New institute zeros in on Europe

The newly opened Institute for European Studies in the Faculty of Graduate Studies aims to be a nerve centre for the study of Europe at UBC.

"The institute must reflect and take advantage of its distinct geographical position as a transitional space -- both physically and culturally -- between Europe and Asia," says acting director Sima Godfrey.

Next month, the institute will host its first international conference on technology in the workplace as well as help to bring the European Union Film Festival to Vancouver for the first time.

The conference, Transition to the Knowledge Society: Policies and Strategies for Individual Participation and Learning takes place Nov. 4 - 6 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.

It will address the impact of information and communications technology on the nature of work. Canadian and European academics, politicians and policy makers are expected to attend.

The film festival takes place Nov. 18- Dec. 5 at the Royal Bank Cinema in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and at Pacific Cinematheque downtown.

The festival will feature 10 recent subtitled films that have not yet been distributed in North America.

Many of the 30 interdisciplinary units in the Faculty of Graduate Studies are directly involved in research on Europe or comparative European and Canadian issues.

Godfrey says European concerns are also key components in all humanities and social sciences faculties including Law, Commerce and Business Administration and Education.

In its first year the institute plans to host a number of research seminars on questions that speak to the shared concerns and experiences of Canadians and Europeans.

Comparative federalism and the impact of globalization on national cultures and identities are among the possible themes.

One of the institute's longer-term projects is the creation of a master's program in European Studies. Students will spend at least one term at one of UBC's European partner universities.

For more information about the Institute of European Studies and its events check the Web site at