The Asian Studies Centre was established at the University of Manitoba with the mandate to stimulate and organize teaching and research on Asia. Faculty attached to the Asian Studies Centre offer instruction in the languages, histories and cultures of China, India and Japan. In addition, Asian specialists in other departments such as Anthropology, History, Sociology, and Religion offer Asia-related courses which can be used to obtain a minor or major in Asian Studies.
Combining an Asian Studies minor or major with a major or minor in other areas will be advantageous for Canadians since so much of Canada’s future economic development depends on its links with Asia. It can also be a significant asset within Canada due to the increasing numbers of people moving to Canada from Asian Countries. Both inside and outside Canada, there is a growing demand in many fields for people skilled in intercultural communications.
As Asian countries come into their own as global players, Canadians must prepare to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by these changes. More and more universities are recognizing the fact that Asian languages and cultures is a vital part of any liberal arts curriculum that aims at being global and contemporary. A brochure published by the Max Bell Foundation which provided initial funding for the Asian Studies Centre, states:
“There is an enormous amount to be done in orienting Canada’s young people to the Asian Pacific. All young Canadians should have a general knowledge of the area. Moreover, they should be made aware of the tremendous career advantages of combining professional skills with the knowledge of one or more or the Asian languages, some of which are as yet hardly taught in Canada.”