Creating space for transformative conversations

Robert A. Daum

Fellow, Diversity & Innovation, SFU Centre for Dialogue

Dr. Robert A. Daum (PhD, UC Berkeley) is an educator, researcher/practitioner and consultant in cross-sector, intercultural, and interdisciplinary strategic planning, dialogue and engagement, conflict management, innovation, equity, diversity and inclusion.  A moderator and facilitator, he advises on strategic and operational complexities of, and collaborates in leading, institutional change initiatives for educational institutions, government and other organizations.

Robert is Fellow and Program Lead in Diversity and Innovation at Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, where he has been a Visiting Faculty member. He was Project Director on three phases of work for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. He also directed a public engagement project for the Government of British Columbia on the new Chinese Canadian Museum. In 2018 he collaborated in the design and facilitation of a professional development initiative to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in the Certificate Program in Dialogue & Civic Engagement for SFU Lifelong Learning’s Leadership and Community Building unit. Since December of 2016 he has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Laurier Institution, a national not-for-profit organization established in 1989. He has served on the inaugural Board of Directors of Reconciliation Canada since 2014.  At the British Columbia Institute of Technology he served as a Collaborator-Facilitator for “Diversity Circles,” led by a faculty-staff team under the sponsorship of the BCIT Faculty-Staff Association, with funding from BCIT’s first SSHRC award (Colleges and Communities Social Innovation Fund).

Dr. Daum has served as a consultant, project lead and/or moderator for two Canadian Crown agencies: the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. For the Museum he has led professional development workshops for interpreters, program developers and guides. As a Senior Consultant he collaborated with the Museum in developing (and moderated) the Museum’s signature Canada 150 national public series, “After the Apology,” in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Halifax. He is a member of the editorial board of the CRRF’s refereed  Directions Journal: Research and Policy in Canadian Race Relations. He led the CRRF’s inaugural national Youth Ambassadors initiative. In 2016 he collaborated with students and colleagues at several Canadian universities coast-to-coast in creating the CRRF’s annual Canada Lecture – Campus program, an annual national inter-university dialogue on racism and inclusion (2016 – 2018).

At the University of British Columbia Dr. Daum served as a member of the Steering Committee and of the Inclusion and Openness Working Group for the University’s new Strategic Plan.    As a consultant Dr. Daum has led projects for three different executive portfolios at UBC — Students, Equity and Inclusion, and External Relations. He has held appointments on committees for the Office of the President under two administrations, as well as for the Faculty of Arts. Examples of projects include a series of Community-University Engagement Dialogues designed with an interdisciplinary “innovation team” of students, faculty, staff and community members; the student consultation phase of a Board of Governors-mandated project (“UBC’s Engagement and Commitment to Student Diversity Initiative”);  inter-university national and international student dialogues; and intercultural and interdisciplinary initiatives like UBC Transcultural Leaders.  He has been a Faculty Associate of UBC’s Social Justice Centre (formerly the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice), and a Faculty Member of the Common Room at UBC’s Green College.

His research has been published and cited in leading scholarly journals and edited volumes. A Collaborator on three UBC-led, SSHRC-funded, interdisciplinary research projects, Dr. Daum has presented his research at academic and professional conferences, including delivering keynotes, in Canada, the United States, China, France, Spain, and Sweden. In 2018 he was a Visiting Faculty member at SFU for a second time, co-teaching with Prof. Diane Finegood and Prof. Mark Winston. Their 15-credit course, “Health & Wellness: Complex, Not Just Complicated,” was offered in SFU’s Semester in Dialogue Program.

From 2010 – 16 he was Honorary Associate Professor in UBC’s Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, where from 2002-2009 he was Diamond Chair in Jewish Law & Ethics.  As Advisor to UBC’s Office of the Vice-President, Students (2013 – 2016), Dr. Daum led Student Diversity Dialogue, a research-grounded series of pilot programs that engaged student diversity, fostered collaboration and dialogue skills, and provided mentorship opportunities for students across cultural, social, and disciplinary differences.

Other Public and Community Service

Dr. Daum co-convened (with Kory Wilson) the Intercultural and Civic Engagement Strategy Group for the City’s  Vancouver Immigration Partnership from its launch in 2014 until the submission of its strategic report to the Mayor’s Working Council on Immigration in 2016. In June of 2018 he emceed the City’s annual Immigration Summit under the auspices of the Mayor’s Working Group on Immigration, with a focus on poverty reduction for refugees and asylum-seekers. Dr. Daum was one of 12 Canadians appointed (in his case, as an academic delegate) to the first formal, bilateral national dialogue between the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus. He is a member of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD).