The Victoria Forum 2024
The Victoria Forum 2024 - Building Trust for a Shared Future

Anti-Asian Racism:

Root Causes and Potential Solutions


Anti-Asian Racism:

Root Causes & Potential Solutions

Date: June 24, 2021

According to Bloomberg, “last year, more anti-Asian hate crimes were reported to police in Vancouver… than in the top 10 most populous U.S. cities combined.” Anti-Asian attacks have spiked during recent months in North America, including deadly shootings such as that in Atlanta which left eight people dead. Racism and xenophobia against Asians in North America are not new phenomena; they date back to the nineteenth century. Anti-Asian sentiment may be both a cause and a consequence of social and economic rifts. The pandemic and the rise of China as a global power, however, are exacerbating these divides. To explore these challenges, the panel of distinguished speakers will address a number of questions including:

  1. What are the triggers behind the recent spike in anti-Asian racism?
  2. What cultural and social biases underlie anti-Asian racism? Does the “model minority” label contribute to strengthening biases against Asian communities?
  3. How does the global geopolitical situation impact anti-Asian racism in North America?
  4. What are the solutions?


Senator Yuen Pao Woo

Senate of Canada

Appointed to the Senate of Canada in November 2016, the Honourable Yuen Pau Woo sits as an independent representing British Columbia. He has been the Facilitator of the Independent Senators Group since 2017, and was re-elected for a second term in December 2019.

Senator Woo has worked on public policy issues related to Canada’s relations with Asian countries for more than 30 years. From 2005-2014, he was President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and on the Standing Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee. He is also Senior Fellow at Simon Fraser University’s Graduate School of Business, and at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and on the board of the Vancouver Academy of Music. He also serves on the Advisory Boards of the Mosaic Institute, the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, and the York Centre for Asian Research.

Senator Woo has been a member of the following Senate Standing Committees: Foreign Affairs and International Trade; National Finance; Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources; Selection; Transport and Communications; and Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament.


Dr. David Thomas

University of Victoria

David C. Thomas (PhD University of South Carolina) is a Professor in the Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria and Professor Emeritus of International Management at Simon Fraser University.

He is the author of more than a dozen books including (with Kerr Inkson) the bestselling Cultural Intelligence, Berrett-Koehler Publishers. His book Cross-Cultural Management: Essential Concepts (Sage Publications) was the winner of the R. Wayne Pace Human Resource Development book of the year award for 2008. His most recent book (with Yuan Liao) Cultural Intelligence in the World of Work: Past, Present, Future (Springer International AG, 2020) is a comprehensive review of the literature on cultural intelligence. His research on cross-cultural interactions in organizational settings has appeared in the leading journals in the field. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management.

Dr. Thomas’ previous academic postings have included positions at the Australian Graduate School of Management, the Pennsylvania State University and The University of Auckland, New Zealand. He has held visiting positions at Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hawaii, Massey University, New Zealand, and ESCEM, Tours, France. Dr. Thomas has consulted on cultural diversity issues with numerous organizations including Tech Resources, Rio Tinto Group, Sun Microsystems, the Canadian Police College, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Correctional Service Canada.

Dr. Xiaobei Chen

Carleton University

Xiaobei Chen is Professor of Sociology and Associate Chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. She is Past-President of the Canadian Sociological Association (2021-2022). Her research and teaching interests include: sociology of childhood and youth, governance and power, citizenship, racism, colonialism, citizenship, the Chinese diaspora, and Buddhist social thought. Her latest book is a co-edited volume The Sociology of Childhood and Youth in Canada. Her current research and community engagement are around anti-Chinese, anti-Asian racism associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Queenie Choo

CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Queenie immigrated to Canada in 1980 after completing her nursing studies in the UK. Since making Canada her home, Queenie has held many senior leadership positions in various large-scale organizations.

In 2012 Queenie was appointed as CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S, one of the largest non-profit social service organizations in Canada. She has a unique ability to blend a rigorous and results-oriented approach with a genuine sensitivity to people. Under her leadership, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is an active advocate for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Queenie has been appointed to many related committees including the Canadian Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force Pacific Advisory Council on Diversity; the RCMP Commanding Officer’s Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Board; In addition, Queenie has been invited by various media and government led roundtables, speaking strongly against racism and hate crime and ways to pursue a safe and inclusive community.

Queenie was a nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Excellence in Nursing Administration Award and the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award. In 2016, she was recognized by BC Business as one of BC’s 35 most influential women. In 2018, Queenie was awarded as the Power50 by the Vancouver Magazine. Queenie is also the first Chinese Canadian woman who is bestowed as Hononary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy.

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