New Liu Centre to zero in on pressing global issues

The new generation of global issues now challenging societies and their governments worldwide will be the focus of the new Liu Centre for International Studies at UBC.

Recently approved by the university's Senate and Board of Governors, the centre and its academic program will enhance the abilities of researchers to delve into the many and unprecedented circumstances produced by globalization, including those associated with new trading and investment practices, environmental deterioration, migration patterns, and communicable diseases.

Academic programs begin Sept. 1.

"In addition to the global perspective that will be brought to bear, there will be a conscious endeavour to study issues and propose solutions that will be of use to governments and international organizations as they tackle unprecedented problems," said Prof. Ivan Head, who helped plan the centre's creation.

"Current knowledge is simply inadequate to devise wise policies and courses of action. The complexity of these problems demands the involvement of scholars from a wide range of disciplines," said Head.

The centre, which will be part of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, will draw on the expertise of more than 90 faculty members from across campus and particularly with the Institute for International Relations, the Centre for Human Settlements, the Sustainable Development Research Institute, and the South-North Studies Program. The centre will also collaborate closely with the University of Victoria and other institutions.

Prof. Olav Slaymaker, chair of the centre's Academic Steering Committee, said linkages with individuals and institutions outside the university will also play an important role.

The centre is seeking the participation of senior diplomats and officials now engaged with international organizations, and with the Canadian and other governments, through fellowships and other linkages. Ties to the business community will also be developed, Slaymaker said.

Master's and doctoral students and faculty associated with the centre will participate in a range of seminars and other scholarly activities enhanced by close interaction with Green College and St. John's College.