Nepal Symposium – Thursday, September 24th

The Centre for India and South Asia Research, UBC Nepali Students Association and Institute of Asian Research invites you to:

”SYMPOSIUM ON NEPAL: Reconstruction and Regeneration After the Earthquake”

Join us for a discussion of Nepal’s experiences with relief and reconstruction after the devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015. Speakers will give brief presentations highlighting economic, engineering, linguistic and socio-political dimensions of earthquake response in Nepal,with a focus on Vancouver-linked initiatives.Followed by discussion and dialogue: Open floor. All are welcome

UBC Nepali Students Association will be selling homemade momos (Nepali dumplings) as a fundraiser for ongoing efforts in Nepal after the discussion. Kindly RSVP.

Thursday, September 24, 2015
Time: 4:00-7:00 pm
Location: Conference room #120
C.K. Choi Building, 1855 West Mall


Dr Tsering Shakya,Institute of Asian Research, UBC


Dr Bishnu Pandey, Civil Engineering, BCIT
Dr Sara Shneiderman, Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research, UBC
Dr Ratna Shrestha, Economics, UBC and Nepali Heritage Charity Foundation (NHCF)
Dr Mark Turin, Anthropology and First Nations and Endangered Languages Program, UBC

Divergences and Convergences of India: China Contemporary Relations – Wednesday, September 30th Ahmad Zahir Faqiri is a former Diplomat for Afghanistan and is going to be delivering a lecture in Room 120 of the C.K Choi Building, 4pm to 5:30pm on Wednesday September 30th. This lecture will focus on the dynamics and driving factors of the China -Indian relationship are with particular focus on maritime security, economics, energyscourge of regional terrorism and bilateral dialogue. Since the 1962 China -Indian War, there have been competitive elements within the China-Indian relationship.

Prior to his official visit to Beijing Prime Minister Modi in a press briefing highlighted with confidence that “My visit to China would be a new Milestone for the entire Asia”, which begs the question: What does Modi really want to bring to Asia? Mr. Faqiri has thoroughly researched India’s relationship with China and would like to share his expertise.

This is a free and open lecture to the public, so please feel free to join us. No RSVP required.

Source: Institute of Asian Research UBC

Eid-al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) | September 24, 2015

This Thursday September 24, along with millions around the world, hundreds of UBC’s students and many UBC faculty and staff will be celebrating Eid-al-Adha, one of the two significant holidays in the Muslim calendar.

The word “Eid” means “festival” or “holiday” in Arabic, and can refer to a number of Muslim holidays, but is most often used to refer to Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan and took place in July.

To mark Eid-al-Adha, the UBC Muslim Students Association (MSA UBC) will be hosting a morning prayer on campus, so that students don’t have to miss their morning class. That said, many students may not make their first class, so as to attend morning prayers with their family. Information about the morning prayer is below.

Eid-al-Adha Morning Prayer
8:00 AM

Totem Ballroom
Open to anyone who wants to participate in the morning prayer.

There is also a dinner party which will take place on the following Friday:

Eid-al-Adha Dinner & Party
6:30 PM

Old Sub Ballroom
Open to everyone.
Tickets are $10, available at

Why do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?
Eid al-Adha “commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Allah – and Allah’s mercy in putting a lamb in Ishmael’s place at the last moment. ‘Muslims believe that the very moment Ibrahim raised the knife, God told him to stop, that he had passed the test, and to replace Ishmael with a sacrificial ram,’ explains Al Arabiya. Eid also marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.”


(Above excerpted from:



What does ‘Intercultural Understanding’ actually mean?

With the on-going feedback of the UBC community, we have recently updated the working definition of intercultural understanding to make it clearer for those who are new to the concept:

Intercultural understanding refers to the profound sociocultural difference understood by individuals or by groups that reflect

(1.) social positions and statuses (including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender identity and expression, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, immigration as well as academic, employment or professional status);

(2.) the cultural histories, creative practices and faith perspectives of various social groups; and

(3.) the dynamic power relations that shape the interactions between dominant and non-dominant cultures, including the undercurrents of difference found within these interrelations.

As summarized in the following:

An understanding of the social positions, practices and power relations of sociocultural difference understood by individuals or groups within a society.

Continue reading

The UBC Graduate Students’ Society Present: International Celebration Night

Taken directly from the GSS website.
The Facebook event link can be found here

Date: Thursday, January 29, 2015
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: GSS Thea’s Lounge (6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver)
Tickets: $5 UBC grads, $10 UBC non-grads
or in-person at the GSS front desk

It’s a world of diversity! Join your GSS for a night of globe-trotting through the senses:

  • Savour ethnic cuisines from around the world
  • Watch videos that showcase cultures from across the globe
  • Challenge yourself with trivia questions and win a prize
  • Mingle with fellow students and celebrate diversity
  • Know a video that highlights your homeland? Email us links to videos from your home country that showcases the cultural aspects of it or portray its natural beauty.


Linguistic diversity at UBC – A Ubyssey Article

We all make assumptions about those that speak differently. Researchers refer to this phenomenon as linguistic profiling, or the identification of a person’s social characteristics, such as level of intelligence, based on aspects of their speech.


Taken directly from the Ubyssey (link here).

Letter: “I can’t understand my prof”: Linguistic diversity at UBC

By: Victoria Surtees

Around this time last semester, I stumbled upon a Ubyssey article listing reasons to drop a course. One reason in particular, “I can’t understand my prof,” evoked the many challenges of linguistic diversity at UBC. As a student here, I have heard many hurtful comments about the way instructors, profs and TAs speak, particularly about those who were not born in Canada. With the drop deadline approaching, I decided to see what the research said about why people sometimes react negatively to different ways of speaking. What I found was both interesting and practical. I share a condensed version of the findings here in the hope that students will take a step back and think next time they can’t understand a prof.

We all make assumptions about those that speak differently. Researchers refer to this phenomenon as linguistic profiling, or the identification of a person’s social characteristics, such as level of intelligence, based on aspects of their speech. In the university context, linguistic profiling often surfaces in the form of negative attitudes towards instructors who speak non-standard varieties of English (think Texan English or Chinese English). Raisler (1976), for example, found that 730 students rated lectures delivered by a prof with noticeable accents as less convincing than the same lecture delivered by a standard speaker. In a similar study, students rated exactly the same science lecture as more difficult to understand when played beside a photograph of an Asian man as opposed to a white man (Kang & Rubin, 2009). What this tells us is that when we don’t understand, it’s not always about the prof — our unconscious expectations and attitudes about what “good language” sounds like and who normally speaks it also play a role.

Recently, Kang, Rubin, Lindemann (2014) found that students’ ability to understand different accents was improved through critical discussion and exposure. With that in mind, here are a couple of practical tips to take away with you as you consider which courses to keep this semester.

Put your assumptions on hold: when you first saw your instructor, what did you expect? When they spoke, what did you think? Now put your ideas aside for a moment. Give you and your instructor the benefit of the doubt: they work at UBC because they are leaders in their field. You attend UBC because you’re an amazing student.

Remind yourself that it’s useful to understand other ways of speaking: learning to communicate effectively with a variety of English speakers is one way to tap into a vast transnational network. Viewed this way, linguistic diversity is not a burden, it is an additional opportunity that UBC provides. Take advantage!

InterculturalU: Call for Art Submissions

Are you passionate about ending discrimination and celebrating diversity using your art?

Join us! We are looking forward to all kinds of artwork : song, dance, drumming, photography, painting, sculpture, slam poetry, improv, stand-up comedy….

The UBC Equity Ambassadors will hold the third annual Intercultural U on March 21st in celebration of the International Day to End Racial Discrimination. We hope to promote intercultural understanding and connections between the rich variety of cultures on campus through an evening of art showcase.

Submit your form online by  January 19th, 2015!

If you would like more information, check out or contact us at

The UBC Graduate Students’ Society Presents: A Video Clip Competition

The UBC GSS is organizing an intercultural competition in order to encourage more sharing and communication between students form different culture and countries. The main idea is to invite students to make a short video about their country and culture.

Some themes include:
a) Nature, Cities (people and architecture) and Historical monuments/sites or

b) Traditional dances, Folklore dresses and outfits, traditional Food, Wedding ceremonies and National celebrations

All the submissions will be posted online for other people to view.

There will be a competition at the end to award the most viewed videos. Also, a social dinner will be held at the end of January to have all attendees to share their culture. Each team must have at least one UBC graduate student.

You can find the detail information about this project on the GSS webpage.

Halloween: Think Before You Dress Up


Halloween is easily one of my favourite holidays of the year. However cultural appropriation is no fun, and should be taken very seriously.

On the theme of Halloween outfits – here is a good piece by Hannah Barath, a student assistant from UBC Access  & Diversity:
Hip vs Horrible Halloween Outfits 

And if you’re unsure whether or not if your costume is racist, here’s a piece by Kat Lazo of Everyday Feminism.

The UBC Equity & Inclusion Office can connect you to more resources on how to be respectful of other people’s cultures, especially during this time of year.