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The Institute seeks to facilitate the development of attitudes that lead toward active engagement in society; it also aims to promote greater interaction between the University and the community and providing links between these two constituencies.
The Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University began in 1983 as a home for research, public programming and for the development of ideas concerning social issues. The Institute was one of the first such Institutes in Canada to pursue these goals. The mandate to build audiences for the humanities in the public sphere has been carried out along four broad interrelated themes: humanities and modernity; community education; cultural roots of violence and nonviolence; human rights and democratic development.
- Initiates, plans, and supports interdisciplinary programs, conferences, seminars, and research that bring together faculty in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, with each other and with members of the wider community, to discuss and study areas of common concern and social and intellectual significance.
- Encourages, facilitates, and participates in independent, multi-disciplinary research on a variety of themes and issues related to modern cultural studies.
- Works closely with the Department of Global Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in support of its teaching program.
- Establishes contacts with organizations and universities where similar programs and institutes exist.
Through these programs and initiatives, the Institute hopes to bring together the resources and expertise of the University and the interests and needs of groups in the wider community.