Intercultural Understanding

The University engages in reflection and action to build intercultural aptitudes, create a strong sense of inclusion, and enrich our intellectual and social life.

Stop. There beside you is another person. Meet [them]. This sort of encounter is the greatest event, the most vital experience of all.
Ryszard Kapuściński

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We are one humanity and each deeply different. We may find no better place in which to embrace this paradox than the university.

Differences in values, circumstance, and intellectual viewpoint have incited humankind’s worst conflicts. Considered with respect, they afford great learning. Wholly embraced, they promise to be our greatest strength.

UBC welcomes responsibility for promoting intercultural understanding on its campuses. Working to build community in diversity, the University strives to increase access for all and particularly for historically disadvantaged groups.

UBC is a safe place for significant conversations across profound cultural difference. Positioned to engage a full range of local, national, and international experiences and perspectives, UBC collaborates to reduce conflict and generate sustainable solutions to the complex questions of our time.

Our task is to re-imagine what UBC is and whom it serves, and to recognize that the University’s foundation is strengthened as the walls between us come down.

Goal Increase awareness and experience of the benefits of intercultural learning and developing intercultural fluency

Portfolio Action

Complete consultation on the Intercultural Strategic Plan

  • Support completion, and begin the implementation of, the Intercultural Strategic Plan (VPA, VPCCP, VPS, DVC)

Expand learning opportunities encouraging cultural diversity, dialogue and debate

  • Continue to develop programs and events that support exchange of culture, history and traditions (VPA)

Promote effective inter-cultural professional development for faculty and staff

  • Continue to develop opportunities and encourage professional development in intercultural communication and weave intercultural learning into student learning (VPA)

Establish intercultural understanding as a core leadership competency

  • Revise training and coaching programs for student leaders and student employees across the VPS portfolio with particular emphasis on intercultural capacity (VPS)
  • Revise and enhance intercultural training programs for faculty and staff (VPA, DVC)

Foster thought-leadership in the area of intercultural understanding and social sustainability

  • Enhance interconnectedness between academic bodies focused on diversity, equity and related intercultural studies (VPA, DVC)
  • Develop advanced forms of measuring intercultural fluency in students, staff and faculty (VPA, DVC)

Goal Remove barriers to greater diversity within the University, including those faced by historically disadvantaged groups

Portfolio Action

Improve processes and supports to achieve an excellent and diverse student, staff and faculty body

  • Continue to stress diversity in hiring and raise with all search committees the need to be sensitive to unconscious bias in hiring (All)
  • Continue to expand International Student Mentoring (VPA, VPS)

Enhance accessibility of the physical environment at UBC for people with disabilities

  • Ensure campus plans meet or exceed code requirements regarding accessibility (VPFRO)

Expand opportunities to safely express opinions and converse on issues of cultural diversity at all levels of the university

  • Increase awareness raising activities and courses addressing diversity issues (VPA, DVC, HR)

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