Asian Heritage Month May 2021

Artwork by Meg Yamamoto

In May 2021 Asian Heritage month came to us amidst significant adversities: the unprecedented rise of Anti-Asian racism, the scepter of the unrelenting pandemic, the humanitarian crisis in India and more. And yet, even in the face of such daunting realities, we saw communities coming together, raising their voices and offering support to one another, within and across borders.

In this spirit of coming together, UBC Okanagan hosted its first-ever Asian Heritage Month, inspired by our students. The recordings of the many incredible virtual events that took place are listed on this page, along with additional information and resources.


The National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism

June 10–11, 2021

UBC convened a two-day virtual event to address the ongoing crisis of escalating anti-Asian racism in Canada. A constellation of community organizers, scholars, and public intellectuals, along with key figures in government, health care, media, journalism, the corporate world and the not-for-profit sector joined together for frank discussions about anti-Asian racism in our country with the aim of articulating bold and concrete recommendations for action.

Watch the recordings

Past Events:

ubc okanagan artist showcase

May 26  |  12-2 p.m.

A showcase of the work of UBC Okanagan faculty and students in performance, creative writing, and media and visual arts, who negotiate the complexities of Asian experience, identity and heritage. A discussion and a Q&A session will follow.

watch the recording

Rediscovering Chinatown

May 20 | 7-8 p.m.

Rediscover the history of Kelowna’s Chinatown and the cultural forces that drove its creation on a virtual tour of the Okanagan Heritage Museum. Staff and UBC Okanagan students will help tell this story in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

watch the recording

The Story of bhangra

May 13  |  6-7 p.m.

Born into a farming family in the village of Siahar in Punjab, India, Gurdeep Pandher is now an internationally renowned Bhangra artist based in the Yukon. He brings together artists from all backgrounds to promote inclusivity and diversity. Gurdeep’s works have been published by many international art and media organizations including BBC News, CBC National and The Globe and Mail.

Gurdeep shared the story of Bhangra and its connections to the land and people of Punjab, India, followed by a Q&A session.


Chinese Voices of the Okanagan: A Showcase    

May 12  |  6-7:30 p.m.

This event discusses linguistic diversity amongst members of the Chinese community in Kelowna, including those who trace their heritage to mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, and showcases a website featuring community folksongs and folk stories. The event aims to enhance understanding of the complexity of heritage languages and identities in the Chinese-Canadian diaspora, and to foster connections between UBC Okanagan students and community members.

watch the recording

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month featuring President santa ono

May 11  |  12-1 p.m. PT / 3-4 p.m. ET

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is hosting a special webinar in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month featuring five Asian Pacific American leaders in public higher education. Speakers will discuss their own personal journey from growing up to becoming campus leaders

Opening event: Asian Heritage Month

May 6  |  2-3:30 p.m

An event to signify the launch of Asian Heritage Month, featuring opening remarks from Elder Larry Grant and a poetry reading by Fred Wah followed by Stories of Care presented by Jennifer Chan and Elvin Velasco sharing stories of the Filipinx/Filipina/Filipino care workers and the impact of the pandemic on them.

watch the recording

Asian Heritage Month Care Baskets

The Asian Heritage Month care basket initiative was inspired by UBC Okanagan students to promote self-care and provide an opportunity for students to share some of their culture with peers. All current UBC Okanagan students were eligible to register for a basket, which were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration has now closed and students should receive their baskets shortly!

Celebrating Teamwork

2021 Asian Heritage Month at UBC Okanagan was organized by a dedicated group of students, faculty, staff and community partners working together in the spirit of collaboration. We are grateful for the many voices who made these events possible.

  • Linda Digby Executive Director, Kelowna Museums Society
  • Jen Garner Head of Programming, Kelowna Museums Society
  • Mallery Barnett, Web & Social Media Coordinator, Kelowna Museums Society
  • Prapti Mallhi, Inclusion Action Plan Assistant for the Equity and Inclusion Office, Peer Mentor, Teaching Assistant, 4th year Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, IKBFASS
  • Allison Leam, Asian Student Association (ASA), Co-president, 3rd year Microbiology, IKBFS
  • Bryna Lee, Asian Student Association VP external, 4th year Biochemistry, IKBFS
  • Inderpal Dosanjh, Punjabi Student Association (PSA) President, 3rd year Microbiology, IKBFS
  • Alison Fong Pui Chow, Master of Social Work, FHSD
  • Ann Ni, 4th year Management student, FoM
  • Jenny Lao, 4th year International Relations student, IKBFASS
  • Sophia Hongyang Tao, 2nd year Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies
  • Gabrielle Tsui, 4th year Bachelor of Arts student, FCCS
  • Wanling He, 4th year Bachelor of Arts student, FCCS
  • Beyond Zhao, 2nd year FoM
  • Lydia Liu, 2020 Alumni, IKBFS
  • Michael Jing, 2020 Alumni, FoM
  • Yifeng Zhang, 2020 Alumni, FoM
  • Muye Han, visiting Ph.D. student, FoM
  • Patrick (Yongda) Feng, 4th year, FOM
  • Tony Yu, 4th year Performing Arts student, FCCS.
  • Xiao Xuan Huang, 1st year Masters of Fine Arts student, FCCS
  • Meg Yamamoto, 2nd year Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Doctoral student, FCCS
  • Chloe Chang, 4th year Bachelor of Media Studies student, FCCS
  • Jayko Buwell Duan, 3rd year Bachelor of Media Studies student, FCCS
  • Gao Yujie, 3rd year Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Studies student, FCCS
  • Manjinder Sidhu, 2nd year Masters of Fine Arts student, FCCS
  • Huiyu Chen, 2nd year Masters of Fine Arts student, FCCS
  • Jozen Corton, Filipino Student Association – VP External, Nursing student, FHSD
  • Ananya Mukherjee Reed, Provost and Vice-President Academic
  • Hussein Keshani, Associate Professor, Coordinator, Art History & Visual Culture, Coordinator, Digital Arts & Humanities, FCCS
  • Shannon Ward, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, IKBFASS
  • Ying Zhu, Assistant Professor, Marketing, FoM
  • Renay Egami, Associate Professor, Visual Arts, Creative Studies, FCCS
  • Kevin Chong, Assistant Professor, Creative Studies, FCCS
  • Aleks Dulic, Associate Professor, Creative Studies, FCC
  • Miles Thorogood, Assistant Professor, Creative Studies, FCCS
  • Shauna Oddleifson, Communications & Marketing Specialist, FCCS
  • Joanne Gervais, Media Technician, Creative Studies, FCCS
  • Suann Brown, Community Engagement Strategist
  • Kristen Brooke, Communications Coordinator
  • Raina Reddecliff, Associate Director, Campus Internationalization
  • Janine Wood, Executive Administrator to the Provost
  • UBC Bookstore
  • Equity and Inclusion Office
  • International Programs and Services

Asian Heritage Month Student Art

UBC Okanagan students were invited to submit their art to be shared as part of Asian Heritage Month promotions. Here are some wonderful submissions from our student artists!

  • Artwork by Yujie Gao

  • Artwork by Meg Yamamoto