Category Archives: Events

Politics of Hair a part of “Rule out Racism Week.”

The Rule out Racism Week is hosted by the Equity and Inclusion office in collaboration with other campus partners including the International Programs and Services, UBCSUO, and SARA to mitigate the cancer of racism in our campus community .


The Politics of Hair event was hosted by Siona Coker, a 4th year Philosophy, Gender and Women’s studies double major, who prepared a presentation on black hair. She approached the topic from the concept of good hair as perpetuated by the major hair brands and media. Touching on topics including what hair is ‘professional’ , the problem with touching people’s hair without permission, and the differences in texture of natural hair, as well as appropriation.

rastafarians-1-1430384For a long time, Eurocentric beauty standards have been the order of the day and people who have not subscribed to these standards especially in the professional world sometimes face institutional racism. They are sent home from school because of their hair whose texture they have little control over, or are less competitive for job opportunities because of their ‘unprofessional’ hairstyles. Siona spoke on the reasons why ‘wearing your mane’ was a source of pride, as well as the damage that heat use (for straightening) does to black hair and the costs black women have to go through to be professional.

The discussion moved on to why touching peoples hair is a complete No-No, especially as it pertains to women, because of the long history of patriarchy and inequality in the system. It was revealed that hair is perceived as very intimate, and when people who have not been given permission to touch it, reach in, they reinforce the privilege that they have, more so when men do it. Many of the participants believed that their hair is a symbol of liberation, which when people randomly touch,  re-oppreses them.

Post discussion, I thought about why, in the 21st century, some people are still concerned about how people look instead of what skills they bring to the table. It is part of the reason why mitigating systemic and institutional racism as well as all forms of discrimination from our society. More discussions like these in our community can contribute to our minute quota in the world, in attempts to curb discrimination.




International Women’s Day Interviews (Part 3)

International-Womens-Day1In light of the celebration of International Women’s Week, the Global Spectrum, in collaboration with International Programs & Services, will showcase interviews with our UBC-O community. Enjoy!


Dushun Wilson

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

The ability to fully embody their identity. Just, the ability to completely know what they are, and not take anyone else’s perception of themselves as they take their own

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

My mother is exceptional because she has been able to take on roles that I feel men would typically take on, without compromising her femininity and without being shoehorned into a role that people would call manly.


Vicky Medeia

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

I think that what makes someone exceptional is being strong, being able to keep going on when everyone and everything is trying to stop you and going against you, while being selfless; caring more about how it will affect others, than how it will affect you.

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

My mum. Last year my mum was diagnosed with cancer, and when she was diagnosed, she didn’t tell me because the first thing she thought was how I was going to feel guilty of not being able to be with her. So, she waited a while and let me know that everything was fine, that she was sick and getting treatment, and that everything would be fine. Even though I know she was sad and emotionally stressed and drained, she kept thinking about how I would take it. That for me is a very strong woman.

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Karlee Friesen 

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

I think to be a remarkable woman is to be someone who stands up for what you believe in, someone who is confident, you don’t have to be confident all the time, but to do what you can with the resources that you have. Being yourself and knowing who you are.

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

I have a lot of self-identified women role models. Especially since there’s so many amazing women out there in pop culture right now that are taking a stand and telling it how it is, and that is really awesome, because several years ago you wouldn’t have got that in popular culture. Now it is such a big topic, which is really good, as it brings forth so many opportunities for women especially young women, because they’re the ones seeing it the most on different media. It’s a really good time to be a woman! Even though there’s still progress to be made.


Murad Alnashef

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

A woman who I think is remarkable would be my mom. The reason being that my mom has been a very hard working, dedicated, loyal and ambitious woman. Reason why I think she’s remarkable is because she is basically selfless. Her goal in life was to raise me right and do what’s best for me. She raised me with a set of values that I’ll always carry on in my entire life. And even to this day what I am and what I’ll become will always be a result of what she has done for me.

The Journey of a Syrian Family: Part 2

Mohammad had been one of the first few Syrians to enter Jordan as a refugee. Refugees in Jordan require a sponsor to get out of the refugee camps and legally stay and work in Jordan. Mohammad was diligent in clarifying to me that a Jordanian sponsor was not the same as a Canadian sponsor. In Canada, when Mohammad arrived with his family, a local church and the Kelowna government together took the responsibility of supporting them in beginning their lives in this new place. This includes financial support for a year, providing support in getting a job for Mohammad, enrolling his children in school and settling his family in a house. In contrast, in Jordan a sponsor is only on paper, one whose signature is needed to allow refugees to legally stay in Jordan. Unfortunately, providing that signature is the only help sponsors will provide.

Mohammad had worked in Jordan between 1992-1993, during which time he made few friends. When he fled to Jordan in 2012, these friends in Jordan helped him get a sponsor. Furthermore, Mohammad was able to do some work by helping his friends in buying and selling things. But life was nowhere near what it had been in Syria. He was earning enough just to survive. The meager work that Mohammad did while in Jordan was not approved by the government via a work permit. One might wonder why didn’t Mohammad pursue the legal avenue?

Mohammad was one of the first fifty thousand Syrians to arrive in Jordan so he was fortunate, as back then sponsors didn’t demand money for providing their signatures. When a huge influx of refugees started coming in, Jordanian sponsors started charging a large fee for providing their signatures. On the other hand, the government of Jordan also charged for the work permit for these refugees. The work permit would allow them to live and work outside the refugee camps. Both options would enable the Syrian refugees to live in the Jordanian society, work and contribute to the economy. However, the integration of refugees was hindered by the financial cost, one which often was not feasible for those people who fled war and persecution from their country with very few belongings. Sponsors charging money was not legal, but like many other individuals such as human smugglers in the Mediterranean, everyone took an advantage of those in a dire situation.

Global Fest 2015: Celebrating Diversity, Embracing Differences.


This year’s annual celebration of Global Fest was a blast!
Every year it has gotten bigger & better and this year’s edition was the best one yet! The morning session began with a special opening address from the Vice Chancellor, Deborah Buzzard and the manager of the IPS office, Leah Sanford who spoke on the importance of the diversity on our campus and the opportunities they present to learn from the different cultures.


There were presentations from different countries and regions, with memorable mentions including Chilean music + tortilla chips, having your name written in Taiwanese and dishes from different Tanzania, Nepal & different parts of the world. Many people walking through the FIPKE building, students and staff alike, sampled dishes and listened to the students and staff who represented the 26 different countries  on showcase at the event.


Global Fest Night Performance


The night section begun with a poem from the Master of Ceremony of the event, yours truly, Nene Azu and was characterized by music and dance performances that from India, Iran,  Russia, Canada & China among many others. There were also  memorable performances from Sam & Eaton (rap) ,UBCO Beats(acapella) , the ASA and the Latin Dance Club(dance) who graced us with amazing dance performances.


Overall the event was a success and the International Programs and Services Community Animators did a spectacular job at putting it together. I believe the UBC community looks forward to more events like this as it embraces our diversity and celebrates diverse cultures.



Misconceptions About Islam at UBCO

The current events that happened in the past week in regards to the bombings in Paris and Beirut as well as the catastrophes and general sense of loss in various parts of the world, make it a good time for introspection and soul searching. Sadly, a bi-product of these attacks has been the rise in public displays of Islamophobia and discrimination all around us.

The Muslim Student Association, led by Adnan Bhat, held a talk last week on the Misconceptions about Islam; an informative session and open Q&A. The talk offered an avenue for genuinely curious minds on the UBCO campus to actually learn about the tenets and beliefs of Islam from  Sheikh Navaid Aziz, the guest speaker,  who is a chaplain and youth counsellor from Calgary.

As he begun, he greeted the crowd and encouraged the members of the audience to approach the session with an open mind. He went on to touch on many aspects that are highly controversial to the the way Muslims are viewed as well as Islamophobia in general. He spoke extensively about the problems of taking a small percentage of Muslims as representative of all of Islam,  quoting versus from the Quran and introducing counter examples from other religions. He linked these occurrences to the media and their largely reductive and negative portrayal of Islam.

The Sheikh continued by giving a brief introduction to the concept of Sharia Law, explaining its focal point was to protect people, faith, intellect, wealth and honour, and explaining some of the differences that exists between the different ideologies, Sunni and Shia. He also touched on the four types of Jihad, introducing the literal meaning of “Jihad,” or “struggle,” as waging war against ignorance, taking care of parents, and speaking the truth to a tyrannical ruler.

When asked about the Hijab and Niqab during the Q&A period, the Sheikh responded that cultural differences are at the heart of misunderstandings about women’s clothing. He reiterated women’s prerogative in choosing to wear a head covering, and he further reinforced that the most respected/valued member of the home, according to the Quran, is the mother.

Sheikh Aziz wrapped up the Q&A session with a short discussion on how family values and legislation within Islam are very different from Western styles and again pointed at misconstrued understandings of Islam. He also talked a little about Islamic banking in response to a student interested in working in the UAE.

The Muslim Student Association provided snacks and the event was generally a success, more so a success of the mind as many were very open and ready to learn from the Sheikh.There was a lot of media coverage on the event and a good showing from the campus community.


Tournaments Galore

The month of October has been filled with endless games of football, soccer, fútbol or fussball – whichever way you like to say it. Participants were able to listen to the crisp sound of the ball being pierced against the net. They were able to witness their sweat dripping from forehead to chin. However, most importantly, they were able to play an international love or rather, an international language adored by many.

On October 3rd began the World Cup tournament. Nine in the morning, bright and early, teams were able to start some of their first games.  The tournament was ongoing until the final game took place at five o’clock. Eventually the Russian Federation team took first place! Lots of teams were thirsty for more soccer, especially after some of the losses. (Hosted by the Model United Nations Club and helped by the International football Club)

On October 13th, students were able to bounce, spin and even 360-flip all around the field in a goofy game of bubble ball. Being in the bubble itself was quite the experience. Participants were tackled left and right and were thrown from one end of the field to the other, still retaining the biggest smiles on their faces. (Hosted by the Social Club, the Biochemistry Course Union and International Football Club)

On October 16th, music was blaring, soccer boots were tighten and the IFC NepSA Tournament began! Each team was able to participate in a minimum of three games.  Afterwards,  the scores were calculated to see which teams made it to the finals. Eventually, Kings FC were successful in taking first place by the end of the tournament. In addition, over $250 was raised for the school building project in Nepal! (Hosted by International Football Club and the Nepalese Scholars Association )

More events like these to come in the near future!

Stay tuned.

Harmony UBCO

An international talent show. A phenomenal intercultural exhibition.

These are some of the phrases one could use to describe Harmony UBCO, a multi club collaboration between 10 of our campus’ cultural clubs. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the diversity on our campus and promote greater intercultural communication.

The night started out with food being served to the students and, must I say, what a feast it was! Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Nepali, African-Caribbean, Arab-to name a few- the variety of food was astounding. I got a chance to indulge myself in some delicious dishes that I have never tasted before. Once everyone ate, the audience was ready to see some performances.

The host for the night was special guest Jus Reign’s right hand Babbulicious, ‘Babbu’ for short. The rain might have dampened the spirits of people, but Babbu sure managed to uplift them and cheer the crowd. The performances started with the Okanagan Anthem followed by a performance from the Indigenous Students Association. Being an international student myself, I wasn’t much aware of the culture of the Indigenous people. But to have seen them display their culture through singing some beautiful songs was truly enriching. After that, there was a fashion show by the Nepalese Student Association. It was an amazing effort by the Nepalese community in Kelowna to showcase their culture’s clothing, much of which we don’t get a chance to see. Following the showcase was the Russian Speaker’s Student Association, which was a friendly surprise. I expected to see a Russian performance but, as a bonus, the audience was entertained by dances from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan! From Central Asia, we then took a jump to South East Asia. The South Asian Student Alliance put up a bunch of upbeat Bollywood performances that surely got the audience dancing to its groove. The unexpected mash up of an American song and Bhangra (an Indian dance form), was a stunning addition to the evening. Following this was the beautiful dance performance by the Association of Bangladeshi Students on a Bangla folk song. Just when you thought there are only performances, in the last act of the night the European Student Association played a game of trivia. Forming teams with the help of some volunteers from the audience and pitting them against each other. We got to know about Europe in a way much more interesting than reading Wikipedia!

This event helped showcase many things about different cultures that we don’t see in the mainstream media. This was made possible because of the diversity on our campus. It is this diversity which enriches our experience at UBCO and helps us get to know more about the world in a more personal way. For many students, it was a chance to see this and know what more UBCO has to offer. I’d like to conclude by giving a huge shout out to the UBCO Students Union for putting together such a great event!!


Harmony 2 Harmony 1




The Nepalese Scholars Association

 Nepal is a place of utmost hospitality and grace.

The freedom flags sway elegantly in company with the  wind’s chase.

Since a number of ever-changing moons the ground in the once peaceful place has been tragically shifted.

It’s our responsibility to help this beautiful country and have the people uplifted.

Please take a moment to think about what you acquire.

Think about what is in your heart and what does one really require.

The Nepalese Scholars Association

This association is fairly new and yet it has already made it’s mark in showing students what the group is all about. They have been determined and courageous in everything they have done. The association started up a “Nepalese Earthquake Relief Support”  Facebook page and started building momentum in bringing awareness to students and the city of Kelowna. It has risen an effort towards supporting the earthquake victims in Nepal.


Shortly after, they hosted a Candlelight Vigil to recognize those who had been impacted by the earthquake in Nepal.

Next, the association started a bottle drive for the Shree Bashukee School in Nepal. Moreover, they currently have a GoFundMe page as well. –>

On October 2nd there is an event taking place called Harmony UBCO. It is 1st annual Harmony banquet and it happens to be hosted by Jus Reign’s right hand Babbulicious. Harmony UBCO is a multi-club collaboration including performances and food from 10 of our cultural clubs around campus. It’s goal is to expand intercultural relations and to celebrate unity.

Harmony will include performances and food by the following clubs:

South Asian Alliance
Association of Bangladeshi Students
African Caribbean Student Club
Asian Student Association
Sikh Student Association
Indigenous Student Association
European Student Association
Russian Speakers Association
Arab Student Association

The Nepalese Scholars Association!

Harmony Facebook event page –>

Lastly, this brings us to the Nepsa tournament!

It is a fundraiser for building a school in Nepal. This tournament is in collaboration with International Programs and Services, International Football club, Student Union.

DATE: October 16th
TIME: 4:00pm -9:00pm
AMOUNT: 10 – 12 team (approx. 8 players)
PRICE: $5 individual / $35 team
INFO: This event is to raise money to build a school in Nepal from the devastating earthquake a few months ago. Registration booth also up next week for sign ups.                                                                               Extra: Included BBQ by donation                                                                            Contact: or

—-> NepSA tournment facebook page

To conclude, having traveled to Nepal a couple years ago and having friends and family over there, makes this association really hit ‘home’ for me. They are such an inspiration to me and to all students at UBCO.




Upcoming Events: August – September 2015!

Jumpstart 2015!   
Undergraduate International student orLogo_-_Jumpstart23021ientation hosted by the IPS.

A one-week preparation to academic life at and orientation to UBC’s Okanagan campus for new international undergraduate students.

Grad Jumpstart 2015!
Graduate International student orientation hosted by the IPS.
A one-week preparation to academic life at and orientation to UBC’s Okanagan campus created specifically for international graduate students.

Spark Extended Orientation! (Month of September)spark
UBC Okanagan’s five-week extended orientation program designed to welcome back our returning students and introduce our programs and services to New-to-UBC students. It is highlighted by the following week long events:

– Week of Welcome!
– Wellness & Recreation Week!
– Involvement Week!
– Academics Week!
– Diversity & Equity Week!

– UBCSUO Frosh!
Week long activities that welcome students to university living hosted by the Students Union.
It includes concerts, fun activities on the commons and many more!
One of the notable days during this week is:

– Clubs and Course Union Day

A day set aside for all the clubs and course unions on campus setup booths in the academic courtyard so students know what extra-curricular involvement options are available on campus.

* this page will be updated regularly and is not the final list of events for the months of August and September 2015.