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Back to Pearson College as an Alumni-in-Residence

Many years ago, when I was still just a wee lad, I spent two incredible years living and studying in a rainforest on the coast of Vancouver Island with 200 other students from 80 countries around the world. Our  school was called Pearson College–or Lester B. Pearson United World College, to be more formal–one of 17 United World Colleges around the globe. It was at Pearson that I experienced many of the deep, abiding friendships and asked the complicated, existential questions that forged who I would become as an adult. 

The United World College mission statement reads, in part: “UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. In order to achieve a peaceful and sustainable future, the UWCs promote the following values:

  • International and intercultural understanding
  • Celebration of difference
  • Personal responsibility and integrity
  • Mutual responsibility and respect
  • Compassion and service
  • Respect for the environment
  • A sense of idealism
  • Personal challenge
  • Action and personal example

In such a difficult and challenging time in our shared global history, dialogue and understanding are more crucial than ever. It’s an honour to be heading back to Pearson for six weeks in February and March as one of three alumni-in-residence for 2017.

During my time back at the college, I’ll be facilitating writing workshops with students and community members, and exploring themes of identify, migration, home, belonging, and reconciliation through writing and reflection exercises. I’ll be pitching in with library service and supporting the work of the English faculty. I’ll also have the chance to work on revisions on the second draft of my novel, The Electric Boy, and hopefully get in many long walks through the mossy forest trails.

I’ll be posting updates on my experiences over the next few months on the Pearson Alumni-in-Residence blog. I’m grateful to Pearson College–and to the alumni engagement team in particular–for the opportunity to return and to give back to a place that has meant so much to me.

If you’re a Pearson alumni, stay tuned for an opportunity to be involved in a special alumni writing project.