Our Programs & Series

With our global focus and interdisciplinary approach, the Liu Institute for Global Issues is uniquely positioned to play an active role in a number of graduate and undergraduate programs on UBC’s Vancouver campus. The Liu Institute also plays host to various speakers series and events throughout the year.

The Liu Scholars program was first established in 2009 and seeks to bring together exceptional students who are interested in using their research and disciplinary expertise to work on public policy and global issues. Positioned within the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA), students admitted to the Liu Scholars program will be integrated into the network of faculty, research, and community engagement activities that exists within the school.

Become a Liu Scholar.

To apply to the Liu Scholar program, propose a project with a definite output (ie. a paper, op-ed, Liu Lobby Gallery exhibition) to be carried out in collaboration with, or under the mentorship of, a faculty member who is not currently your supervisor. Proposed projects should explicitly demonstrate relevance to public policy and global issues. Once accepted, you will be designated a Liu Scholar for one year. Upon production of the output at the end of the year, the scholar will receive $2000.

Eligibility Requirements

Current UBC doctoral students in any year from any discipline.

Selection Criteria

  • Academic Excellence
  • Quality of Proposal
  • Project relevance to public policy and global issues

Application Process

Thank you for your interest. Our call for applications to the 2018 Liu Scholars program has now closed.

For any additional questions regarding the program or application process, please email jaylene.olson@ubc.ca.

The Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs professional degree program equips policy makers and future leaders with multidisciplinary policy analysis and design skills, and subject-specific expertise in development, sustainability and global governance. The 20-month, full-time curriculum is a mix of classes, hands-on training and fieldwork, including a Global Policy Project with a real-world client. The program is designed to prepare students to deal with complex public policy challenges and drive meaningful change in the real world.

Learn more about the MPPGA program

The Policy Studio is closely associated with the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA). As a UBC-wide endeavor, engaging expertise from the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, it aims to bring multi-sectoral actors together and provide a clear process framework so that we can achieve tangible results.

The Policy Studio:
• Is public good oriented;
• Is solution oriented – emphasizing policy design, development and, most importantly, implementation;
• Enables knowledge mobilization and knowledge sharing;
• Has a global/international orientation;
• Encourages trans-disciplinary research; and,
• Uses strategic design methodology with a focus on policy design research, civic participation research, and the development of alternative methods of academic inquiry.

Resilient Cities Policy Challenge

The idea for a Resilient Cities Policy Challenge was born in Paris where the Director of the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Moura Quayle, and the Dean of Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs, Yann Algan, were discussing the respective Policy Studio and Policy Lab as places of learning and policy design at UBC and Sciences Po. Through the French Embassy in Canada’s Saint-Simon Initiative, the implementation of the idea was made possible. In addition, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s friendship gave the idea momentum. The policy challenge involved fifteen students — eight students from the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs program at UBC and seven students from the School of Public Affairs and the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po — who were integrated into teams to address issues facing three groups in Vancouver: youth, resettled refugees, and seniors. Learn more by downloading the digital version of the 2017 Resilient Cities Policy Challenge Ideabook.

Enhancing KMB@UBC

The Enhancing KMb@UBC is a project launched in 2016 and is now on its on its second research phase. It has involved studio sessions and case studies with UBC faculty and stakeholders from diverse groups including industry, government and civil society in Vancouver and Kelowna. This ongoing project is supported by UBC – VPRI and aims to co-create the set of services and programs that will allow UBC faculty and graduate students to maximize the impact of their research outside the academic realm. Learn more information and access its first report, Enhancing KMb @ UBC.

The Liu Institute for Global Issues in the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs invites applications from UBC students intending to undertake research on topics related to nuclear disarmament and global security.

Students selected will produce a research paper by May 1, 2019. They will also be expected to attend any seminars, workshops and other activities related to nuclear disarmament and global security organized by the Liu Institute for Global Issues or the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. Upon satisfactory production of the paper, undergraduate and graduate students will receive awards of $1,000 and $1,500 respectively.


All full-time UBC graduate students and undergraduate students of at least third year standing of all disciplines who meet the UBC Senate requirements for Awards, are eligible to apply. Multiple participants that represent a balance across disciplines, gender, and experience levels will be selected.

Application Process:

Applicants should submit a research proposal; a covering letter; a curriculum vitae; and a sample of the applicant’s prior work. An Application Form must also be submitted. Details on the application materials can be found below.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee headed by Professor M. V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, Liu Institute for Global Issues, as well as Professors Arjun Chowdhury (Political Science) and Paul Meyer (Simon Fraser University & The Simons Foundation). Awards are made on the recommendation of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, and in the case of graduate students, in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.


Applications must be received by October 20, 2018.

Successful applicants will be notified by November 5, 2018.

Research Proposal:

Applicants should identify a research project of interest that relates in some way to nuclear disarmament and/or global security. Sample topics include the 2017 Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, President Donald Trump’s call to create a space force, media coverage of the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, and how artists have responded to specific events in the nuclear age. The proposal should provide a well-defined research question, a brief overview of the relevant literature(s) on the topic, and a research design within 1000-1500 words. The research proposal should be prefaced by a short abstract of roughly 300 words summarizing the applicant’s initial understanding of the topic and its significance.

Covering Letter:

Applicants should provide a covering letter, not to exceed one (1) page, that, inter alia, describes their interest in nuclear disarmament and/or global security.

Curriculum Vitae:

Curriculum vitae should not exceed two (2) pages.

Sample of Prior Work:

Applicants should provide a sample of prior work; written work is not to exceed fifteen (15) pages; we welcome multimedia submissions (art or video projects, presentations, and so forth) at the applicants’ discretion.

Application Form:

An application form may be found here.

Contact for Questions:

Jaylene Olson, International Relations Program Manager and Advisor, Faculty of Arts, Liu Institute for Global Issues
Email jaylene.olson@ubc.ca

This undergraduate program examines global interactions among states, non-state actors, and economic and social structures and processes. The curriculum draws on insights and perspectives from many disciplines, including economics, history, political science, geography, anthropology, Asian studies and language studies. As an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Arts, you can apply for an IR major or declare an IR minor at the end of your second year of studies.

The Liu Institute has hosted the IR program and IR Student Association Executive Offices since 2013. Our IR Community Fund supports undergraduate-led activities that build community among IR students and align with the Liu Institute’s mandate.

Learn more about the IR program
Contact the IR program at irmajor.program (at) ubc.ca

Hosted by the Liu Institute since 2016, this inclusive, interdisciplinary program provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to learn more about Africa’s history and the fascinating cultural and linguistic diversity on the African continent. Combining a subject-specific major with a minor in African Studies offers excellent preparation for a career in international relations, development, global health, diplomacy or academia.

Learn more about the African Studies Minor program
Contact the African Studies Minor program

Hosted by the Liu Institute since 2016, this interdisciplinary program exposes undergraduate students to the languages, cultures, societies, political systems, geography and history of Latin American countries. As an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Arts, you can choose to major in Latin American Studies, or declare a minor that complements a major in one of several key disciplines covered by the program.

Learn more about the Latin American Studies program
Contact the Latin American Studies program at las.program (at) ubc.ca

The Phil Lind Initiative is an annual dialogue series hosted by the Liu Institute for Global Issues and made possible by a generous gift from Philip Lind (BA’66, LLD’02). Created to address the most urgent issues of our time, the initiative invites prominent American scholars, writers and intellectuals to UBC to conduct research and share ideas with students, faculty and the wider community. Each year focuses on a new theme.

Learn more about the Lind Initiative

The most enriching conversations often happen in informal, small-group, settings. For example, in Vancouver, the topic of conversation invariably turns to the “housing crisis”. However, while plenty of passionate opinions are shared, such conversations are often marred by the liberal use of uninformed opinions about exactly what the problem is, its causes, and the solutions. A more enlightening conversation would include key informed participants who can separate facts from opinions while engaging with alternate viewpoints. Seminars typically do not provide the opportunity to have the “back and forth” that is a critical piece of engaging conversations. The Liu Debates aim to fill this niche at UBC by hosting frequent events on a topic of current policy interest.

The Liu Debates format brings together a group of 20-25 people, by invitation only, with expertise in various aspects of the issue being discussed. One or two invitees moderates the conversation, with brief opening remarks then opening the floor for conversation. A moderator will ensure the smooth flow of conversation.

Rules of the game

  1. Chatham House Rules prevail, i.e., “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”
  2. Be critical. We want an engaging conversation with alternate viewpoints. Don’t be shy to express contrasting viewpoints.
  3. But be polite: Challenge the viewpoints, not the individuals.


April 6, 2018: “Prediction is Very Difficult, Especially if it’s about the Future”: Governing Artificial Intelligence.
Read the Liu Debates Summary on AI Governance here.


Mar 2, 2017: Should we label GMO foods? Read the GMO Debates summary here.


Feb 4, 2016: Reforming Canadian Elections

Apr 6, 2016: Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Apr 21, 2016: CIRDI at UBC

The Liu Institute for Global Issues and Green College at the University of British Columbia invite applications for the position of Liu Institute Visiting Fellow in Residence at Green College for the academic year 2018-19. The position offers the opportunity for one influential scholar, activist, artist, leader, or practitioner to locate at the Liu Institute for a 4-month period, either from September to December 2018 or January to April 2019 and to participate in the intellectual and social life of a graduate residential college with a mandate for interdisciplinary studies.  The position aims to facilitate problem-based interdisciplinary research on global issues.

For details on past Fellows, see: https://liu.arts.ubc.ca/connect/?people-filter=past-visiting-fellows#people.


The Liu Institute for Global Issues is an interdisciplinary research hub for emerging global issues in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA). The Liu Institute’s current areas of research are in sustainability, security, and social justice. The Liu Institute is particularly interested in emerging issues that affect large groups of people in different places and need concerted action and new knowledge to find solutions. The SPPGA leads the way in public policy research, innovation and learning. Researchers, policy makers and aspiring change makers come here to explore local and global issues, find policy solutions and change the world for the better.

Green College is a graduate residential college founded on the philosophy of “Ideas and Friendship.” The College is home to about 90 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows every year, along with visiting scholars, journalists, writers-in-residence, etc. The mandate of the College is to foster connections outside of traditional discipline-specific discourse. It does this primarily through public lectures and events designed to promote the free exchange of ideas, whether at formal talks in the Coach House, over long-table dinners in the Great Hall, or at fireside chats with leading academics and public figures.

The Visiting Fellow is expected to enhance UBC’s interdisciplinary research and learning environment by supporting Liu Scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows, and through involvement with Faculty and Faculty Associates, and with resident and non-resident members of Green College. The Visiting Fellow should expect to participate in Liu Institute and SPPGA events during their time at the Institute, as well as develop or participate in a research group, and to present their research in public talks both at the Institute and at Green College.


The Visiting Fellow will be provided with accommodation in a double room and a meal-plan which includes breakfast and dinner for five days a week at Green College for the duration of the 4-month stay. The College is situated on the edge of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, is close to the beaches and forest trails, and is just minutes from the centre of campus. Note: a partner may accompany the Visiting Fellow for the stay at Green College, but will need to cover the cost of their own meal-plan (approximately $500 incl. tax per month for the 4-month period – rates to be confirmed).

The Visiting Fellow will also receive a shared office and full access to meeting rooms, conference facilities, and staff support at the Institute. Among other things, the Institute can assist with:

  • Organizing interdisciplinary research groups;
  • Retreats, conferences, and coauthoring workshops;
  • Connecting with policymakers and activists.

The Liu Institute and Green College can also assist in promoting conferences, workshops and/or other activities that the Visiting Fellow undertakes.

The offices of the Liu Institute are equipped with a connection to a network printer and Internet. We expect the visitor to bring their own laptop. We can provide an email account, if needed, and a phone with voice-mail. Office space in the Liu Institute is limited so the Visiting Fellow must use the Liu Institute office as their primary office.

The Liu Institute is not able to pay salary, so the Visiting Fellow will need another source of income (such as sabbatical salary).


To apply, please email the following to Jaylene Olson (jaylene.olson@ubc.ca):

  • Current curriculum vitae (C.V.);
  • A 1-page explanation of why you would like to be associated with the Liu Institute (https://liu.arts.ubc.ca/) and Green College (greencollege.ubc.ca) and what you can offer to each;
  • A UBC Faculty member (Faculty, Postdoctoral, or Research Appointment) sponsor letter that includes details of your engagement on collaborative policy-relevant research with the sponsor; benefits to you, your career, and the Liu Institute and Green College; and the capacity in which the sponsor knows you;
  • One additional letter of reference;
  • An outline of planned research for your time as the Liu Institute Visiting Fellow in Residence at Green College.

The next deadline is March 1st for applications for the 2018/19 academic year.

Acceptance to the Program will be based on your research fit with the Liu Institute; your experience; and the ideas and engagement that you would bring to the Liu Institute and to Green College. All Visitors are required to submit a fellowship report at the completion of their visit.

For any questions, please email jaylene.olson@ubc.ca.

Visiting Fellow appointments are intended to help the Institute invite practitioners and academics in other institutions to conduct research, or be involved in other institute activities. No salary is paid by the Institute for these appointments.

The following applies to all visiting fellow appointments:

  1. The Visiting Fellow will have a shared office and full access to meeting rooms, conference facilities, and staff support at the Institute, as well as access to the UBC library.
  2. Conditions of acceptance are that you will:
  3. a)  submit a working paper (approx 6,000-10,000 words) to the Department’s Electronic Working Paper Series to be published subject to acceptance, before the completion of your visit or within one month of your departure, and;
    b)  be available to deliver a research seminar to our staff and PhD students (subject to term dates and other factors).
  4. If you are interested in applying, please complete all sections of the Visiting Fellow Form and submit a Faculty support letter from your Liu Faculty sponsor. The section, “Contribution to the Institute” is a space for you to summarise your teaching/research skills as they might apply to the Liu Institute.  Return the completed form and sponsor letter to the address at the bottom of this page along with your CV.
  5. Applications will be circulated to the Institute’s academic staff and are considered twice a year. You should receive a final response within six weeks of each of these dates:
    1st October
    1st March

Please send your CV and completed form by email to Jaylene Olson: jaylene.olson@ubc.ca.