Intercultural Understanding

The University engages in reflection and action to build intercultural aptitudes, create a strong sense of inclusion, and enrich our intellectual and social life.

Stop. There beside you is another person. Meet [them]. This sort of encounter is the greatest event, the most vital experience of all.
Ryszard Kapuściński

We are one humanity and each deeply different. We may find no better place in which to embrace this paradox than the university.

Differences in values, circumstance, and intellectual viewpoint have incited humankind’s worst conflicts. Considered with respect, they afford great learning. Wholly embraced, they promise to be our greatest strength.

UBC welcomes responsibility for promoting intercultural understanding on its campuses. Working to build community in diversity, the University strives to increase access for all and particularly for historically disadvantaged groups.

UBC is a safe place for significant conversations across profound cultural difference. Positioned to engage a full range of local, national, and international experiences and perspectives, UBC collaborates to reduce conflict and generate sustainable solutions to the complex questions of our time.

Our task is to re-imagine what UBC is and whom it serves, and to recognize that the University’s foundation is strengthened as the walls between us come down.


  • Complete consultation on the Intercultural Strategic Plan
  • Expand learning opportunities encouraging cultural diversity, dialogue and debate
  • Promote effective inter-cultural professional development for faculty and staff
  • Establish intercultural understanding as a core leadership competency
  • Foster thought-leadership in the area of intercultural understanding and social sustainability


  • “Be More Than a Bystander”, a ground-breaking initiative with a goal to break the silence surrounding violence against women and girls by providing tools, language and practical ideas about how to be more than a bystander, how to speak up, and how to communicate that violence and abuse are not acceptable was launched by Access and Diversity
  • International Development students took a Brazil Field Study course allowing them to observe development work first hand and improve their intercultural competencies
  • UBC offers student directed and experiential learning in intercultural understanding through such programs as the Tandem Learning Exchange and the Community Learning Initiative


  • Remove barriers to greater diversity within the University, including those  faced by historically disadvantaged groups
    Improve processes and supports to achieve an excellent and diverse student, staff and faculty body
  • Enhance accessibility of the physical environment at UBC for people with disabilities
  • Expand opportunities to safely express opinions and converse on issues of cultural diversity at all levels of the university


  • The Equipment Accommodation Fund and Equity Enhancement Fund support educational and employment equity goals
  • Campus and Community Planning continues its multi-year program of access upgrades at the Vancouver Campus
  • The Okanagan campus continues its inclusive campus initiative
  • Student and academic programming continues to develop opportunities for safe expression on issues