Pearson alum Yuen Pau Woo named to Canadian Senate


VICTORIA, B.C. — Pearson College UWC alumnus and recognized expert on Canada – Asia relations Yuen Pau Woo was named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an independent senator representing British Columbia.

The Vancouver-based Woo – former head of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and currently a consultant and academic -- was one of nine accomplished Canadians chosen using the federal government’s new merit-based process intended to reflect independence and diversity. Recommendations by the Prime Minister for Senate appointments are subject to confirmation by the Governor General.

“I am delighted to extend our sincere congratulations and best wishes to Pau as he embarks on his career as a senator,” said President and Head of College Désirée McGraw. “Pau attended Pearson on a scholarship – like the vast majority of our students – and that sends a powerful message about how the generous individuals and organizations that support global education through the UWC are making a positive difference in the world. Pau is one of more than 4,000 Pearson alumni who are living the UWC mission of making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”

Pearson College UWC ( is Canada’s most international school and one of 16 United World Colleges around the globe. With 160 students, rising to 180 students in 2017, from every province and territory in Canada and this year, nearly 80 nations around the world, the College opened in 1974 as a major, non-partisan legacy to its namesake, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

Woo said earlier that the cross-cultural Pearson experience helped him achieve, "a greater sensitivity towards people of other cultures and backgrounds, which translates directly into my current occupation - policy research on international relations in Asia, especially Canadian-Asian relations."

He added that he appreciated, “the high level of trust assigned to students and the opportunity for students to take responsibility in a wide range of academic and non-academic areas – as well as for making the connection that individuals, through personal or collective action, can make a difference.”

Woo, who graduated from Pearson in 1981, is married to Tricia McAvity, a fellow Year 6 graduate of the College, and together they have four children. Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, Woo first came to B.C. after being awarded a UWC scholarship that enabled him to attend the unique two-year, pre-university school located on Pedder Bay in Metchosin, southwest of Victoria.

Over three decades, Woo has worked on public policy issues across Canada, with an emphasis on relations with Asia, and has been a spokesperson for B.C. and Canada in the Asia Pacific. Currently Senior Fellow in public policy at the Asian Institute of Research at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Resident Fellow at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, he operates his own consulting firm and is president of HQ Vancouver, a public-private partnership established to promote British Columbia as a head office location for global firms.

Woo has also served as a member of many advisory councils, boards and committees, working on a variety of policy issues such as the standardization system, immigration and multiculturalism, economic policy, and Canada’s place in the world.






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