January 29, 2018 - 2:45pm
Annual week of events celebrates change-makers and allies in struggles for social justice
Every year, Vancouver Island University (VIU) hosts Global Citizens Week – a week filled with visiting speakers, films and campus events, including live music and classroom dialogues that explore issues of global development at home and abroad.
This year VIU is inviting students, staff and Nanaimo-area community members to explore the theme of Solidarity in Action. In issues of social justice, it is important for people to feel supported by allies in their struggle for equal rights and acknowledgement, said Darrell Harvey, VIU’s International Projects Coordinator.
“There are so many powerful examples of solidarity in action we want to explore throughout the week. It helps us start to think more about what we have in common than what divides us,” he said.
Formerly known as International Development Week, VIU changed the name to Global Citizens Week to include local issues in conversations about what being a global citizen truly means, and how we can take action on issues at both a local and global level, Harvey explained. It also more closely reflects VIU’s value of Global Citizenship.
This year there is a focus on showing solidarity with Indigenous communities. There are a variety of Indigenous-focused discussions occurring, as well as the All Nations Acoustic Reggae Symposium which features an acoustic showcase at Shq’aphthut, VIU’s Aboriginal Gathering Place, a panel discussion and more. The theme is exploring reggae as a global movement of hope and resistance. The roster includes Quebec-based Innu musician Shauit and Jamaican-Canadian Juno Award winner Mikey Dangerous, among others.
“Reggae is much more than a musical genre. It is a worldview, a culture and vehicle for social change and empowerment that resonates with communities around the world,” said Simon Schachner, VIU’s Intercultural Programs Coordinator. “We are presenting the symposium as another avenue for students to engage with the concept of global citizenship.”
The week’s keynote event takes place on Monday, February 5 at 1 pm. It is a documentary screening of Bending the Arc, about how a small group of people built a movement that changed the nature of global health care forever. Mark Brender, National Director of Partners in Health, will be here to participate in a post-film discussion.
“At Partners in Health, we believe strongly in solidarity – because the best things any of us can accomplish come from working together,” said Brender. “I’m looking forward to exploring issues of social justice and global health equity with such a deeply engaged community.”
For more details and a complete schedule, visit Global Citizens Week.
Learn more about VIU’s International programs here.
Aly Winks, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University