York to the Power of 50: New award supports Asian studies

Members of the York community recently gathered in York Lanes to announce the launch of the Vivienne Poy Asian Research Award, administered through the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR).

Starting in the fall of 2008, a student enrolled in the Graduate Diploma Program in Asian Studies will receive $1,500 to assist in fulfilling the 12-week fieldwork requirement for the program. The interdisciplinary program, managed by YCAR, is for graduate students who are looking to expand their research and knowledge in the field of Asian studies or the Asian diaspora.

Above: From left, Charles Demuynck, CEO Porteous World Music; Professor James Goulding, School of Social Sciences, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies; Nancy Siew, former president of Asian Heritage Month; Bassanio So, director, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office (Canada); Senator Vivienne Poy; Dr. Neville G. Poy; Dr. Ken Ng; Kay Li, President, Asian Heritage Month – Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario ) Inc. and research associate, York Centre for Asian Research

The award is funded by proceeds from the sale of a new book by Senator Vivienne Poy (née Lee). Titled Profit, Victory and Sharpness – The Lees of Hong Kong, the book features biographies of Poy’s father and grandfather. A prominent family in Hong Kong, the Lees are renowned for their extraordinary success in business and their contributions to public service. The book is part of a collection of stories published jointly by YCAR and the Hong Kong Institute of Education that documents the life of Hong Kong citizens living in Canada.

Poy asserts that Canada is falling behind other Western nations in its socio-economic ties with Asia. She recommends Canadian businesses and universities work independently toward improving relationships with their counterparts in Asia. “As China and India, in particular, grow in importance in the global economy, the York Centre for Asian Research can play a role in helping to educate politicians, policy makers, corporations and the public about Asia,” said Poy. “It can also help to develop university and civil society linkages with Asian countries that will prove invaluable in the future.”

Right: Poy (left) signs a copy of her book for Faculty of Arts Dean Robert Drummond

Peter Vandergeest, director of YCAR, explained the significance of having Poy lend her name to the award. “Senator Vivienne Poy’s book was particularly appropriate for developing this award, as the book is based on extensive research in Asia, and thus is a kind of model that students can look to for the significance of in-depth fieldwork based on understandings of Asia.”

Paul Marcus, York University Foundation president and CEO, expressed appreciation to Poy for her involvement with YCAR and for lending her name to the award.  “You are a wonderful role model for others: through your involvement in the senate, your former role as chancellor of the University of Toronto and for your many good deeds in the community.”

Also in attendance were Dr. Neville G. Poy (Vivienne’s husband and brother of former governor general Adrienne Clarkson); David Dewitt, AVP research, social sciences & humanities; Charles Demuynck, CEO, Porteous World Music; Cedric Ng, managing director, Bank of East Asia (Canada); Dr. Ken Ng, chairman, Federation of Chinese-Canadians in Markham and a member of the York Board of Governors; and Bassanio So, director, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Canada).

For more information about the award, contact Claire Horowitz, senior development officer, University research centres, at 416-650-8076, or visit the York University Foundation Web site.

Visit the York Centre for Asian Research Web site for more information about Asian studies at York University.