International Relations Professional Learning Community (IR-PLC)

This PLC creates a space for discussion, learning, and collaboration for International Relations Officers and others whose work focuses on supporting and promoting international collaborations.

Annual General Meeting (Virtual)

Wednesday, November 1 @ 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm EDT


The IR-PLC Steering Committee is pleased to invite and strongly encourage all IR-PLC members to participate in this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will be held online via Zoom, on November 1st. This will be a great opportunity for members to connect prior to the CBIE conference!

This is your opportunity to celebrate the work of the IR-PLC over the past year, to share your ideas on our activities for the coming year, and to connect with your colleagues across Canada.

The highlight of the event will be a keynote presentation from Jessica Denenberg entitled “Approaches to Fostering International Partnerships in Higher Education: Canada and Germany in a Comparative Perspective” about her doctoral thesis research, which explores best practices in international partnerships in higher education. Denenberg is currently the Associate Director, Student Services, at York University’s School of Continuing Studies, and is also finalizing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. She has previously held positions related to international relations in York, UToronto, and UWaterloo.

The proposed agenda for the AGM is as follows:

Time(EST) Agenda Item
13:00 – 13:10 Welcome Remarks
13:10 – 13:20 2022 Activity Highlights and Updates
13:20 – 13:45 Open Discussion & Member Feedback
13:45 -14:10 Keynote Speaker: Jessica Denenberg
14:10 – 14:25 Q&A
14:25 – 14:30 Closing Remarks
We look forward to connecting with you on November 1st!


Jessica Denenberg

Associate Director, Student Services
York University School of Continuing Studies

Jessica has been working in the field of international higher education for more than sixteen years. In March 2023, she joined the York University School of Continuing Studies (YUSCS) as Associate Director, Student Services. In this role, she leads the Student Services Team, working to build and improve processes that contribute to a rich and meaningful student experience, spanning registration and enrolment, to Career Services, to graduation and beyond.

Prior to joining the School of Continuing Studies, Jessica has held Manager and Director-level roles in Student Services and International Relations at the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, the Rotman School of Management, and in the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (OVPRI) and York International at York University.

From 2007-2013, Jessica worked for the German Academic Exchange Service (known commonly by its German acronym, DAAD), a German national organization responsible for the promotion and funding of internationalization and partnerships in research and higher education. Jessica is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education (LHAE) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. She is scheduled to defend her doctoral dissertation in December of this year.


The mandate of the IR-PLC is to create a space where International Relations Officers can share experiences with their colleagues across Canada, exchange and access information, opportunities and best practices, link in to the wider international relations community and work together to champion international collaboration in Canadian institutions. The IR-PLC also enables Canadian IROs to connect with peers in areas of common interest and we aspire to do this in ways that include our global community of practitioners.

The IR-PLC group welcomes members from all levels of the international relations field and who hold diverse responsibilities within IR from across the country. Members are encouraged to actively contribute to the group’s rich discussions.

IR-PLC Annual General Meeting – Keynote: Gordon Houlden – “Partnerships With China: Challenges, Considerations, and Opportunities for Canadian Institutions

November 9, 2022

International Partnerships and the SDGs: Embedding Sustainability into Global Engagement

October 6, 2022

From Conception to Implementation: A Journey Through International Partnership Assessments

April 19, 2022

IR-PLC Annual General Meeting (AGM)

November 9, 2021

Assessing International Partnerships Through a Decolonial Lens

November 9, 2021

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee members and co-chairs act as a voice for the IR-PLC and increase awareness of the IR community they represent. For more information on roles and responsibilities, please see the IR-PLC’s Terms of Reference and structural model.

2022-2023 Steering Committee Members

Yukino Mori

Yukino Mori
Manager, Global Engagement, SFU International
Co-Chair 2021-2023

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Yukino has more than 8 years’ experience working in higher education in British Columbia, Canada. She has previously worked in; student affairs and enrollment services; international student development; student mobility; international partnership development and presently as a Manager, Global Engagement at SFU International.

In her current role, she is responsible for partnership management and initiatives in Europe, the Americas, and the South Pacific regions. She is also a Committee member of the International Relations Professional Learning Community of CBIE.

Yukino is fluent in both English and Japanese, and received her BA Honors in Sociology from the University of British Columbia.

Dan Fredrick

Dan Fredrick
Director, Global Engagement, University of Alberta
Co-Chair 2022-2024

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Dan Fredrick has more than 20 years of experience in international relations, education, research, and client services.

Since 2008, Dan has held leadership positions in the International Office at the University of Alberta. In his current role as Director, Global Engagement, he leads teams responsible for International Relations, International Agreements, International Projects, and the Sponsored Student Program.

Prior to joining the University of Alberta, Dan taught History, Geography, and Governance to secondary students in Ottawa; served in the Canadian Parliament as a Foreign Policy Advisor to one of Canada’s national political parties; and worked in Canada and the Middle East as an Immigration Consultant. He holds Master’s degrees in International Affairs and Religious Studies.

Miyuki Arai

Miyuki Arai
Director, Global Learning and Intercultural Support, Studio for Teaching and Learning, Saint Mary’s University

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Miyuki Arai manages international mobility programs and partnerships as well as promotes pan-campus processes and initiatives which support the strategic priority of Intercultural Learning for the University community. She has been engaged in various aspects of international education since 2004 at her alma mater, Saint Mary’s University. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Helen Balderama
Associate Director, International Partnerships & Programs, York International
York University

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Helen has 20 years of experience in the field of international education championing programs and partnerships in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas through her work with UNESCO, the Asia-Europe Foundation and the university sector in Canada. As Associate Director International Partnerships and Programs at York University, Helen facilitates and shepherds York’s global engagement and partnerships and supports York students’ participation in global learning opportunities. Helen has a BA Philosophy, Cum Laude, at University of the Philippines (UP), a Post Graduate Diploma on Cultural Projects for Development from the University of Turin and International Labour Organization (Italy), and an MA Public Administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Helen was NAFSA’s International Outreach Coordinator (2017-2020) and is active in the UP and NUS alumni associations in Toronto.

Ruth Wax
Senior Officer, Global Engagement Office
University of Victoria

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Ruth Wax is the Senior Officer for the University of Victoria’s Office of Global Engagement. She is responsible for managing and developing international partnerships, projects and programs that enhance UVic’s diverse global environment. Ruth supports UVic’s Senior Executive, faculty and staff in furthering international activities, including international agreement assessment and development, coordinating inbound and outbound international visits, facilitating UVic’s engagement with international membership organizations and managing projects that advance UVic’s strategic goals for internationalization.
Ruth has over 10 years of experience working in various aspects of the international education sector, including student services, contract training, recruitment, mobility and partnership development. Fluent in German and English, she holds a MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies and a BA in Sociology.

Emily MacDougall
Director, Global Partnerships
University of British Columbia

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Emily MacDougall is the Director of Global Partnerships in the Office of the Vice-Provost International at the University of British Columbia (UBC), responsible for institutional partnerships, agreements and international relations, and more broadly for fostering strategic partnership engagement that supports long-term institutional goals. Prior to joining UBC in 2019, Emily worked in the non-profit sector for over 10 years, focused on partnership management and global development programs, working extensively in East Africa in particular.  Emily holds a MA in International Studies from SFU and BComm from Queen’s University.

Natasha Fernandez
Manager, Global Engagement and Partnerships
University of Guelph
Co-Chair Elect 2023-2025

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Rooted in more than a decade of international education experience across both the private and public sectors, Natasha most recently joined the University of Guelph in 2021 as the Manager, Global Engagement and Partnerships. This role is situated in a newer office, the Office of International Strategy and Partnerships. In her current role, she works closely and collaboratively with campus partners to meet their internationalization and partnership goals. Her work is focused on partnership development and management, collaborating with a range of stakeholders at institutions and organizations abroad.

Being a proud alumna of Guelph, Natasha was excited to return to U of G professionally and contribute to establishing this new unit.

Prior to Guelph, Natasha was at KPU in B.C. and before that she lived and worked abroad as an Education Advisor.

Natasha holds a Certificate in Adult Education from George Brown College. Fluent in Spanish, she has studied, lived or worked in Cuba, Ecuador, and Uruguay.

Kennis Fung
International Partnership Officer, Asia & Oceania
University of Manitoba

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Kennis manages international relations and funding programs pertaining to Asia and Oceania at the University of Manitoba (UM). With over 14 years’ experience working for three different North American universities, Kennis has worked in student recruitment, Executive Education program development, event management as well as in three different faculties before joining Research and International at UM. In addition, Kennis spent seven years in the private sector when she resided in Hong Kong. As the Head of Marketing of a legal publishing company, she managed business development and a subscription sales team before she moved to Canada in 2012.
Kennis is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. Educated in Hong Kong, the U.K. and Canada, Kennis is now pursuing her second master degree (MA in Global Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London).

Mahvish Wesley
Director, Learning & Safety Abroad
University of Toronto

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Mahvish Wesley is the Director of Learning and Safety Abroad team within the Centre for International Experience at the University of Toronto. In collaboration with the tri campus university partners, she manages the portfolio for study, research, and practical experiences abroad for students.

This involves leading the work on outbound student awards, student mobility university partnership agreements, student safety and risk management of international experiences, and inbound and outbound mobility for coursework, research, and experiential learning opportunities

The student mobility portfolio also works closely with research, industry, and innovation international partnerships withing the University, via the offices of Vice President International and Vice Provost Students.

Mahvish has worked at the University of Toronto since 2005 in various divisions and faculties.

Throughout her university career, she has worked in the fields of student recruitment and admissions, student careers’ development, and student global mobility. In working with students of varying and diverse backgrounds, the goal of high quality, student-centric experiences as well as strong stakeholder relationships have always been and remain to be of paramount importance.