I am delighted to share with you my second newsletter of 2019.
Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year’s theme is “Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty”. Additionally, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) – a landmark treaty that sets out the rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.
The theme acknowledges the important fact that we cannot address poverty one individual at a time, and not one issue at a time (such as unemployment, illiteracy etc.). Rather, we need to approach poverty at the level of communities where children live their lives. In Canada, when we consider child poverty, we must remember the particularly difficult – and unequal – conditions indigenous children continue to endure.
On our campus, the month of September was indeed a historic one. On the afternoon of September 24th, UBC Okanagan signed a declaration in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Elders, chiefs and community members from throughout the Syilx Okanagan Nation joined with students, faculty and staff at UBC Okanagan to witness the historic signing of commitments to action toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. I was honored to be here for this historic moment. I look forward to working with all of you on the commitments in the declaration. You can read more about the commitments here.
Also on September 24, the Board of Governors of UBC approved a $100M allocation from the university’s TREK endowment to UBC Okanagan. The $100M will be used towards a fundraising campaign for the campus and the annual revenue will go towards supporting students beginning immediately.
UBC Okanagan reached an enrolment milestone in September 2019 with 10, 723 students, of which approximately 2000 are international (from over 100 countries). 3000 new students joined the Okanagan campus this year and we now have over 1000 graduate students.
On September 5th we had a visit from the Honorable James Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification. Minister Carr met with DVC Deborah Buszard, AVP Students Ian Cull and myself to identify areas of synergy between UBC Okanagan’s priorities and new opportunities provided through Canada’s International Education Strategy. The strategy includes increased funding and financial support for Canadian students who want to study abroad on exchange and increased scholarship funding for incoming international students to Canada.
Minister Carr visited the new Commons Building and met with UBC students. One such student was Yu Teshima, who is in her 4th year of a UBC Okanagan Bachelor of Management Degree. She is also the student liaison for the Okanagan Young Professionals Collective, which works to retain talent in the region and connect graduates with local work opportunities.
Our students continue to do incredible things. Rob Shaw, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Health and Social Development, landed on top of the podium with a Gold medal at the Parapan American Quad-tennis championships.
Closer to home, Dela Hini – a third-year sociology student – received a Top 20 Under 25 award in the Strong Woman category from non-profit, Think for Actions, recognizing her work with a local vulnerable population. The Pink Backpack Project is a campaign that was founded by Dela and provides sanitary supplies, toiletries and cosmetics for exploited and marginalized women in Kelowna.
Stacy Dikareva and Daria Hutchinson, two students in the Southern Medical Program, won the 2019 Reichwald Family Foundation Southern Medical Program award for demonstrating excellence in academics, leadership and community service.
I am truly inspired by the breadth of impact of our students – it spans cities, countries, continents and even extends into space! A group of 5 international undergraduate students sent their experiment into the stratosphere after winning the opportunity in a nationwide competition sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency.
In September we also saw global climate action. A rally was organized by UBC Okanagan Students’ Union (UBCSUO) on September 26th. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff participated and our DVC Deborah Buszard addressed the rally.
I hope that you enjoy reading through the stories featured in this newsletter to find out more about exciting initiatives and developments on our campus. I encourage you to contact me with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before I sign off I want to express my gratitude to my team without whom none of this work would be possible.
Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Professor, Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science
Provost and Vice-President Academic
I respectfully acknowledge that UBC’s Okanagan campus is situated on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation