International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges

International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges

October 12, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


We are leading a, an historical moment, that
this meeting is going to be remembered. I think, firstly, the way in which this was
organized, which was by three universities working co-equitably and collaboratively together,
rather than in competition, was a way of actually putting the values that underpin the health-promoting university’s
approach into action. Initially, the planning to have an international conference, came
together with, what had largely been a Spanish-speaking network that had organized International Congress
so this also became the seventh International Congress in their series. It’s really the first time where, I think
there’s been a truly global event. The main purpose of our event was really to
bring together the thought leaders, the people who really care about these issues, and to build a common vision. The three aims were connecting networks, people with similarities of
interests, and different areas of practice. Discover amazing and rich scientific program
that was going on during our conference. Just some of the world thought leaders that we’ve
read for a years and to co-create the Okanagan Charter which we’ve just signed off and are
really excited about. I think the goal was to strengthen a movement
that was already developing for health promoting universities and colleges. Integral to that was to develop
a charter that actually could give us a sense of direction and a map really, for where we
go from here. This charter is especially valuable because
it’s visionary, it’s inspiring, and its got some of the best thinking in the world, and it’s
also very practical. This is our design lab. And the design lab
was intended to foster creative thinking and to provide a number of different ways that
people can provide feedback. The charter that we are looking to finalize at the conference
here, is to Health-Promoting University Charter, that builds off the Edmonton charter that
was created in 2005. This charter is intended to reflect the latest thinking and research in health promotion practice. Its being co-designed with delegates from our international community, both prior to the conference, as well as here at the conference. And the charter is intended to
provide an action framework that will help provide a tool for institutions in moving forward,
to create health-promoting universities. In this kind of work, if you think about unhealthy
campuses, think about environments, and what within the environment makes it difficult
for people to live in a healthy manner. What’s the quality of food like, what’s the built
environment like, the air, the water, can people be active easily. When a community,
a campus community, wants to solve some unhealthy problems, the charter provides very practical, realistic ways of going about that. Kind of like a toolkit.
These strategies can be easily adapted to any kind of campus community setting, and
can actually be used in other communities as well. I think the fact that it was held here in the
Okanagan that actually has given us that sense of connection to place, to nature, and to
indigenous people. Everybody on this campus came together. We
really tried to live out our values with this conference, to say how do we make a conference
that is building not just people’s minds, but their relationships and their physical fitness, and that they don’t leave feeling exhausted
and worn out but they actually feel renewed in all sorts of ways. Taking that vision that connects
health well-being, sustainability, and social justice, and looking at how universities can
infuse their structures, their processes, their learning, and teaching, with that, but
also look at their place in the world, as change agents in society is something which I think everyone is going
back fired up to do the best more part in.