Leonie Sandercock receives YWCA Women of Distinction Award

Leonie Sandercock

Leonie Sandercock, a professor in the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), has received a 2020 YWCA Women of Distinction Award. Now in their 37th year, the Women of Distinction Awards aim to honour extraordinary women leaders while also raising funds for YWCA programs and services.

Sandercock is the co-creator of SCARP’s Indigenous Community Planning program and a former director of the school. Focused primarily on “the uses of film … as a catalyst for Indigenous community development”, she co-developed the multi-award-winning Haida-language film Edge of the Knife to address three priorities identified by the Skidegate Haida community: language revitalization, protecting the lands and waters, and sustainable community economic development to keep youth on Haida Gwaii. 

Sandercock, who was recently named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, won the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Education, Training & Development category, which recognizes women who “[motivate] others to gain knowledge, set goals or seek opportunities” and who have “made a significant and sustained difference in Metro Vancouver … through practice, research or administration in a learning environment.”

Among Sandercock's other awards and honours are the UBC Applied Science Dean’s Medal of Distinction and the Distinguished Planning Educator Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Adelaide, a PhD in urban research from Australian National University and an MFA in screenwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sandercock's YWCA award citation reads:

Leonie Sandercock is a Professor of Community and Regional Planning at UBC, and her scholarship in community development and urban planning has had a profound impact on the discipline. For decades through books, film and education, Leonie has addressed diversity and difference in planning. Her documentary, Finding Our Way, served as a catalyst for facilitating reconciliation workshops in rural BC communities and workshops for high school teachers in the Vancouver School District. In 2012 she initiated a two-year Master's degree specialization in Indigenous Community Planning, designed and delivered in partnership with the Musqueam First Nation. It is the only program in North America to address the challenges facing Indigenous communities as a result of colonization and emphasizes community- and land-based learning and integrating Indigenous ways of knowing. 

The 2020 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards were announced on September 23 during a virtual event attended by over 800 guests and volunteers. 

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