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Giving to prepare world citizens

With donor support, Western Libraries is creating spaces for global dialogue among students

August 30, 2013

Giving to prepare world citizens
A donor to Western Libraries, Alex Lau gives to the Global Library Space -- an initiative that will foster cross-cultural learning and collaborative study, and expand global perspectives for students.

As a university student, Alex Lau discovered how complex global issues can be – and he didn’t have to go far to learn that. He roomed with students from Israel and Palestine.

“We had amazing debates about the Middle East, and I quickly learned how important it is to listen and understand what’s going on in the world,” says Alex, who studied at the University of Toledo (Ohio) as an international student. “That experience opened my eyes to what it means to live in a global society.”

Today, as an investment advisor with TD Waterhouse, Alex is even more convinced that students need to gain a global perspective at university.

That is why Lau is donating to the Global Library Space (GLS) initiative through Western Libraries. The goal is to create learning, research and community spaces that reflect Western’s international student and faculty base. Each globally inspired space will include culturally themed sections where students can gather to study, collaborate and learn from each other.

The first of these spaces will be located in the Allyn & Betty Taylor Library, which will feature an Asian-themed area to showcase the rich heritage and history of the region. Members of the Asian community in London have already contributed more than $50,000 to the project, which represents just the first stage of reaching a wider audience for the initiative.

This kind of broad donor support is gratifying to Lau. “We go to libraries to find answers, to understand the world,” he says. “To have a library space where students from different countries can learn from each other will provide tremendous opportunities to expand their perspectives.”

Joyce Garnett, Western’s retired university librarian, agrees. The GLS areas will provide for more collaborative learning and research, and more cross-cultural dialogue.

“We’re talking about education that knows no boundaries and about future leaders who are poised for interaction anywhere in the world,” she says. “We must think and act globally when redefining our library spaces.”

To learn more about the Global Library Space initiative, contact Sherry Foster (Alumni & Development Officer, Western Libraries) at 519.661.2111, ext. 88078 or via email.

This article appeared in the 2013 edition of Annual Impact
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