Canada’s rapidly growing communities of people of Indian descent are crucial to the economic, cultural, social, and political spheres of our province. British Columbia’s economy is fuelled, in part, by the trade and industry of our South Asian populations. In the Fraser Valley alone, we are fortunate to have the highest proportion of Indo-Canadian people of any metropolitan area in Canada.
Community leaders told us we needed a place to conduct urgent economic and social analysis to promote cooperation between our countries, and to advance international trade and development. We agreed, and in 2006, after three years of tireless campaigning in local communities, UFV officially opened the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies (CICS).
The Centre for Indo Canadian Studies is the University of the Fraser Valley's nexus point where scholars from UFV programs, Indo Canadian community members as well as groups from all sectors of the community, and international visitors, students and scholars from India/South Asia come together.
The Centre supports the development, maintenance and strengthening of linkages that lead to diverse experiences for students, faculty and community. The Centre also initiates and supports India Canada studies, programs and activities that promote the study of and engagement with the sub-continent and the Indo Canadian Diaspora.
The research arm of the Centre supports associates of UFV to undertake research in their special areas as well as responding to broader needs as they arise. The Centre is a hub and repository of the pioneering history of the Indo Canadian Diaspora while assisting in the development of much needed research that benefits members of the community, government and the many facets of academia.
The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies is a hub of information for people who want to do business with India and who want to understand the relationships and opportunities between our two countries. It enhances the economic contribution of the Indo-Canadian community in BC.
Research can have a powerful influence on government policy, dispel myths about immigrants and their contribution to the country, and tackle tough questions about the barriers experienced by visible minority people. This research benefits all Canadians. The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies will further research in the following areas:
• Opening new markets in India
• Transferring knowledge in information technology, media, biotechnology, and agriculture
• Preparing immigrants for the workplace
• Overcoming obstacles to growth
• Improving business opportunities
• Beginning urgent sociological and anthropological research
• Expanding cultural awareness
• Recording histories
• Fostering successful integration
• Exploring the role of the family and its affect on the workplace
• Opening debate on current issues
• Incorporating Indian themes into the curriculum
• Articulating courses, programs, and credentials
• Defining public policy
• Publishing data and research
• Providing research and exchange opportunities for students and faculty in India and Canada
Structure and Operations
UFV has created an advisory committee to provide general guidance for the ongoing activities of the Centre. The committee consists of the Associate Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, one internal scholar, a UFV student and members of the community. The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies also has a student association, the South Asian Peer Network Association, a group of dynamic and visionary students who organize fundraisers, Diwali events, Chai Time, and many other on-campus events.