Thompson Rivers University

Creating Understanding: President’s Pride Parade Remarks

April 12, 2012

The first-ever Pride Parade in Kamloops was held on April 5, 2012 on the campus of Thompson Rivers University. It attracted upwards of 400 people from TRU and Kamloops communities.

President Alan Shaver spoke at the event about the importance of diversity to universities. His speech is below.

Pride Parade 2012 — 1

Welcome to Thompson Rivers University which stands in Secwepemul’ucw the traditional territory of the Secwepemul peoples.

I am often asked what a University is for. I believe the mission of a university is to create new knowledge and understanding about the universe and about the people in the universe, for the benefit of the people. Universities do this through their teaching and their creative and scholarly activities. To succeed at studying the universe we need a universally inclusive approach. The world may be getting smaller but it is not getting simpler. The challenges which our societies face, such as poverty, social inequality, peace and war are complex and global and they require a multidisciplinary and multicultural approach.

Therefore, we need to recruit the hearts and minds of all the people to work on the world’s toughest problems and we need to start now. We need to work together at understanding each other. We need to hear from people from different countries, races, creeds and backgrounds. We need to learn from their ideas, feelings, experiences and their dreams. We need diversity and we need to listen to diverse voices. This is how the students of today become the leaders of tomorrow. This is how we will learn to address the challenges the world faces.

It starts with tolerance of diversity but it is so much more. We need to respect diversity but there is still more. We need to include diversity. Then, we will start to understand. Then, we will fulfill our mission of creating new knowledge and understanding.

At TRU, tolerance leads to respect which leads to inclusion which creates understanding.

Diversity is not a favour, it is necessary for us to succeed. Today I welcome you all to this celebration of diversity.