Dr. John Wood, a long-standing colleague and friend to many in the UBC community died on November 23, 2022. John was a member of the Department of Political Science for 35 years, teaching and researching in the field of Comparative Politics, with specific interest and experience in the politics of India and South Asia. Educated at the University of Toronto (BA) and then Columbia University for his PhD, John’s travels to India began in the early 1960s.
Throughout his career, John played a key role in promoting scholarship on South Asia at UBC, across Canada, and in the region itself. At UBC, he was the founding Director of the Centre for India and South Asian Research, a core component of the Institute of Asia Research where in 2008, he became an Honorary Professor. At the national level, John was an executive member of the Canadian Asian Studies Association (South Asian Council), including as President from 1992-2004.
John’s life-long passion was his work in India, devoting his efforts to resolving the poverty and environmental problems of village communities. For over three decades, he was associated with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI), serving as Resident Director in New Delhi on three occasions and President of its Board of Directors from 1994-1996. John was instrumental in promoting academic collaboration between Indian and Canadian scholars and supporting the studies of Indian and Canadian students.
John was a devoted teacher who gave priority to his engagement and mentoring of students at all levels. He transmitted his love of India, its peoples, and cultures, through his teaching and research, leaving a legacy with colleagues and students of appreciation for the diverse and multicultural lives of South Asia.
Throughout his life, John participated in and served the broader community around him. As an undergraduate he taught literacy at Frontier College in Northern Manitoba and Newfoundland; he taught English in rural India with CUSO. He supported programs for new immigrants to Canada. For many years John was an active member of the Welshmen’s Choir. Among department colleagues, he will be missed as a loyal friend, a witty recontour, and an avid poker player.
UBC Political Science offers our condolences to John’s family, son Peter, and daughters Kate and Hilary, his sisters, and beloved grandchildren. A celebration of life will be in February 2023. Details to be announced.