Creating space for transformative conversations

About the Award

“There is something more important than information. Values are far more important, and it is by understanding common values that decisions are made. We come to understand values through dialogue.”

—Dr. Jack P. Blaney, President Emeritus, Simon Fraser University


History of the Award

The Jack P. Blaney Endowment Fund was established at Simon Fraser University in September 2000 by friends and colleagues to honour then-President Dr. Jack P. Blaney. Dr. Blaney’s leadership and vision were pivotal to the conception and building of the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, a unique physical space to convene dialogues on global issues and build consensus to resolve major conflicts. This international conference centre has helped to inspire a legacy of dialogue-based programming, both within the university and community-at-large.

The Endowment Fund supports the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue and provides operating expenses to fund the presentation of the award every second year. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize, international travel expenses for the recipient, an award presentation ceremony and acceptance speech, one or more public dialogue events organized by Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue in consultation with the award recipient, and related program costs. All award programming and events will normally occur in Vancouver, Canada.

What is Dialogue?

Dialogue is a concentrated conversation among equals. It offers helpful ways to work together cooperatively, encourages mutual understanding between diverse perspectives, and leads to stable, resilient outcomes.

Dialogue involves engaging in collaborative inquiry into a central topic. Productive dialogue is entered with a spirit of curiosity, an interest in continually learning from and with others, and a willingness to be changed. Instead of arguing, convincing and advocating for what one already knows, dialogue encourages one to enter a space of the unknown: exploring diverse experiences and values, as well as points of agreement and disagreement.