Toronto sessions in association with:
Calgary sessions in association with:
The Department of Germanic, Slavic and East Asian Studies at The University of Calgary
Our "New Beginnings" projects work with senior students, young professionals, and the broader community to promote peace in Canada and internationally.
The “New Beginnings: Young Canadians’ Peace Dialogue on China and Tibet” (“New Beginnings”) was a two-city, two-year initiative that began in early 2012 and that concluded in Spring 2014. The project, made possible by the generous financial support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, sought to build trust between two communities whose young leaders are often strangers to one another. It also sought to foster a better understanding of Canadians’ multifaceted relationship with China and to identify practical ways of helping to contribute to the conditions in which all the people of China and their diasporic cousins in Canada can thrive.
By its end, “New Beginnings” had brought together almost 250 young Canadians ages 18-30 who self-identify as members of either the Han Chinese or ethnic Tibetan diasporas in a program that combined respectful, peace-focused dialogue with a collaborative service project demonstrating the participants’ strong Canadian commitment to global citizenship. The program was delivered in the Greater Toronto Area and in Calgary, where it was presented in cooperation with the York Centre for Asian Research and the Department of Linguistics, Languages and Culture at the University of Calgary, respectively. Toronto and Calgary were chosen because they both have significant Han Chinese and ethnic Tibetan communities.
A dynamic Steering Committee comprised of several young Canadian adults – half of them of ethnic Tibetan background, the other half of Han Chinese background – helped to shape and guide the project. Together, they drafted a common “Statement of Values” and made other rich and wise contributions to the delivery of the overall program. In virtually everything that was developed and presented, they achieved consensus through constructive dialogue, informed discussion, and mutual respect.
The participants of “New Beginnings” are continuing to engage in dialogue through a new group they have created, called CanEngage, which so far has raised $10,000 for Machik, a Canadian non-governmental organization, in support of Machik’s efforts to provide secondary education to rural teens living on the Tibetan Plateau.
"New Beginnings" Highlights:
Almost 250 participants attended 12 Large-Group Dialogue Sessions held in Toronto and Calgary.
Almost 180 participants attended 12 Small-Group Discussion Circles in Toronto and Calgary.
240 participants attended 3 community film screenings.
At the final Large-Group Dialogue Session, 85% of participants perceived trust between the two communities.
$10,000 was raised to help teenagers from Sichuan, China complete their secondary education.
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