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 created in 2009 in order to bring together exceptional PhD students from across UBC to facilitate collaborative, interdisciplinary research on global issues; to strengthen global networks; and to develop a community for research dissemination. The program has over 100 Alumni and approximately 100 current Scholars. Scholar profiles are listed on our website on the Connect page under “People.”

Liu Scholars have access to funding and support for student-driven collaborative activities with additional opportunities to develop networks and exchange knowledge with world-renowned visiting fellows, faculty and other scholars. This support can include small budgets, free access to facilities, and assistance from staff for marketing activities and research dissemination.

Since the program’s inception, Scholars have organized and received funding for almost 300 projects from field work, to interdisciplinary conferences, to research reading groups, to exhibits at the Liu Lobby Gallery.

Become a Liu Scholar

The Liu Scholar program relies primarily on volunteerism, cooperation, and a community spirit to sustain activities. Very importantly, this program is not primarily aiming to supply money for individual research, but rather to provide support for those wanting to work and learn in interdisciplinary teams. Scholars are admitted to the program for a maximum of five years or until graduation, whichever comes first after which time they become Liu Scholar Alumni.

If you are interested in becoming a Liu Scholar, please follow the process below:

Applications open in August each year and close on September 25th.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Current UBC doctoral student in any year from any discipline – preference will be given to students in the first and second years of their PhD

Selection Criteria

  • Academic Excellence
  • Potential for active contribution to the program
  • Alignment with Liu Institute research priorities: https://liu.arts.ubc.ca/research/. Preference will be given to action-oriented/policy relevant research

The 2016-2017 application period is now closed. Updated instructions and the form for the 2017-2018 application period will be posted in August 2017.

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

Jointly developed by the Liu Institute, the Institute of Asian Research, and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, this 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 two-year, full-time curriculum is a mix of classes, hands-on training and fieldwork, including a yearlong Global Policy Project with a real-world client.

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.

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

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

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

The Lind Initiative in U.S. Studies 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.


Feb 4, 2016: Reforming Canadian Elections

Apr 6, 2016: Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Apr 21, 2016: CIRDI at UBC


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

The Liu Institute for Global Issues and Green College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver offer the position of Liu Institute Visiting Fellow in Residence at Green College. The position offers the opportunity for one influential scholar, activist, artist, leader, or practitioner to locate at the Institute for a 4-month period 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.

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


The Visiting Fellow will be provided with accommodation in a studio room and a meal-plan at Green College for the duration of their 3-month stay. 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 $480 per month. The pricing of the meal plan is determined in late spring / early summer and is posted on the Green College website).

The Visiting Fellow can request funding to assist in facilitating activities at the Institute or College during their visit. Activities should support the interdisciplinary research and learning environment of both the Institute and the College, as well as the planned research of the Visiting Fellow.

The Visiting Fellow will also receive an 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;
  • Grant applications, retreats, conferences, and coauthoring workshops;
  • Connecting with policymakers and activists.

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

The offices of the Institute are fully equipped including a computer, standard software, connection to a network printer and the Internet, an email account, if needed, and a phone with voice-mail. Office space in the Institute is limited and the Visiting Fellow must use the Institute office as their primary office.

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

Acceptance to the Program will be based on your research fit with the 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.

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 April

Please send your CV and completed form by email to Andrea Reynolds: andrea.reynolds@ubc.ca