Creating space for transformative conversations

Annual Impact Report – 2019/2020

August 10, 2020

It has been an unprecedented year in our history, especially given the advent of COVID-19 and the need to pivot to a virtual environment. The growth in our staff team, dramatic increase in revenues and development of signature programs resulted in a resilience within the Centre that allowed us to step in fully and respond to the pandemic by supporting our communities and our partners.

With the support of SFU’s Strategic Initiative project funds and fee-for-service revenue we increased our staff team by eight and launched initiatives on equity, diversity and inclusion, decolonization, urban indigenous planning, democracy and transportation. We welcomed 18 new Dialogue Associates to the Centre and hosted hundreds of dialogues and public events while also supporting 47 students and alumni with work placements.

As we deepened our relationships in Metro Vancouver and British Columbia, we also broadened our reach across Canada, forging partnerships with groups committed to democratic engagement, advancing climate solutions and addressing reconciliation and decolonization.

Some highlights included:

  • Appointment of our first Indigenous Fellow, Ginger Gosnell-Meyers;
  • Delivery of three Semesters in Dialogue and the introduction of the Semester In program to support other faculties within SFU to deliver this unique cohort program;
  • Recognition of Fellow Merran Smith and the team at Clean Energy Canada with the SFU President’s Social Media Newsmaker of the Year for their extensive work in educating Canadians on the economic opportunities available through a clean energy transition;
  • Creation of the first known guide to equity in public engagement, Beyond Inclusion, developed through a participatory process with practitioners, researchers and people with lived experience from equityseeking communities;
  • Public launch of our Strengthening Democracy national poll profiling the need to address our growing democratic deficit through community connectedness and fostering of a stronger democratic culture;
  • Award of the Jack P. Blaney Award to Inuit leader and climate activist Siila Watt-Cloutier including week-long programming with Indigenous youth, Indigenous women leaders and SFU students.

These are just a few highlights among dozens of initiatives designed, developed and delivered by the Centre’s staff, Fellows, students and faculty. We are grateful for the privilege to work in an institution and a community that recognize that dialogue and engagement are core to fostering resilience. As we close out this year, we would like to acknowledge all of those – donors and partners, faculty and students, Fellows and staff and volunteers – who make the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue such a vibrant and innovative space to work, even as we have transitioned online.