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As communications and transportation technologies have developed and global migration has intensified, people from varying cultural backgrounds have come to work and live side by side. However, the long-term vitality of international relations and civil society requires much more than merely coexisting in mutual tolerance. Through its activities the David Lam Centre draws on the strengths of diversity in the interest of forging ideals and goals shared across cultural horizons.
Since 1989 the David Lam Centre has remained committed to fostering intercultural dialogue through activities that extend across a broad spectrum of social, cultural and economic issues from both contemporary and historical perspectives. The Centre supports and facilitates research collaboration, networking and building the community of Asia-related scholars across campus and internationally. The Centre furthers the involvement of students in educating and researching the Asia-Pacific region. Lastly the Centre mobilizes and transfers knowledge from the academic research community to the Canadian public.
The David See Chai Lam Centre for International Communication was established in 1989 and commenced operations under the founding director, Professor Jan Walls. Funds for establishing the Centre were provided by then Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Dr. David See Chai Lam, and matching funds were provided by the Government of Canada. In agreement with the wishes of Dr. Lam, a sizable portion of the endowment was used to construct a suite of administrative offices at the Harbour Centre Campus of Simon Fraser University as a permanent home for the David Lam Centre.
The David Lam Centre has served as an active link between SFU and the wider community over the past two decades and has supported activities related to intercultural communication through the teaching of Korean, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese. It has also sponsored frequent academic and public events related to Asian art, literature, history, film and philosophy. Beyond this work the Centre has made its expertise and resources available in support of organizations that share an interest in fostering intercultural understanding.
The David Lam Centre continues to use its limited resources prudently to partner with units within SFU in support of academic conferences and symposia. The Centre is also open to working with community groups who provide opportunities for the general public to engage in cultural exchange and education and in substantive discussions of pressing issues.