USF World News

USF World supports Canada-Florida Chamber of Commerce trade mission to Montreal

 large delegation of people from USF and the Canada-Florida Chamber of Commerce

TAMPA, FL (September 28, 2023) -- USF World Vice President, Kiki Caruson, and Assistant Director for International Community Relations, Vanessa Martinez, spent three days promoting the University of South Florida as part of the Canada-Florida Chamber of Commerce delegation this month. Highlights of the visit included hosting a reception for USF Alumni in the Montreal/Laval area, meeting with counterparts at Concordia University, and attending a reception hosted by U.S. Consul General ​Robert P. Sanders in Montreal. The visit marked the first event hosted by Consul General Sanders at his residence.

Vanessa Martinez and Kiki Caurson flanking US COnsul General Robert Sanders in Montreal, Canada.


Middle-aged blonde-haired woman gives a presentation on a stage featuring images of the University of South Florida


USF World Assistant Director for International Community Relations, Vanessa Martinez, with former USF-Concordia exchange students.

Montreal was recently recognized as the "top student city" in North America by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Education Group. A diverse and multicultural city, Montreal attracts 25,000 international students from across the globe annually. USF has a strong partnership with Concordia University, located in central Montreal, that allows students from each university to spend a semester abroad. USF students regularly travel to Montreal for the fall semester while Concordia University students spend the spring semester at USF. At the alumni reception hosted by USF, Caruson and Martinez had the opportunity to meet the first student, Annie Derome, from Concordia University to travel to USF as an exchange student 20 years ago. Alumus Michael Touchton spent a semester at upon graduating from USF, began the process of emigrating to Canada. He now resides in the Montreal area with his family. 

USF World members Dr. Kiki Caruson (center) and Vanessa Martinez (to her right) with partner representatives from Concordia University.

Like USF, Concordia University is a young and ambitious university. It is also the alma mater of the Canadian Consul General, Sylvia Cesaratto, who is currently stationed in Miami. USF has maintained strong ties to the Canadian Consul General’s office in Miami for many years by working together to encourage greater collaboration across borders. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Canada is one of Florida’s most important economic partners with more than $8 billion in two-way trade and more than 530,000 Florida jobs dependent to some extent on trade with Canada according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. 

middle-aged caucasian gentleman dressed in jeans and a sports coat presenting in front of an interactive monitor

USF also has a strong record of research collaboration with McGill University, one of Canada’s top ranked universities. Both McGill and Concordia are associated with CENTECH, a non-profit organization in Montreal that supports high-tech companies and projects with high growth potential, from conceptualization to commercialization - much like Tampa Bay Wave and USF’s own Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI). A delegation visit to CENTECH revealed the opportunity for greater collaboration around MedTech and life science initiatives – an area of excellence at USF. 

USF researchers are at the forefront of innovation in medicine and biotechnology and lead the way in the treatment of brain and heart disease, infectious disease, and cancer treatment. The USF College of Public Health hosts a program over spring break in Quebec City that allows students at the graduate and undergraduate levels to study the differences between the Canadian and American healthcare systems. Students visit community health organizations and hospitals and interact with their peers studying public health at local universities. 

USF’s participation in the Canada - Florida Chamber of Commerce delegation was a wonderful occasion to connect with its special partners in Canada and will serve as an impetus to expand the Global Network Program with a prospective USF Network Canada launch on the horizon.