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Tina Chen and a group of women studying a photo as part of a gallery exhibit.

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (May 2019, Toronto). Artist: Tong Lam.

A commitment to community, collaboration and mentorship

Dr. Tina Mai Chen receives 2020 Campbell Outreach Award

November 10, 2020 — 

Dr. Tina Mai Chen, a Distinguished Professor and Head of the department of History in the Faculty of Arts is a recipient of the 2019-2020 University of Manitoba Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Campbell Outreach Award. Her outreach activities have positively impacted Manitobans for decades. She will receive this honour at the next Awards and Recognition Reception, which will be scheduled when it is safe to do so.

Headshot of Doctor Tina Mai Chen.

Dr. Tina Mai Chen

To mark the end of the term of Dr. Ralph Campbell as president of the U of M, his colleagues and friends established a trust fund to support the Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Campbell Award for meritorious service in outreach activities. The honour is given to University staff members who unquestionably demonstrate service that typically combines professional and scholarly experience with their personal commitment to the people and community around them.

“Dr. Chen’s commitment and dedication to Winnipeg’s Chinese community, her role as a public intellectual, and her commitment to anti-racism makes her a genuinely worthy recipient,” says nominator and colleague Dr. David Churchill.

Dr. Chen is a recognizable figure in the Winnipeg Chinese community as a historian, youth mentor, organizer and public voice. She has served on the Board of the Winnipeg Chinese Community and Cultural Centre since 2002, been a member or advisor on several committees including for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and Winnipeg’s Downtown Biz, to name a few, and has served as Ambassador General for Winnipeg’s internationally famous cultural festival, Folklorama.

“Dr. Chen’s involvement . . . is a clear illustration of the way that academics can help enhance the communities we live in,” Dr. David Churchill.

As a historian and researcher, Dr. Chen’s focus has been on the history of modern China. Dr. Churchill explains that her “scholarly expertise and deep understanding of the operation of racism, both past and present, has proven to be of critical importance” when acting as liaison between ethnocultural groups such as Manitoba’s Japanese, Filipino and Indigenous communities. He adds that her involvement in projects and issues, including the commemoration of the Nanjing Massacre, the 2009 centennial of Winnipeg’s Chinatown and more recently, community discussions of the racist and xenophobic reactions to the coronavirus pandemic, not only provide historical understanding to the greater community, but also are delivered with “sensitivity and care” and “a measured voice” that encourage cooperation and positive engagement.

Her past community service has been recognized before, having received the Community Champion Special Award, Canadian Race Relations Foundation Award, the YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award-Culture and a City of Winnipeg Community Service Award.

In his letter of support for Dr. Chen’s nomination, The Honourable Philip S. Lee, C.M., O.M., former Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, wrote that it has been a priority for Dr. Chen to “not only promote our unique culture but also to pay attention to our history and learn from it. She encourages those around her to collaborate to have a richer experience. Her leadership and guidance help shape (our) young adults to be engaged citizens.”

Dr. Chen inspires others with her passionate commitment to her community and her field. The University of Manitoba is proud to have such a dedicated volunteer, collaborator and mentor among its ranks.


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