Request for Feedback from UBC Students

Over the last semester I have been meeting with student groups for a final look at the working draft of the mid-level plan.

I had promised students and Heads and Directors to turn my presentations into a 20-minute video that could be shared. Here it is, providing an overview of the working draft of The Intercultural Promise. To download and review the working draft of The Intercultural Promise.

The mid-level plan features six strategic goals. The first three address the core issues at UBC that contribute to intercultural barriers.

  1. Fostering a culture of dynamic interaction (aka. “friend-making”);
  2. Growing our capacity for “courageous conversations”; and
  3. Classroom content: Integrating intercultural understanding into the classroom experience.

We have consulted students all through the plan’s development and just want to loop back to students before we put out a more final version of the mid-level plan.

We are currently asking students the following question:

Do these strategic goals contribute to UBC students’ aspiration for an intercultural campus?

We are asking students to respond by sending thoughts and comments by email to or through the following survey:

Here are the list of groups we have already presented to that provided an opportunity for student feedback:

  • VP Students Group (June 2013)
  • AMS Council (July 2013)
  • Student Administrative Commission (August 2013)
  • Constituency President’s Council (October 2013)
  • Student Clubs at Global Lounge (October 2013)
  • SAC Info Sessions (November 2013)
  • UBC Board of Governors (November 2013)

UBC Senate Approves Asian Canadian Asian Migrations Minor

From Prof. Henry Yu, Associate Professor, Dept. of History, UBC and Principal, St. John’s College, UBC.

Dear all

For all of those who have spent many years working towards the creation of Asian Canadian studies at UBC, we are writing to pass on the happy news that last night, at the February 19, 2014 meeting of the UBC Senate, the new Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies program was unanimously approved.

This program fulfils the third of three commitments made by UBC Senate in November 2011 to honour the 76 Japanese Canadian students who were removed from UBC in 1942.

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Presentation to Parking & Access Control Services

As part of implementing the mid-level plan, I have put out an open invitation to present the plan to managers across the University. I gave a presentation to the managers of Parking & Access Control Services today, in their sparkling new office. This unit, of around 70 employees, is already very diverse.

As much as I hope attendees learn from and are inspired by my presentation, I also gain a lot from their feedback and questions. Here are the key ideas that came out of the presentation:

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Dr. Michael Ungar gave a great keynote at the UBC Advising Conference

This year’s UBC Advising Conference kicked off with a keynote from Dr. Michael Ungar, who spoke on “Nurturing Resilience Among Students Experiencing Adversity.

Here are my key takeaways from his impressively captivating and informative talk:

  • We are not trying to create “resiliency” within students, but can manipulate external factors that help students “be more resilient.” We shape environments that enable students to better cope with adversity.
  • Psychological resilience means having the capacity to navigate and negotiate, in culturally meaningful ways, what a student needs when they experience adversity.
  • Culturally meaningful is very important. What might seem “weird” to us, might be a very culturally acceptable form of coping.
  • There are seven factors that contribute to resilience.

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Happy Lunar New Year! 恭禧發財 and 新年快樂 | 新年快乐 (Xin Nian Kuai Le!) | 새해 복 많이 받으세요 | Chúc mừng năm mới | 明けましておめでとうございます。

Courtesy of Linda Ong and Library Communications and Marketing

A message from Alden E. Habacon, Director, Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development (February 4, 2014):

Happy Lunar New Year! Gong hey fat choy and San Nihn Faai Lok! (Cantonese), Xin Nian Kuai Le! (Mandarin), Sae Hae Bok Mani Ba Deu Se Yo! (Korean), Chúc mng năm mi! (Vietnamese), and Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu (Japanese).

This past Friday marked the beginning of the Year of the Horse for Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and many Japanese families all over the world. It is especially important for Vancouver and our community at UBC, as marked by the many celebrations on campus by various clubs and the countless activities throughout the city in the past week.

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Celebrating Lunar New Year with Foods From Different Cultures

yu sheng ingredients 2

Every year, Lunar New Year is celebrated around the globe with great fanfare: lion dances, red packets stuffed with money, and of course, 10-course banquets comprising dishes made with exquisite ingredients and brimming with symbolism–foods that are homonyms or look-alikes for gold bars, prosperity, family unity, fertility, good fortune, etc. This year, Lunar New Year falls on January 31st–it’s the year of the Horse!– and families will gather from far and wide over the next two weeks to eat dishes from long-life noodles to whole fish and fried egg rolls. Continue reading

Vietnamese New Year (Tet)

Tet Nguyen Dan, or Tet for short, is considered the biggest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam. Celebrated on the first day of the first month in Lunar Calendar, Tet’s celebration is the longest holiday which may last up to seven days (with the exception of Tet 2012 when the holiday is expected to last for 9 days!). Vietnamese New Year in 2013 will last from February 10-13, and in 2014 from January 31st to Feb 4th.

Full detail: