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Robert Daum latest fellow named to SFU Centre for Dialogue

February 05, 2016
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By Justin Wong

Dialogue expert Robert Daum has been named a Fellow in Diversity and Innovation at the SFU Centre for Dialogue.

The fellowship will support his research at SFU and promote innovation and social sustainability through collaborative initiatives with diverse groups, project teams and organizations, including universities.

Many Canadian and international diversity initiatives focus on the important goal of “identity diversity.” Daum’s work builds on widespread research findings that indicate the potential added value of engaging identity and cognitive diversity in innovation.

Shauna Sylvester, executive director of the SFU Centre for Dialogue, says she is excited to have Daum join the centre as its newest fellow.

“Robert has an impressive background and a large, in-depth network within the academy and civil society,” says Sylvester. “I’ve followed his work at UBC and internationally and I’m thrilled that he has chosen to bring his vast skills and networks to SFU and to lead our work in diversity at the Centre for Dialogue.”

SFU President Andrew Petter says Daum will further support the University’s engaged vision.

“Daum brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience working with diverse communities,” says Petter. “His deep understanding and practice in dialogue will strengthen SFU’s commitment to community engagement.”

Daum’s research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In addition he is co-leading, with a UBC colleague, an international research consortium on intercultural creativity. It consists of nine interdisciplinary teams of researchers at 23 universities and colleges in nine countries. He is also collaborating on an inter-university dialogue involving students and faculty at universities in four provinces.

Daum says that dialogue is important for a city as diverse as Vancouver because it helps foster understanding by building on one another’s ideas, experiences, academic and other training.

“Dialogue is a tool for people trained in different ways of knowing to communicate with each other, allowing them to collaboratively address a problem,” he says.

In addition to his roles at SFU, Daum is a director of The Laurier Institution, a member of the inaugural board of directors of Reconciliation Canada, co-convenor with Kory Wilson of the Intercultural and Civic Engagement Strategy Group for the Vancouver Immigration Partnership, and an advisor on diversity issues to the Office of Vice-President, Students at UBC.

Daum says he is honoured and humbled by this opportunity and hopes to use his research to strengthen the capacity of university students and local communities to forge stronger ties and foster innovation.