Character Abbotsford Visits SASI

On January 11th, the Character Abbotsford Council members, and the public were welcomed to a tour of the South Asian Studies Institute led by Acting President Dr. James Mandigo.

Dr. Mandigo introduced Character Abbotsford to the work of SASI with great honour and respect. He expressed his personal gratitude to the SASI team for their hard work and dedication within the University as well as the community. During his presentation, he mentioned that majority of UFV’s international students come from two South Asian countries – number one is India and number two is Nepal. SASI is a place that holds space for South Asian students from across the world.

Director of SASI, Dr. Satwinder Bains led the presentation on the mission and impact of SASI over the last seventeen years (est. 2006)  including details about the diversity of research projects and initiatives of the Institute. She also informed the members on a brief history of the South Asian Canadian diaspora, its successes, and contributions. Following this, Digital Asset Archivist, Thamilini Jothilingam led a presentation on the South Asian Canadian Digital Archive (SACDA). She reported on the purpose and importance of the initiative along with information on some of the collections which have successfully been digitized and made available for public access on Assistant Digital Archivist, Alisa Sohi presented on the exhibit Marriages and Migration: A Transnational Story of BC, at the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple which she explained was curated through the support of the SACDA collections. She also highlighted archives from the ‘Sawmill Worker Stories’ and ‘Fraser Mills’ collections. Research Assistants: Kiara, Annshul, Pratham, Rashneet and Arnav’s research work for SASI and SACDA was showcased, with Annshul and Pratham presenting on behalf of the team of Student Research Assistants. The presentation concluded with Research Coordinator, Henna Mann announcing exciting news about two upcoming documentary series in development by SASI. ‘SACDA stories’ which will uncover the stories of historic South Asian Canadian individuals, family and/or organizations featured in the SACDA collections and ‘Preserving Heritage,’ which captures the behind-the-scenes process of digitizing archives.

Dr. Bains thanked Character Abbotsford for their keen interest in learning about SASI and gifted all the attendees A Social History of South Asians in British Columbia textbook along with other educational books to encourage them to continue learning and engaging with the important work of the Institute.

Following the successful presentation, Dr. Mandigo, the SASI Team and the Character Abbotsford members joined together for lunch. The lunchroom was filled with meaningful questions, engaging conversations and reflections of the work that has been produced by SASI.