Dr. Vivienne Poy’s Passage to Promise Land: Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada was launched at York University in Toronto recently.
The retired Senator told those in attendance that she was the first Asian in the Senate of Canada and that her new book features the stories of remarkable Chinese immigrant women to Canada.
“I called the book Passage to Promise Land because ‘Promise Land’ is the name I gave Canada. Immigrants coming here call it the land of promise,” she said. “Simply put, (the title) means immigration to Canada.”
Many of the people profiled in her book are from an older generation “like me and older,” she said. “I found that recording an oral history from them was a very effective way of relating their life stories in this book.”
Spanning more than six decades, Passage to Promise Land, examines Chinese immigration to Canada from after World War II to the present day. In doing so, Poy reveals the evolution of Canada’s immigration policy and captures the social, political and ethnic tensions of the time.
Martin Singer, Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, welcomed Poy and guests and declared that the book is a “tremendous contribution (to history)”.
He also explained that the cultural diversity of his faculty, in particular, and the university, in general, reflects the multiculturalism of Canada itself.
“The role we play in making our students engaged citizens, not only nationally, but globally, is a really sacred trust that we all take seriously,” said Singer.
Poy has been a benefactor of the university providing an award for students of Asian Studies to assist in their research. Philip Kelly, Director of the York Centre for Asian Research, announced that this year’s winner of the 2013 Vivienne Poy Research Award is Alyssa Brierley. While she was in Asia conducting her research, she was able to express her gratitude and explain her work in human rights issues in India in a video that was presented at the event.
Kelly also announced that Poy has created a permanent endowment for Asian studies at York with a donation which York matched to the Centre, to create an award in perpetuity. – Based on a York University News Release