Steven Point (left) and Bob Rae are the keynote speakers at an online event Sept. 24 celebrating the launch of UFV’s Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford.

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

The University of the Fraser Valley is bringing two well-known social justice advocates together on Thursday, Sept. 24 to celebrate the launch of its Peace and Reconciliation Centre (PARC) at the Abbotsford campus.

PARC will be a place for students, faculty, and community to engage in dialogue, research, action, and creative expression on issues of difference and conflict, and to encourage action toward sustained and meaningful peace and reconciliation on local, national, and global issues.

At the launch event, PARC representatives will also introduce several funding opportunities for faculty, students, and community members. A total of $30,000 in funding will be available for initiatives related to peace and conflict resolution.

The event will take place via the Zoom video app on Sept. 24 from noon to 2 p.m. Admission is free and the public is welcome. Register on eventbrite.ca.

It will be hosted by UFV’s Keith Carlson, chair of the new centre, and will feature keynote speakers Bob Rae, ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the United Nations, and Steven Point, chancellor of the University of B.C. and former lieutenant-governor of B.C.

Prior to his recent appointment, Rae served as special envoy on humanitarian and refugee issues. He authored a report with recommendations on the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar that influenced Canada’s strategy to respond to the catastrophe.

A Rhodes Scholar in his youth, Rae is a lawyer, public speaker, and former politician. He was elected 11 times at the provincial or federal level between 1978 and 2013. His political experience includes a term as premier of Ontario and service as the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Rae became committed to social justice in mid 1970s while a student at Oxford. He has dedicated many years to social justice causes, and has served as chief negotiator and counsel for the Matawa First Nations in Ontario and as a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Point is a former provincial court judge who began his post-secondary studies at UFV in the 1980s before completing law school at UBC. He received the Order of British Columbia in 2017, and holds several honorary degrees, including one from UFV.

Point has many years of experience working with Indigenous groups in his law practice. He also served as Chief of the Skowkale First Nation and as Tribal Chair of the Stó:lõ Nation.

Both speakers have long histories of public service, a commitment to social justice and Indigenous rights. They will bring unique perspectives and insight on what peace and reconciliation can look like at the local, national, and global levels.

PARC is the only centre of its kind in Canada and has a distinctively collaborative and interdisciplinary focus, inviting participation from faculty and students from all disciplines, and also from the general community.

Carlson has been appointed chair of PARC, with Benjamin Vanderpol serving as community co-chair.

Carlson is a UFV-based Canada research chair, whose expertise and specialty is community-engaged, reconciliation-focused historical research.

He has worked extensively with local Indigenous communities for nearly three decades, first as a staff historian and research coordinator for the Stó:lõ Nation in Chilliwack and then as a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and subsequently UFV.

Carlson hopes PARC will serve as a place where people can come to “co-create answers to issues.”

Visit ufv.ca/parc for more information.

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