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Robert Anderson receives the 2018 Chris Dagg Award for International Impact

September 22, 2018

By Grace Hui

SFU communication professor Robert Anderson, an expert in international negotiation and dialogue, and conflict analysis, is the 2018 recipient of the Chris Dagg Award for International Impact. The annual award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of a staff or faculty member at Simon Fraser University who has made a profound contribution to sustainable international development on behalf of the university. This is the third time that a communication professor has received this award.

“I am honoured to be nominated for this award and chosen by my colleagues,” says Anderson. “I’m also happy that two others from the school have won it before me, professors Yuezhi Zhao and Peter Anderson. An added honour is that I knew Chris Dagg, and what a fine person he was.”

Anderson joined the SFU School of Communication in 1977. He was the first director of the Dialogue Institute in the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (2000-2004) and had the privilege of drawing together, with others, an international network called the Dialogue Associates. As part of a team, Anderson was responsible for initiating the Dialogue Institute’s foreign policy dialogues and the Afghanistan dialogues during the 2000s. He founded the “Devs-Group” at SFU in 2001, a cross-campus network of people interested in development and sustainability. And since 1999 he has been building a network of young environmentalists in Myanmar, and encouraging the formation of a graduate environmental studies program at the University of Yangon.

“The School of Communication is the kind of place where an average person like me could try new things, some of which might last longer than my retirement,” says Anderson. “I did not always conform to the expected role, but my colleagues still accepted my eccentricities and encouraged me in my international work. I like that it is an award for international impact. One is the kind of impact you desire, which sometimes takes years to see clearly. The other is impact you couldn’t foresee. I’m hoping I will see some of the impact at SFU that I desired. Dozens and dozens of students have taught me what I know. They have also challenged me to look around corners and turn some corners. I hope I have reciprocated. We have benefitted from a stream of internationally oriented students who constantly enlarged our horizons. “

This award honours the legacy of the late Chris Dagg. An exemplary internationalist, he was especially valued at SFU where he held a range of key international cooperation posts over 30 years that included directing major projects in China and Indonesia.