Kwantlen students speak out about truth-telling, reconciliation and the path forward

Sun, Nov 4, 2012

For immediate release

November 5, 2012

Kwantlen students speak out about truth-telling, reconciliation and the path forward

(Metro Vancouver, BC) – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) students will be joining together again to host a public education symposium on November 9, 2012. The symposium, Enabling Truths: Exploring the Shared Experiences of Institutionalization of Indian Residential School Survivors and People with Disabilities,was created to generate awareness about the lasting consequences of colonial and ableist policy and practice in Canada. KPU students invite the public to join them in learning from the stories of those subjected to oppressive government intervention and reflecting on the social biases and structures that must be overcome in order to promote equality, fairness, and peaceful co-existence in our society.

“We want our students to connect their knowledge to meaningful social action by bringing together communities, and exploring shared elements of their histories and social experiences,” said Seema Ahluwalia, department of sociology, KPU. “Through this project, students will develop important research, teamwork, and global citizenship skills in the process of empowering themselves by acting on important issues in our society with compassion, commitment, and leadership.”

The symposium will be taking place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Kwantlen’s Surrey Campus Conference Centre, room G1205. Keynote speakers Paul Caune (director, Civil Rights Now!), Dr. Rosalyn Ing (professor emeritus, UBC), Steven Lytton (director, Urbanink Productions) and Dr. Tim Stainton (Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship, UBC) will be presenting during the symposium.

Attendees will hear stories from two groups in Canada who have been, and continue to be, targeted for institutionalization: Aboriginal people and people with disabilities. These stories will help those at the symposium to understand the way our state and government apparatus has operated to marginalize, oppress, and dehumanize despite their stated intention to support and educate.

This is the fifth symposium in a project titled, Teaching and Learning for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation, created by Seema Ahluwalia, who is co-organizing this year’s event with Dr. Fiona Whittington-Walsh (sociology, KPU) and Dr. Lisa Monchalin (criminology, KPU).  The event is sponsored by KPU’s department of sociology, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research: Community Learning and Engagement (CIR:CLE), the KPU Aboriginal Gathering Place, KPU faculty of academic and career advancement, and Coca Cola.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for more than 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 17,500 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


For information on the symposium, contact:
Seema Ahluwalia,
Department of Sociology, KPU
Tel: 604.599.2631

For more information about Kwantlen, contact: 
Joanne Saunders
Director, Marketing and Communications 
Tel: 604.599.2243