Institutes & Centres

The UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs was founded by the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute of Asian Research. We’re also home to the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, the Office of Regional and International Community Engagement, and five regionally-focused Asian research centres.

Each of our SPPGA institutes and centres offers unique and interdisciplinary expertise, enriching programs, and knowledge exchange opportunities on public policy, global affairs, and community engagement.

We strive to create a dynamic and inclusive environment that encourages collaboration and a global mindset.


Institute for Asian Research

The Institute of Asian Research is the focal point for Asia-related policy and current affairs as well as interdisciplinary scholarship on contemporary Asia at the University of British Columbia.

Since its founding in 1978, the IAR has built a strong reputation as the premier Asia-focused research institute and think tank in Canada, serving as an active hub for research, teaching, policy support, and community engagement.

Located in the on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, the IAR is home to five interdisciplinary and regionally-focused research centres, as well as several related programs and initiatives.

The IAR is currently led by Director Kai Ostwald, Associate Professor with the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and the Department of Political Science.

Please contact Yoko Nagao, the IAR Project Manager, with inquiries about internal or external collaboration.


Liu Institute for Global Issues

The Liu Institute for Global Issues is an interdisciplinary research hub that aspires to influence academic and public debates about global issues, inform policy decisions, and become an important source of ideas, education, information and perspectives.

Founded in 1998, the Liu Institute for Global Issues is a core part of UBC’s vision to prepare students to become exceptional global citizens, promote the values of a civil and sustainable society, and conduct outstanding research to serve the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world.

The Liu Institute is currently led by Director M. V. Ramana, SPPGA Professor and Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security.


Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions

The Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI), led by Dr. Gerald Baier, Professor of Political Science, supports publicly engaged research, teaching and knowledge-sharing on democratic practices and institutions, with a focus on citizen engagement and participation, constitutional governance, and transitional regimes.

The Centre works with government and non-governmental organizations and brings together scholars, public officials, and students from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of academic disciplines.

Offered through CSDI, the Institute for Future Legislators (IFL) program, offered annually in July and August, provides hands-on training and mentoring for anyone with political aspirations seeking the practical experience and knowledge required to make a difference at the local, provincial, or federal level.


Office of Regional and International Community Engagement

The Office of Regional and International Community Engagement (ORICE), led by Director Tamara Baldwin, has a university-wide mandate, and is committed to addressing complex social and ecological challenges in collaboration with a network of community partners in Canada and around the world.

ORICE has specialized knowledge and a robust track record in experiential learning pedagogy and facilitation, with a core mandate of delivering cross-disciplinary academic and co-curricular programming, such as the International Service Learning (ISL) Program, regionally-based community engagement, and UBC courses that bring community partners and their current areas of focus into the classroom.

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