UNA-Canada project officer to receive Alumni Excellence Award

August 5, 2015
Susan Down

Vivian Giang is teaching young Canadians how to be global citizens.

As Alberta project officer for the United Nations Association of Canada (UNA-Canada), Giang works tirelessly with youth across the province to enhance intercultural understanding.

“We bring the work of the UN back to the grass roots level,” she says. In a few short years since graduating from RRU’s Master of Arts in Professional Communication (MAPC) program in 2012, Giang established an impressive track record of achievement, earning her the 2015 Royal Roads Alumni Excellence Award.

“I’m very passionate about thinking globally and acting locally,” she says. “These programs bring youth from diverse backgrounds to a safe space, and it’s great to see them open up to each other.”

Demonstrating extraordinary drive and resourceful management skills, Giang works full-time at the University of Alberta’s Geotechnical Centre as a communications and grant strategist while simultaneously working part-time with UNA-Canada to create and manage special events and youth programs. Previous to her roles at the University of Alberta and UNA-Canada, she worked in communications and editorial positions for MacEwan University and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Giang credits RRU with giving her the skills to tackle challenging projects. “RRU really provided a great foundation for me to be a confident researcher and a versatile cross-cultural communicator,” she says. “In a very real sense, the world does come together at Royal Roads.” About the alumni award, she says, “It is a very humbling experience especially since there are so many amazing individuals at Royal Roads.”

Part of UNA-Canada’s mandate is educating people about the UN and its international projects and informing Canadians about issues such as diversity, citizenship and peace and security.  Giang implemented UNA-Canada’s three-year Multimedia and Multiculturalism program in Alberta that encourages youth to think critically about how the mainstream media influences their attitudes towards minority groups.

As part of the project, she developed outreach campaigns to include communities throughout Alberta and created a popular youth tool kit for educators and practitioners. Recruiting and collaborating with First Nations, educational institutions, ethnic communities and the media, Giang was able to engage young participants. “We used crowdmapping and storytelling through photos and videos,” she says. In 2015, Giang coordinated the Sport-in-a-Box/FIFA Football for Hope Program that created leadership opportunities for underprivileged youth.

Giang has truly lived the notion of diversity. Giang, who has Chinese heritage, has a varied educational background with credentials from Japan, Canada and Germany. She completed a certificate in Japanese language and culture at Kyushu Women’s University and then earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and professional writing from MacEwan University in Alberta. She studied communication sciences at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich before completing her MAPC at Royal Roads.

The Alumni Excellence Award from RRU is the latest in a series of accolades for Giang, who counts her son Nolan as one of her proudest achievements. The recipient of numerous scholarships, she was recognized as the student of the year by MacEwan’s Student Association. In 2013, she received the Chancellor’s Award from Royal Roads University for the highest academic performance in her degree program. Most recently, she was named as one of the Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.