Cape Breton University is honoured to celebrate the accomplishments of Brian Evans, an international and well-respected leader, esteemed scholar and a strong proponent of cross-cultural relations, particularly of Canada-China relations.
Brian Evans was born and raised in Taber, Alberta. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Alberta and a Ph. D. in history from the University of London which focused on the history of China.
He enjoyed a stellar academic career at the University of Alberta, where he taught from 1961-1996. During this period, he also held the roles of Chair of the Department of History, Associate Dean of Arts, Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures and, finally, Associate Vice-President Academic (International Affairs). In the early seventies, Dr. Evans took a leave of absence and served at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, China, as Cultural Counsellor.
China-Canada relations are a passion of Dr. Evans. His research and teaching areas included modern Chinese history, Canada-China relations, and The Chinese in Canada. For over 40 years, Dr. Evans has been publishing his research on these areas. He has been widely published in both Canada and China, in English and Chinese. His current activities include research into Chinese pioneers and developing a book on growing up Chinese in Alberta. As a lecturer, Dr. Evans has made presentations at prestigious universities all over the world, including Harvard, Beijing University, and others in Canada, Korea, Thailand and China.
Dr. Evans has a keen interest in Cape Breton University’s relationship with China and the growing number of Chinese students who attend CBU. He has been a great friend to the University for a number of years and continues to lend his expertise.
The many accomplishments of Dr. Evans’ career have been widely recognized. He was named a member of the Order of Canada (2001), is the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2002) and an Alberta Centennial Medal (2005) and has been named an Honorary Research Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
To quote the citation for the Order of Canada, Dr. Evans is “A university administrator, a respected scholar on East Asian studies and a great humanitarian, he has worked toward a better understanding among the world’s peoples.” Aside from his teaching responsibilities and research, Dr. Evans has been appointed to numerous international delegations and committees and continues to offer his support to community and world organizations.
Since retiring in 1996, Dr. Evans has not slowed down. He makes annual visits to universities in China and continues to attend conferences on world civilizations and Canadian studies. He is also the curator of an exhibition entitled The Other Side of Gold Mountain, about the early Chinese pioneers on the Prairies, which opens at the University of Alberta in June.
Cape Breton University conferred the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a man who has a passion for the study of China, is an authority on international relations and who is a great friend of Cape Breton University, Brian Llewellyn Evans.