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New German cultural events webpage launched by UBC Okanagan’s Germanic Studies

UBC Okanagan Germanic Studies, in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, has launched a German Events webpage to promote campus-driven German events and celebrations to students, staff and the greater Okanagan community, which boasts a sizeable German population.

According to the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission’s 2008 Demographic Profile, approximately 24 per cent of Central Okanagan residents have German ancestry. Furthermore, the same report suggests German is the mother tongue for approximately five per cent of the Central Okanagan’s population, making it the second-most frequently used language in the region, after English.

“There is a large German community in the Okanagan and part of my job is to bring German culture to the forefront at UBC Okanagan and create opportunities for both the campus community and the larger community to explore the rich history and tradition of Germanic culture,” says Claude Desmarais, UBC Okanagan’s new Reichwald Professor in Germanic Studies.

Desmarais joined the UBC Okanagan faculty in July, thanks to support last year from Klaus and Lydia Reichwald of Kelowna that enabled the creation of a Professorship in Germanic Studies in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

“The German Events webpage is the first step towards this goal,” says Desmarais. “We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to actively learn about – and participate in – German events, lectures, film festivals and traditional holidays, whether they have German ancestry or just an interest in learning about a new culture.”

Some events featured on the new webpage include a German Mini-Film Festival on November 28 and 29, as well as a “Little German Christmas” on November 24. On November 12, the Reichwald Professorship is co-sponsoring, along with the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and Unit 6 of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, a discussion among experts about the global economic crisis from a Canadian/North American and German/European perspective.

To learn more visit www.ubc.ca/okanagan/critical/events/german.html

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