New Asian Canadian Research Engagement Centre to be established at UBC

UBC is planning to establish a new Asian Canadian research centre.

Announced at the Board of Governors in late June, the Asian Canadian Research Engagement Centre (ACRE) intends to bring together resources to address the problem of anti-Asian racism.

This announcement follows UBC’s National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism in June. Through panels and discussions, the forum aimed to increase awareness of anti-Asian racism in Canada beyond the scope of violent incidents.

According to Dr. Henry Yu, history professor and Asian Canadian Community Engagement Initiative (ACCE) co-chair at UBC, the development of the ACRE will be based on existing work such as the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies (ACAM) program, the Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies and the ACCE.

Yu said he feels optimistic about the strategic planning for the ACRE because it will receive support from President Santa Ono and leaders from other universities across the country.

“There are already activities, there are already students who are committed, we don’t have to be going around convincing people that [addressing anti-Asian racism] is necessary,” said Yu. “Sometimes understanding a problem is already a part of looking for solutions.”

Since Ono made the commitment to building the ACRE, UBC has not yet confirmed the location or timeline of the centre as it is currently in the early stages of development, Yu said.

“I think there’s gonna be lots of consultations. I think there is some existing material that hopefully we can start to share,” said Yu. “But if we’re building a centre that’s also [based on] this broader goal of [a] community-engaged approach across the country, it’s gonna take us three to six months.”

According to Yu, UBC plans to have these consultations with ACAM faculty, ACCE Initiative Core Committee members and community organizations who were invited to the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism. The university also plans to make them stakeholders in the development of the ACRE.

Yu said he hopes that students will also be involved in work for the ACRE.

“The most impressive thing from the national forum, if you’re asking for a personal reaction … is to see the students … the younger voices. They were the stars,” said Yu. “What gives me optimism and hope from that national forum but also as we build ACRE … is that connectivity to our own students and future students.”