remain with the Office of International Relations in the roles of Research Officers. In these new roles, they will provide research and analysis on internationalization of higher education, monitor trends, and produce briefing materials for international delegations to the University of Toronto and for institutional visits abroad.

Ayako Ariga joins the Office of International Relations with over ten years of experience in higher education in the international arena. Ayako has experience in administration, project and research management, compliance management, leadership development and public policy research from her tenure at the Faculty of Law at the UofT, the University of Michigan, the Governor’s Office of the State of Michigan, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Ayako holds a BA from Kyoto University and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Skandha Sunderasen was an international student at the University of Toronto where he obtained his BA in Political Science and Economics, with a focus on international political economy.  He has worked at the Office of International Relations since 2012 as an International Research Analyst and since 2013 as the International Administrative Coordinator. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, Skandha worked for the Liberal Party of Canada and The Mark News.

Alison Colpitts joins the team as International Administrative Coordinator. Alison’s responsibilities include the organization of delegations, logistical support for events and institutional visits abroad. Alison holds a Master of Arts in Divinity from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University.

About the Office of International Relations

The Office of International Relations enhances the global profile and international competitiveness of the University of Toronto by coordinating and promoting its international relationships and activities.

The Office works towards its mandate by:

  • Promoting deeper engagement with key regions, countries and institutions
  • Providing strategic advice and market intelligence on key regions, countries and institutions
  • Facilitating international research and education collaborations
  • Supporting the integration of international activities across the University
  • Recommending models for international collaboration and partnerships
  • Managing institutional international visits and delegations and planning institutional outbound missions
  • Serving as the central repository for international agreements