UFV students have gained a new avenue for studies and international opportunities thanks to the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an Indian university.
The MOU was signed between the University of the Fraser Valley and Punjabi University in Patiala, India, recently. It will see the universities work together on tasks such as developing diaspora studies programs and courses, exploring common research, and student exchanges.
“The MOU is to build academic, faculty, and student relationships that will provide reciprocal benefits to both universities, by way of exchanges, national conferences, joint publications, and student internships,” said Satwinder Bains, director of UFV’s centre for Indo-Canadian Studies. “We’re excited that students will have another avenue to explore international development, diaspora studies, transnational movements, and cultural studies.”
Punjabi University offers programs and research opportunities in science, engineering and technology, humanities, social sciences, performing arts, and sports.
“The university is the premier Punjabi-language university in India,” said Bains. “And it is a leader in language research as well as heritage and historical research.”
Focusing on areas of common interest, opportunities will include conferences, seminars, and lectures; faculty visits and faculty collaboration; student exchanges and international agreements; the exchange of publications and other materials of common interests, and the exploration of common research.
Some of the projects may also include access to online Punjabi courses, collaboration on the development of an exam centre for local Canadian students that study online, and collaboration on a summer intensive Punjabi language, religion and Diaspora Studies program.
Diaspora studies is a newly developing field that examines the historical and contemporary movements of peoples and the challenges of cultural identity that arise from these movements, as well as the creative possibilities that flow from such movement.
“As India becomes a world leader on the international stage, it becomes more and more relevant to build partnerships with diaspora communities, and with B.C. being home to one of largest Indian diasporas in the world, this is very relevant. Diaspora populations have a large economic and heritage impact on India, we’ve provided a new avenue of access to the diaspora in Canada,” says Bains.
On behalf of UFV, the MOU was signed by Bains and UFV president Mark Evered. Arvinder Chawla signed the agreement for Punjabi University.