Global leaders counsel Liu Centre on key issues

by Bruce Mason
Staff writer

Former World Bank president Robert McNamara and former United Nations environmental official Maurice Strong are among the distinguished advisers who recently attended the inaugural meeting of the International Advisory Council of UBC's Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues in Vancouver.

"Members of our International Advisory Council are aware that it is imperative that humankind understands the novel global phenomena now of a magnitude to threaten the well-being of the species," says UBC Law Prof. Ivan Head, director of the centre. Head previously served as senior policy adviser to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and as president of the International Development Research Centre.

The Liu Centre is designed to focus on the new generation of global issues now challenging societies and their governments worldwide, and to generate policy-relevant knowledge required by decision makers.

"The people who make up the council have first-hand global experience," says Head. "At the turn of the century, they understand the single most common characteristic of governments is uncertainty. Current human activity is now of such a volume and intensity that consequences are no longer predictable and policy alternatives are no longer so evident."

The role of the council is to inform the research agenda of Liu Centre scholars. Strong will chair the council.

Other members of the council who will participate in the meeting are: Philip Boname, president of Urbanics Consultants Ltd., Vancouver; Roderick Bryden, chairman and CEO, World Heart Corporation, Ottawa; former University of Toronto president John Evans, chair, Torstar Corporation; former minister of Finance Marc Lalonde, barrister and solicitor, Montreal; John MacDonald, co-founder, MacDonald-Dettwiler Corporation, Vancouver; former ambassador for Multilateral Trade Sylvia Ostry, chair, Institute for International Studies, University of Toronto; and former Science Council chair Stuart Smith, chair, National Round Table on the Environment and Economy.

"The Liu Centre draws on the university's strength in multidisciplinary studies and brings together faculty, distinguished visitors and students from around the world to examine urgent and complex global issues," says UBC President Martha Piper. "We look forward to the deliberations of the advisory council and the advice they will provide to us and to the community at large on these worldwide challenges."

"We also wish to recognize the outstanding support of Dr. Liou Jieh Jow and the Liu Foundation for providing the funds to establish the Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues," says Piper.

See also: Liu Centre built to be model of sustainability