Global Policy Project

MPPGA Students_FreeTheSlaves_GlobalPolicyProject_Ghana Small

The Global Policy Project (GP2) (PPGA 590), is a signature component of the professional Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) program delivered by UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA). In these intensive capstone projects, student teams consult directly with a client organization to address a real-world policy challenge. Students apply their interdisciplinary backgrounds, creative thinking, and analytical skills to propose solutions.

In 2020-2021, 25 students are working on seven projects in PPGA 590A (eight months) under the instruction of SPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes, and 13 students are involved in three projects in PPGA 590B (four months) under the instruction of Andrea Reimer, SPPGA Adjunct Professor of Practice, with partners from around the globe.

Canadian Armed Forces Implementing the Women Peace and Security Agenda
Client: Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security, Ottawa, Ontario
Students: Claudia Kobetitch, Muhialdin Bakini, Travis Liu
Faculty Lead: Erin Baines
Project Support: Ketty Anyeko, Liu Scholar and PhD student, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, UBC
Project Description: Assessing the role of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security in the Canadian Armed Forces approach to implementing UNSCR 1325 within its operations in Iraq.

Lax̱g̱alts’ap Climate Adaptation and Land Zoning Act
Client: Nisga'a Village Government of Lax̱g̱alts’ap
Students: Brayden Pelham, Victoria Ker, Stephen Patenaude, Erica Steele
Faculty Lead: Andrea Reimer
Project Description: Assessing the adaptation strategies that are available for Lax̱g̱alts’ap as they respond to sea-level rise along the Nass River.

Digital Trade and the Future of Canada-ASEAN Trade
Client: Canadian-ASEAN Business Council, Singapore
Students: Esther Ocheni, Edwin A. Edou, Shane Dial
Faculty Lead: Kai Ostwald
Project Description: Understanding the gaps that Canada's future ASEAN Free Trade Agreement can address through electronic commerce and digital trade to enhance competitiveness.

Land-Based Learning as a Wholistic Tool for the Tahltan Nation
Client: Tu’dese’cho Wholistic Indigenous Leadership Development Society (TWILD)
Students: Sumaiyyah Adam, Khushi Haranahalli, Lilian Shams-Amiri, Jessika Woroniak
Faculty Lead: Nadja Kunz
Project Description: Working with the Tahltan community to develop meaningful and relevant education policy for TWILD’s land-based education initiative that reflects the Tahltan priorities, values, and beliefs.

Prioritizing Threats to Canadian National Security
Client: Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Ottawa, Ontario
Students: Daniel Park, Easton Smith, Nicolas Jensen, Yahe Li
Faculty Lead: Julian Dierkes
Project Description: Improving the policy planning process at CSIS pertaining to the challenge of balancing priorities between short-term threats to life (e.g. terrorism), and long-term strategic threats (e.g. economic security) by developing a menu of prioritization options by studying how other governmental and private sector organizations balance competing priorities.

COVID-19, Socio-Economic Disparities, and Nepal's Back-to-School Model
Client: Open Learning Exchange Nepal (OLE), Nepal
Students: Boyd Hayes, Nabila Farid, Riya Sirkhell
Faculty Lead: Sara Shneiderman
Project Description: Assessing the opportunities and challenges particularly with regards to gender and socio-economic disparities that have emerged as the Nepal education system adapts to COVID-19 through a hybrid back-to-school model.

Freedom from Gender Based Violence in a Climate Crisis
Client: Global Justice Center (GJC), New York, New York
Students: Joshua Diemert, Sogol Ghattan, Paige Rumelt, and Gina Zuno
Faculty Lead: Erin Baines (supporting role)
Project Mentor: Ketty Anyeko, Liu Scholar and PhD student, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, UBC
Project Description: Determining the gaps in the Haitian legal and policy frameworks, which allow climate emergency events (eg. hurricanes) to heighten the risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

Climate Action Strategy: Coordinating Action on Squamish Nation Territory
Client: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation)
Faculty Lead: Andrea Reimer
Students: Kingsley EzeRemy HellsternNidhi SharmaClaire Ross

Decolonizing ‘The Vancouver Plan’
Client: City of Vancouver
Faculty Lead: Andrea Reimer
Students: Isabella PepeAlexander HowesMichael LawArchana Lakshmi Kousalya Rajendren

Sustainable Energy for Decentralized Food Processing
Client: SELCO Foundation
Faculty Lead: Matias Margulis
Students: Ziwei LuoGavin DaviesMatthew CollenbranderClinton Mix

Client: State of Vermont Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Faculty Lead: Andrea Reimer
Student: Hazel Brewster

Canada needs proactive climate change strategies now to avoid huge disaster bills later
By Victoria Ker, Stephen Patenaude, Brayden Pelham & Erica Steele
December 15, 2020
National Observer

Project Overview

GP2 is completed over the course of Year Two through a combination of lectures, Policy Studio sessions, and intensive stakeholder engagement. The project offers students an opportunity to apply methods and skills learned during the core courses taught during Year One. This includes policy research design, the strategic design process, and a variety of field research techniques.

Students will also regularly participate in a Policy Studio component throughout Year 2 to work on their Project. The Policy Studio is a flexible, visual learning space with a focus on collaborative experiences where students, faculty, and clients co-design experiments that integrate creative thinking with scientific methods in problem identification and analysis.

How it Works

  1. The MPPGA program identifies domestic and international clients through a rigorous selection process.
  2. Students work for an assigned client in a team under the guidance of a faculty member to complete each step of the Project.
  3. The client presents a specific policy challenge facing its organization, providing context to help students to understand and define the problem.
  4. To engage key stakeholders, international projects typically require a field visit in December to the client’s location. Please note that virtual fieldwork is being conducted for 2020-2021 Global Policy Projects.
  5. Collaborating closely with the client and faculty in class and the field, the student team analyzes the problem, gathers data, and works through possible solutions.
  6. Students deliver a report and a policy brief to their client. They also present their findings and policy recommendations in a symposium held at the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the end of Year Two.


We define clients as organizations engaged in activities that are significantly impacted by public policies. GP2 is an opportunity for students to understand the relationship between key stakeholders in the policy-making process and policy impact. Typically, they are organizations that work for stakeholders whose welfare depends significantly on state resources or regulations.

Clients may include:

  • An institution supporting or implementing development programs;
  • An interest group (trade union, associations etc);
  • A think tank;
  • An academic institution engaged in policy research;
  • A government department;
  • A multilateral institution; or,
  • A social enterprise.

Clients provide an opportunity to integrate learning from core courses and acquire further field-based policy experiences. The interaction with a client and their stakeholders offers a chance for MPPGA students to integrate the theoretical and conceptual knowledge into a significant policy project with ideally both a research and a practice focus. This prepares students to be both policy research analysts and policy practitioners.

"For their Global Policy Project, UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs students engaged for two consecutive years with the government of Ethiopia and the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) / Support to Ministry of Mines Project (SUMM), funded by Global Affairs Canada. The student team developed ‘A Roadmap for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in Ethiopia’s Mining Sector.’

The government and university partnership was built around co-design, co-delivery, and co-accountability. With the support of MPPGA students and professors, the project fostered innovation, collaboration, and inclusion that has reinforced the links between Canada and Ethiopia to create enabling conditions for the harmonious and sustainable development of the extractive sector.”
- Isabeau Vilandre, Esq., Director CIRDI-SUMM Project

It was a real pleasure to work with the UBC MPPGA students. We were deeply impressed by the quality of their report that was based on thorough research and contained sharp analysis, but also by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment for the project.”
- Alix Vuillemin Grendel, Senior Advocacy Adviser, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ)

I want to thank all of you, Tamara, Sanmini, Chengkun, and Andrés, and your faculty guides Professor Milind Kandlikar and Program Graduate Director Shashi Enarth, for choosing to do your MPPGA Capstone Project with us - Gram Gaurav Sanstha (GGS) and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies (RGICS). It was a learning experience for us too - the GGS team led by Jagdish and Sanjeev; and the RGICS team of Sanjeev, Jeet and Uzair.  Most importantly, I think due to your visit, we gathered enough momentum to meet the Rajasthan State authorities at different levels and I hope this year there will be many more water conservation structures coming up in the area with public funds.”
- Vijay Mahajan, GGS/RGICS, India

Kavi with students, Ghana

"The UBC MPPGA students demonstrated the utmost professionalism and dedication. The team developed an assessment tool that will allow FTS and its partners globally to assess the degree to which the communities they work in are resistant to various forms of slavery."
- Kavi Ramburn, Evaluation Manager, Free the Slaves

It was a pleasure working with the MPPGA students. Their interviews with senior business and government stakeholders across Canada and ASEAN helped uncover the Private Sector's mobility priorities. This improved understanding complements CABC’s efforts in advocating for closer economic ties.”
- Greg Ross, Executive Director, Canada-ASEAN Business Council

"The GP2 gives students the chance to learn country-specific knowledge while adapting to the local political and cultural contexts to resolve a policy problem. This provides them with a tangible policy experience to prepare for the workforce.”
- Shashi Enarth, former MPPGA Graduate Program Director

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