East&West Dialogue: Transitioning from University to Career

Sisi Ye and Michelle Shi, from Ottawa and Toronto, respectively, both graduated from McGill University, and have stayed in Montreal to develop their career paths.  The two young, promising career women will come to our East&West Dialogue and share how they have evolved, their work-life balance, as well as feelings and experiences they have had throughout the journey.

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5 Poets Breaking into Song (#7)

George Elliott Clarke & East and West Learning Connections Present

5 Poets Breaking into Song (#7)

Live : 20 St. Joseph St. Toronto (ON), at the Canadian Music Centre. Near Wellesley&Yonge subway station

Saturday, Nov 19, 2022, 7-9  P.M.

Maximum in-person attendees: 50. Masking is required in the building.

Door will open at 6:30 P.M.  First come, first seated.

You can also watch the performance live on Youtube. 

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English Lecture on Ancient Chinese Culture| Ruan Ji: Extreme Eccentric or Champion of Justice?

The Wei-Jin period (220-420 AD) was one of the most chaotic in Chinese imperial history. This turbulent time nonetheless produced distinguished literati (mingshi) of formidable talent and charisma. In this talk, we focus on the figure of Ruan Ji ( 阮籍 , 210-263 AD) and try to understand the pressures that faced the literati of this period and the difficulties that underlay their sometimes eccentric responses.

Free online English event

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East&West Dialogue with Faith Fang and Christina Wang: Across Arts and Sciences

On Oct 14, East and West Learning Connections will host a dialogue with Faith and Christina, two college students whose experiences cross arts and sciences as their interests blend or co-exist. What is their actual experience pursuing their passions in diverse fields? What could it mean for younger students who are now looking for their own direction? Join us to hear and share.

 English dialogue with simultaneous interpreting in Chinese on Zoom.

Open for free to the public.  Everyone is welcome!

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EAWLC Outstanding Service Award Winners

East and West Learning Connections (EAWLC) is run by volunteers.  Without their talents, commitment, and hard work,  all the programs we have offered to the public just cannot possibly come into reality.  Every year at our Annual General Meeting, our Board chooses a number of winners to receive the EAWLC Outstanding Service Awards based on time commitment, task impact, and organization involvement in the previous year.  The award does not apply to board directors, advisors, or guest speakers, even though they are also volunteers to whom we are deeply grateful for their help.  Each year there will be friends generously donating some cool items so we can give the winners as a gift.  The winners are the representatives of all EAWLC volunteers who all come to help us with a giving heart for the community.  Thank you so much, members, volunteers, and donors, for your great support and contributions! 


2022 EAWLC Outstanding Service Award winners


Jovial Si

Jovial uses her language skills and literature background to assist the Organization with aspirations.  She co-hosted an in-person and two online poetry/music events with national poet laureate George Elliott Clarke that we held in collaboration with the League of Canadian Poets.  Well prepared with great commitment, Jovial’s elegant hosting manners impressed everyone at the events.  Despite her busy schedule as a freelance translater and interpreter, She volunteered to translate an article on our blog, My Reflection on Canada Day: An Immigrant’s Perspective, which triggered heated discussion among people of different heritages in Toronto.  Jovial also worked with CBC Music executive producer Kai Black and 3 other devoted EAWLC members to present indigenous history and music for the Kanata series of our Canada in Music project.


Helen Li

Helen always proactively shares her interesting knowledge and good ideas to support the Organization.  She led a mushroom hunting trip in a forest and hosted a Taste of Summer Herbs party in her backyard for members.  Helen is A frequent participant in our programs, sharing her LIFE EXPERIENCE IN DISCUSSIONS and contributing insightful thoughts as well as feedback.  She is currently working with 1coach Eleanor James to facilitate our Inter-personal Communications Coaching Hour program.


Erica Liu

Erica is a high school student who has been helping us design and update program posters.  She designs beautiful posters, but more impressively, Erica has always been on time, quick in action, and collaborated with other volunteers on the team very well.  She is a committed, very reliable young volunteer we are so proud of!


Roman Luo

Roman is a quiet doer.  He volunteered to help with the proposal writing to apply for the Indigenous Day celebration grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage and spent an intense week, day and night, researching, proposing, and writing a big portion of the application.  The hard work won our ever first government grant.  He and his wife, Rose, also worked diligently for the in-person celebration, from helping buy supplies, and dispatching a couple of hundred copies of flyers in the neighborhood door to door, to doing chores on the day.  So did they help with our first public exhibition at the International Day celebration held by the York Regional Police.


Prizes for 2022 winners


A memoir, Where Beauty Survived, donated by author George Elliott Clarke and Penguin Random House-Knoph Canada

A coaching package donated by May Li, owner of Thriving Coach & Consulting (http://www.thriving-consulting.com/)

 A decoration gift set donated by Annie & Michael Raines, Founders of Raines Design (https://michaelrainesinteriors.com/)

A complete collection of George Orwell novels in Chinese, Shanghai Translation Publishing House, donated by translator Shawn Chen



2021 EAWLC Outstanding Service Award Winners


Aimin Xu

Aimin has provided Zoom technical support for many of our events, including all of the English Conversation programs where breakout room discussions are a big part.  Whatever new functions we need to operate on Zoom, Aimin always offers to spend the time to learn and then apply.  She is also in the poster group and has designed numerous beautiful posters for us to circulate on WeChat platform.  She is actively participating in the programs we have organized and never hesitates to give insightful and frank feedback.


Judith Lawrence

Judith launches the English Conversation program and is leading a native English-speaking volunteer team to help immigrant participants practice social conversational skills as well as exchange life experiences and perspectives.  Twice a month, she manages these great initiatives that require a lot of researching, outreaching, and coordinating efforts.


Ping Xiao

Ping is devoted to helping us develop programs.  She uses her academic, social and  financial resources to find excellent experts to organize lectures for us.  It was through her effort that we came to know Professor Emma Gorst, and launched the monthly Western Classics Book Club which has been enthusiastically received by attendees.  She is also one of the organizers to organize a Book Talk program where avid readers meet twice a month to share the books they recommend and facilitate discussions.  Besides all this, Ping is helping us draft flyers, poster content, and circulate marketing materials to promote our events.


Xiayu Chen (Shirley Chen)

Shirley has been doing website and group mail updates, marketing materials content development, and poster design.  She is always quick to act, and brings her spirit of professionalism to the volunteer work.


Prizes for 2021 winners


A poetry book, Mirrors and Windows by Anna Yin

 A decoration gift set donated by Annie & Michael Raines, Founders of Raines Design (https://michaelrainesinteriors.com/)

A bottle of blue vegan wine donated by producer ToRefine Ltd

A coaching package donated by May Li, owner of Thriving Coach & Consulting (http://www.thriving-consulting.com/)


Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!


The East and West Learning Connections Board

EAWLC Sunday Book Club: Read Together, Chapter by Chapter

This online book club meets ALMOST every Sunday evening to read together books chapter by chapter. Book club members, who come from diverse backgrounds and live in different countries, take turns to present the chapter(s) they volunteer to lead the reading of, and facilitate the breakout room discussion that follows. We welcome you to join us and bring your unique life experience and perspective to the discussion, like everybody else! Continue reading “EAWLC Sunday Book Club: Read Together, Chapter by Chapter”

East&West Dialogue with Tony and Jane Preston: A Western Couple Met and Lived in Asia

East&West Dialogue is our monthly program where guest speakers of different cultural backgrounds come as volunteers and share their life stories, knowledge, thoughts, and have conversations with our audience. We hope this individual-level communication will promote mutual understanding among people of different heritages, and the experiences of guest speakers can help the audience, mostly but not limited to first-generation immigrants, to live in their new country with a bit more ease and grace. For that, we truly thank our guest speakers for their time, expertise, and warm hearts for immigrants!

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EAWLC stories: Kai Black and Canada in music 东西联学社嘉宾故事之 Kai Black与“音乐中的加拿大”

          Kai是我去年五六月间碰到的。那时我在上一门radio broadcasting的兴趣课,老师请了他来演讲。他在讲座最后播放了一个自己制作的广播小品,讲述小时候父母互不说话,父亲经常在家中放一首“让我走吧”的歌。长大后有一次和朋友去k歌,他唱了这一首,朋友们纷纷叫好。他第一次知道自己唱歌还不错,但其实也许只是因为这歌萦绕在他记忆里太深,让他太有感触而已。故事很短很简单,因为真实,在音乐中变得格外动人。Kai有视障,事业上倒并未受到多少影响,现在是加拿大广播公司CBC的音乐制片总监,开创了很多有影响力的节目和音乐节。他身边都是生龙活虎好手好脚的人,平时很少能接触到残障人士。有一天,他想到这个问题,就抓起电话打到CNIB(加拿大最大的盲人机构),了解其他盲人的生活和工作状态,看有什么可以帮忙的。后来他在CBC推动设立了CAPE项目,每年招收几名残障人才带薪实习,帮助他们积累工作经验。我当时并没有跟他交流,但印象深刻。Kai让我想起Tuesdays with Morrie这本书里的Morrie。他们都出身于有缺憾的家庭,缺少爱的环境,但并没有落入恶性循环,反而长成一个特别富于爱心的人。

         正是在这次对话中,Kai讲道CBC面对全国的学校发起Music Class Challenge项目,鼓励学生老师排演加拿大歌曲,参与竞赛,加强学校的音乐教育。这给了我灵感。我对音乐感兴趣,但不熟悉,对加拿大的音乐历史和现状就更加不了解。如果有机会接受音乐教育,加强对加拿大音乐和文化的了解,那就太好了。如果是免费的,对新移民来说就更好了。于是我提议Kai和我们合作,为移民社区开展一个音乐教育项目。他思考了一会儿,答应了,并且担当起总指挥的职责,找到相关资源,建议从原住民音乐开始。这个资源其实是对公众免费开放的,但如果不是他介绍,我们不会知道。Musicounts是加拿大录制艺术科学院以及最高音乐奖项Juno Awards旗下的音乐教育机构,网站提供大量优质的音乐教育资源。他们刚刚上线一个原住民主题板块,Kai当时正要和他们合作,在CBC制作相关节目。我们近水楼台先得月,搭上这趟特别列车。从去年10月开始,我们一起组织策划讲座,Kai和几位会员义工多次分别开会,确定内容,指导她们如何更好地呈现、演绎讲座。他还担纲主持,介绍并评论相关音乐作品,回答观众提问。以上这些工作,他和我们的会员一样,全是义务的。
         上周五,5月6号晚上,第一期终于开幕。整晚下来,怎么说呢,我被惊到了:原住民在加拿大的历史遭遇,人们的诉求与心声,音乐的种类、风格,获奖歌手Jeremy Dutcher把土著民谣融合进美声音乐的创新以及他美妙的歌喉……Kai、Lily和Agnes的分享、介绍和视频片段有机地结合在一起,交相辉映,张弛有度,强有力地抓住了我的心,让我不想错过每一个或感人或美妙的时刻;中间的5分钟休息和最后的开放环节里,大家通过提问互动,讨论了一些很有意思的问题。比如:Kai的孩子在听完原住民小孩被抢走、远离父母的故事后,吓得很长时间不敢自己睡,怕睡着了以后被什么人带走了。我们就此讨论了接受原住民历史教育的必要性,以及在什么年龄阶段接受这种教育比较好的问题;再比如非原住民在艺术创作中,如涉及原住民的艺术元素,该如何避免落入“文化侵权”这个当下比较敏感的领域,等等。总之,这样度过一个周五的夜晚太享受了。
         5月13号晚上,Kai和另外两位会员义工–胜男和Jovial将介绍另外几位当代原住民歌手的作品和相关历史文化;最后还将由原住民歌手Tara Williamson带领我们学唱她自己创作的歌谣。

         说到我们这几位会员义工,他们来自各行各业,有Richmond Hill一家Toastermasters Club的主席,有Markham 12年级的高中生,有Toronto的人力资源白领和口笔译的自由职业者。Kai对她们赞扬有加,说她们个个聪慧,都比他强。哈哈,东西联学社的会员们确实各具才能,又都热心公益,才会从天南海北自愿加入,走在一起为社区做点有意思的事,自己也乐在其中,比如做这个“音乐中的加拿大”系列节目,其实我也想跟Kai学两首,无奈被他拒绝参与他们单独的讨论和排演,他跟我说,如果我想要参与,只有等下次志愿者机会了。这让我又好奇又期待,想看到他们出品的节目是什么样的。事实证明,Kai是一个功力深厚的音乐制片人,一位良师益友;他对几位会员的表扬也绝非谬赞。