Above: PNWCSC Annual General Meeting Participants
by Annie Banel, MPA Candidate, Evans School of Public Affairs; Canadian Studies Center Reporter
Lively discussion flowed between engaging presentations at this year’s Annual General Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium. The Consulate General of Canada graciously hosted the meeting on January 31, 2014.
The wide-ranging topics reflected the richness of Canadian Studies. Professor Graeme Wynn of the University of British Columbia gave the thought-provoking keynote talk, “‘What is Befalling the Earth?’ How Chief Seattle helped Pierre Trudeau understand Canada.” Don Alper, Professor and Director of the Border Policy Research Institute and Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, presented on Canada-US borderlands issues. Lunch with representatives from the Consulate provided attendees with insight into the Consulate’s work on clean energy initiatives, providing assistance to Canadians, fostering Canada-US business relationships, and more. Returning FLAS student Mandy Elder from Portland State University spoke on her time studying in Canada as a pivotal experience in her education.
A pedagogical panel on a Field Course to Northern British Columbia was equal parts academic discussion between colleagues and fond reminiscence between road trip buddies. In July 2013, six faculty members from across the University of Washington drove a van to visit Dr. Gary Wilson at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George for a round trip of 1,800 miles. Nadine Fabbi, Associate Director of the Canadian Studies Center, spoke on the pedagogical value of the time to bond and learn from each other in a way that simply does not happen anymore. Fabbi said that this type of experiential learning through travel, similar to the Task Force trip to Ottawa, leads to higher quality work and deeper thinking and is valuable for students and faculty alike. Other panel members echoed these sentiments and all were grateful to Dr. Moran McEachern for putting the trip together, convincing them to come, and for her skillful driving.
The energy from the Field Course panel transitioned into a discussion of the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium’s future and how to best direct efforts to build more mutual, nuanced, and thoughtful understanding between Canada and the US. To end a day of fruitful discussion, members enjoyed a dinner with traditional Acadian music from the Maritimes performed by Devon and Dejah Leger.
The Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium (PNWCSC) was organized in late 1986 and early 1987 with the mission to facilitate the development of Canadian Studies at institutions of higher education in the Pacific Northwest, and to enhance cooperation, joint programming, and information sharing among Canadian Studies programs and faculty in the Pacific region. The Canadian Studies Center serves as secretariat for the Consortium.