Exploring Asian Heritage in Vancouver

Thursday May 6, 2021
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM


According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, heritage means features belonging to the culture of a particular society, such as traditions, languages, or buildings, that were created in the past and still have historical importance. Through a virtual panel conversation, we would like to explore the significance of Asian Heritage Month to Asian-Canadians today living in Vancouver. This virtual event will feature a moderator and four panelists who will respond to various pre-recorded audio, video, and written submissions from UBC and Vancouver community members who have self-recorded responses to a series of questions.


Jimmy Yan, Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society Board of Directors, Secretary

Jimmy joined Access Justice in 2003 and served as its System Architect, Project Manager, and Acting Executive Director prior to its merger with Pro Bono Law of BC. He’s a columnist and a regular media commentator on issues of public legal education and information. Jimmy has a B.Sc. degree in Computer Engineering and a M.Ed. in Law, Justice and Ethics. He’s also a Research Assistant of The Centre for Education, Law and Society in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, and a CELS educational advisor to the Chinese community.


Dr. Caroline Lo, UBC Lecturer in Social Justice

As a naturalised Canadian, Dr. Caroline Lo (she/her) was born, raised, and educated in Taiwan for the first 25 years of her life, and received her advanced degree in Business Administration (MBA) at Eastern Washington University (EWU) in the US. She then moved to Canada to pursue her second advanced degree in Ethics, Law, and Social Justice in the Faculty of Education at SFU in 2013, and later her PhD degree at UBC. She currently works as a lecturer teaching Social Justice at UBC while being involved in various research projects in literacy learning and education of special needs children.

Dr. Lo explores Chinese heritage maintenance in identity and language practice in BC. Findings illuminate perceptions shaped by migratory trajectory, immigrant generation, and embodied racialized identity. Her research enriches the theoretical discourse in heritage maintenance with language as a conceptual link between heritage and identity.

Sophia Diamonds, UBC Political Science student

Sophia (she/her) is a UBC Political Science student hailing from Vancouver, BC. She is Taiwanese-Canadian with family roots in Taichung, Taiwan. Her studies focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which influenced her to live in Jerusalem. There, she witnessed the ongoing political tensions — learning locally and without media bias. Improving the health of mothers, newborns, and their families (MNCH) is also one of her passions. She led a public awareness campaign and facilitated educational discussions with the Canadian public, including at events like Taiwanfest 18’. She enjoys running, skiing, and spending time with her family.

Olivia Lim, UBC Alumna

Olivia Lim (she/her) is a recent UBC graduate of Chinese Filipino and European descent currently working and living on the traditional, ancestral, and unceeded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh nations. She completed her BA in Honours in English with a minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies in 2020 and plans to begin graduate studies in English Literature in Fall of 2021. Her research interests center on critical race and critical disability studies, life writing, affect theory, embodiment studies, and Asian Canadian, Asian American, Filipinx, and Asian diasporic literatures and her current projects include research assistantships on transpacific literatures and Asian diasporic communities.

Arian Zand, UBC Alumnus

Arian Zand (he/him) recently graduated from UBC with an Honours degree in Political Science and International Relations. He is currently working as a Legislative Intern in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Immigrating to Canada from Iran at 18, Arian became fascinated with the relative diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism in democratic institutions in his new home. As an immigrant in Canada, Arian’s journey presented him with unique yet abundant opportunities to learn from his friends, classmates, and mentors from diverse cultural backgrounds. What’s more, educational and cultural events at the UBC Department of Asian Studies enabled him to expand his perspective by exposing him to the rich traditions of various Asian societies.

Arian’s academic, professional, and volunteer activities revolve around promoting diversity in political representation, cultivating trust in democratic institutions and fostering intercultural dialogue.

About the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS)

The VAHMS is a registered secular non-profit organization with year-round programming in the arts and culture scene. Their mission is to foster, promote and celebrate the arts and cultural diversity that Asian-Canadian communities bring to Canadian society.

Since 1996, VAHMS has worked closely with local Asian-Canadian communities and organizations that support their vision of becoming the main hub for celebrating Asian-Canadian arts and culture in the Metro-Vancouver area. Their signature project is explorASIAN, a Metro-Vancouver festival showcasing pan-Asian Canadian arts and culture during Asian Heritage Month in May. This year (2021) is the 25th anniversary of both VAHMS and explorASIAN.