Capilano Universe: Voluntourists and Voluntyrants

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

7:00 PM to 8:45 PM
Campus: Off Campus
Location: NVDPL Capilano Branch, 3045 Highland Blvd, North Vancouver
Contact: Leonard George
Phone: 604.986.1911 ext 2495
Website: Capilano Universe

The Capilano Universe speaker series features free presentations which are co-sponsored by Capilano University, North Vancouver District Public Library, North Vancouver City Library and West Vancouver Memorial Library. Early arrival is highly recommended.  All sessions will be hosted by Dr. Leonard George, except for January 17, hosted by Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani.


Voluntourists and Voluntyrants

International voluntourism (combining an exotic vacation with a bit of volunteering) is growing worldwide. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of people travelling as part of a voluntourist group increased by 46% (from 4.7 million people to 6.2 million people) according to one estimate. But in many cases, volunteering overseas can quickly turn into voluntyranny, when voluntourists end up doing more harm than good. Cam Sylvester has witnessed the best and the worst of voluntourism while heading up Capilano's Global Stewardship program over the last 8 years, and he will share his thoughts on how to make the best of voluntourism.


Cam Sylvester directs the Global Stewardship program at Capilano University. The program is designed to introduce students to the world of international non-governmental organizations (like Oxfam and Amnesty International) through volunteer work while they complete the first two years of their bachelor's degree. Cam also teaches Asian Politics and International relations in the Political Studies department at the University. He completed his BA in English and Philosophy at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and his MA in Government and International Relations at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. His research interests include the role of indigenous and foreign NGOs in Indochina. His other jobs have included teaching high school, serving as a political analyst on CBC television, writing and photographing for magazines, and handling dead chickens in a meat packing factory. He is married to Jeanne Mikita who teaches Geography at Capilano. They have two children - Shawn, 22, and Maggie, 17 - with whom they have travelled extensively.