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Vancouver School of Theology

Winter Update 2013

UBC Appoints Rabbi Dr. Robert Daum as an Advisor

We are very thankful for your support of the Centre’s programs this year, which began this summer with UBC appointing Rabbi Dr. Robert Daum, Director of Iona Pacific, as an Advisor in the Office of Vice President, Students, focusing on ethno-religious diversity and student development. This is a concurrent, part-time position that complements his continuing role with Iona Pacific.

During VST’s Summer School, Iona Pacific Research Associate, Dr. Hossein Houshmand, lectured on “Rumi and the Hiddenness of God”, and our other summer Visiting Scholar was SFU Professor Dr. Heesoon Bai who taught a course on “Ways of Reconciliation in Buddhist Teachings”. In November, we organized VST’s third annual “Kristallnacht Commemoration: Night of Broken Glass” for the VST and wider UBC community; our presenters were Soprano Paula Rosen and Child Survivor Marian Cassirer.


Truth & Reconciliation Efforts

This year, Iona Pacific joined many organizations in support of Truth and Reconciliation efforts. Prof. Robert Daum, in his capacity as a “Reconciliation Ambassador,” together with three community elders, co-facilitated a two-day Reconciliation Canada workshop in April for 36 Aboriginal and Jewish elders. Reconciliation Canada works to “promote reconciliation by engaging Canadians in dialogue that revitalizes the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians in order to build resilience.” It is guided by the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, who welcomed participants to the two-day workshop along with Shelley Joseph and Tamara Pearl (a member of Iona Pacific’s Community Advisory Council).

As well, during Reconciliation Week in September, staff attended the “Be the Change” Dialogue where young adults from Indigenous, Japanese, Chinese, and Jewish backgrounds spoke about the intergenerational effects of human rights violations in Canada. Iona Pacific staff is invited in 2014 to participate in a major program coordinated by SFU’s Centre for Dialogue early in 2014, the focus of which will be  SFU’s honouring of Chief Robert Joseph with the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue.


Welcome back to Dr. Rosa Sevy

In January we also look forward to welcoming back as an Iona Pacific Research Associate our former IP Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Rosa Sevy. Dr. Sevy recently published a peer-reviewed article on her interfaith bridging research project working with mothers from diverse backgrounds. This project was conducted with the support of Iona Pacific, the Province of BC, and the Government of Canada, through the EmbraceBC program.


Government of Canada & Province of BC funds MentorLink for a Second Year

For the second year in a row, Iona Pacific Inter-religious Centre received funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Embrace BC program. This was our eighth successful solo applicant grant competition out of nine submitted since our inauguration as a Centre. The funds enabled us to plan and organize “MentorLink: A Multilogue with leading professionals.” MentorLink 2012/2013 brought together students from the UBC campus who were inter-religiously, inter-culturally, and academically diverse. Mentors from various religious backgrounds guided students to develop their leadership skills. Students gained career mentoring, professional connections, diversity training, leadership training, networking with other students, interdisciplinary project management experience, and contributed to a socially beneficial project. More information can be found in our yearly publication, Compass. MentorLink 2013/2014 will be a three-part series on conflict and reconciliation Students will watch “Beyond our Differences,” an in-depth student discussion, and will participate in a panel night with professionals from various religious backgrounds, who work in the field of reconciliation.


Iona Pacific’s Involvement in Wider Community

This summer and fall, Iona Pacific participated in inter-cultural initiatives by the City of Vancouver, the Province of BC, the Couchiching Institute on Public Issues, the Inspirit Foundation, and other institutions. Finally, Prof. Daum is participating in exciting research collaboration with 30 other professors at 18 leading universities in 10 countries, focusing on historic and contemporary interactions between ethno-religious communities. More information about this initiative will be forthcoming.


As the year ends, we think about all we are grateful for in 2013. Your support for and participation in our events is our greatest source of strength. Thank you for the opportunity to create collaborative, critical, and constructive programs for the past four years. We wish you a wonderful holiday season, be it through religious festivities with friends and family or just relaxing with loved ones. We wish you much success in the new year. Happy Holidays! We hope that you have a holiday that fills your heart with joy!

We look forward to seeing you in 2014.

Warm regards,

Rabbi Dr. Robert Daum