Dr. Martha C. Piper’s statement on the attacks in France & Lebanon

To All Members of the UBC Community:

Yesterday we witnessed another in the series of bombings, shootings, and mutilations that have recently targeted people around the world for their values and beliefs. The killings in Paris were especially terrible in the toll they took of young people who were gunned down at six different sites throughout the city, including a concert hall and a restaurant.

The news was of great concern to us at UBC, since there are 100 UBC students presently on exchange in France, 14 of whom are known to be in Paris. Our Go Global office was quick to reach out to all of them, leaving word on how to make contact and asking them to let us know that they are safe. We have already heard back from all of those in Paris, and we will continue trying to make contact with the others throughout the weekend.

The shocking news of the terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday came only a day after the suicide bombings in Lebanon, where two UBC students are currently studying; we have contacted both of them, and thankfully they are safe. Such devastating events are a reminder of the political turmoil in many parts of the world today, brought close to home by the knowledge that students from UBC may find themselves in danger.

We have always taken the utmost care in preparing our students for their overseas experience, and despite the horrors of what the world has just witnessed, we believe that education, in all its forms, is the best antidote to senseless violence. We are even more committed to our mission of preparing our students to be exceptional global citizens by providing them with global learning experiences, so that they may better understand and continue to explore the larger world beyond our own shores.

Today our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France and Lebanon, especially the friends and families of the dead and injured victims of terrorism. Our student services and counsellors are also ready to assist in every way possible the students, faculty, and staff from France and Lebanon at UBC Vancouver and Okanagan. We sincerely hope that their families have been spared the effects of the violence in their home countries.

Martha C. Piper
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor