Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President

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A time to remember and recommit

November 08, 2018

It is easy to take for granted the entitlements we enjoy as Canadians – such as the right to vote, the freedom to practice our religion and culture, and the opportunity to gain an education.

Remembrance Day reminds us that these and other rights and freedoms were hard-won by generations before us, and calls upon us to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect them. 

Though we often associate Remembrance Day with the last century’s World Wars, the ideals fought for during those conflicts remain as relevant and important as ever today.

We need only look to the rise of nativism and autocracy in other countries to be reminded of the continuing threat posed by the forces of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

And in Canada, much work remains to repair the damage inflicted on Indigenous peoples by the residential school system and other vestiges of our colonialist past.

Which is why universities bear a greater responsibility than ever to serve as promoters of human rights, instruments of reconciliation, and conveners of informed and respectful dialogue.

At Simon Fraser University, we have acted upon that responsibility by committing to foster a culture of inclusion and mutual respect, to honour the history, culture and presence of Indigenous peoples, and to celebrate the diversity reflected amongst our students, staff, faculty, and the wider communities we serve.

This Remembrance Day, we dare not forget our predecessors who struggled and died to protect our freedoms. Let us honour them by renewing our commitment to protect the rights for which they fought, and by strengthening our determination to make further progress in advancing justice for all.