03/22/2012 03:33 EDT | Updated 05/22/2012 05:12 EDT

University pays tribute to interned Japanese Canadian students during WWII

VANCOUVER - The University of B.C. is paying tribute to 76 Japanese Canadian students who were interned in 1942 by granting them with honorary degrees.

The effort is part of an Asian Studies program to recognize the contributions of Asians who were forced to leave their homes and possessions before being interned in various camps during the Second World War.

The program will highlight the contributions of the Japanese Canadian population and examine racism-fuelled events that included a federal government policy to remove people from their homes.

Professor Henry Yu, who is leading the community consultation part of the program, says students should learn about the events of 70 years ago through the lives of people who endured discrimination and those who stood against it.

Courses in history, literature and sociology will be included in the Asian Studies program.

It's slated to start in the fall of 2013.