Skip To Main Content
Bodwell Founders receive Lifetime Achievement Award in International Education

We are pleased to announce that our school's founders Mr. Paul Yuen and Ms. Cathy Lee have received the BCCIE Award for International Education Lifetime Achievement, to recognize significant contributions to the field throughout their careers.

In his award acceptance speech on June 25, Mr. Yuen remarked, “We are passing the torch to several of our long serving staff and alumni. They now sit on the Board and the Management Committee and are almost ready to take over. Our only wish is that they won’t ever give up the dream, through international education with colleagues in this room, of building a more harmonious and inclusive world.”
 

Mr. Yuen's speech from the night:

It’s such a special bonus for us to receive this award at a time when we are planning to slow down, after 33 years in international education.

In Hong Kong, both Cathy and I were youth and community workers. Three years after we had landed as immigrants, we started Bodwell with all our savings of $300k. We were only hoping that the school could provide jobs for us to raise our family. But it has ended up a place where we find an identity in our new country and fulfill a very meaningful second career. We also enjoy meeting the world at the workplace every day.

We were very lucky to enter the industry at the best time, 1991, when the Cold War was just over, first with students from East Asia, then from Latin America, Mainland China, SE Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. We’ve survived the Asian financial crisis in 1997, 911 in 2001, SARS in 2003, the Wall Street crash in 2009, and COVID a couple of years ago. Some 20 years ago we bought a piece of land at the waterfront of North Vancouver and built our boarding school facilities for 600 students, a project we never imagined possible.

We wanted to bring young people from around the world to learn about and from each other and make lifelong friends. With 7,000 alumni around the globe, we did it. We believed that globalization would last forever, and the world would soon be one. Well, we were too optimistic. Perhaps, global convergence in the past three decades was only momentary and the normalcy of geopolitical contests has already returned. And we now need to maneuver sailing into the wind.

We are passing the torch to several of our long serving staff and alumni. Some of them are here tonight – Stephen, Housam, Janice, Shane, and Robyn. They now sit on the Board and the Management Committee and are almost ready to take over. Our only wish is that they won’t ever give up the dream, through international education with colleagues in this room, of building a more harmonious and inclusive world.

I would like to thank all Bodwell staff and ex-staff, many having shared the journey with us for decades! Without their trust and dedication, we could not have received the honor here tonight. I would like to thank our two children, one of them here tonight, for their patience with us having spent too much time in Bodwell when they were young. Finally, thank you to our colleagues in international education. You have always been our inspiration.

May BC international education thrive beyond any obstacles ahead!