B.C. readies for arrival of Syrian refugees

Global BC Mon Nov 23 2015 By: Jon Azpiri

Thousands of Syrian refugees are expected to settle in B.C.

UBC geography professor Dan Hiebert says traditionally refugees have been sent to the big cities, because they have extensive support networks, but there have also been a few attempts to send refugees to more mid-level or smaller cities.

“They have two models to choose from and we’ll see what they do,” Hiebert said.

Who is part of Canada’s cultural mosaic?

Georgia Straight Mon Nov 23 2015 By: Mabel Ho

Mabel Ho, a sociology PhD student at UBC, discusses her research on the experiences of individuals with different ethnic backgrounds in Canada. Most of her subjects felt that they were part of Canada’s cultural mosaic but others felt that they were being stereotyped and had to prove they were Canadian.

“Trudeau reminds us that this nation was built on values that include acceptance. However, it is more important to express these values in our actions,” Ho wrote in a Straight op-ed.

Canadian democracy needs an overhaul Tue Nov 24 2015 By: Voices-Voix

Veronica Strong-Boag, a professor emerita with UBC’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice is one of the signatories in an iPolitics article calling for substantive reforms in Parliament.

The article called for a number of changes including an end to interference with ombudspersons and officers of Parliament, targeted surveillance of advocates, heightened scrutiny of progressive charities and punitive laws on public safety, environmental protection, and other areas.

The future of free trade in Asia-Pacific: China’s Eurasian dilemma

Forbes Tue Nov 24 2015 By: Trevor Kennedy, David Yin

In a joint op-ed with Forbes writer David Yin, UBC masters student Trevor Kennedy examines free trade agreements involving China and the Asia Pacific region in general.

China last week signaled a fairly important change in foreign policy by formally starting to pursue the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a free trade agreement among members of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group.

This shift happens amidst other initiatives that could affect China such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an ASEAN+6 initiative that would exclude Russia and the Americas, and a pan-Eurasian free trade zone proposed by Russia.

Kennedy and Yin believe that while both the Russian proposal and RCEP are important, China is better served by focusing on the FTAAP.

Syrian refugees: Why the freakout?

Discovery News Mon Nov 23 2015 By: Emily Sohn

Fear of foreigners often spikes when people feel threatened in the context of war, terrorism and other factors, suggests UBC psychologist Mark Schaller.

“When people feel more vulnerable to physical harm, they are likely to be more prejudiced against people who seem to be ‘one of them’ rather than ‘one of us,'” said Schaller, commenting on fear and worries over Syrian refugee settlement in the United States.

Canada’s Syrian refugee plan: What we know and don’t know

CBC News Tue Nov 24 2015

The federal government is expected today to announce details of its plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the year’s end.

As to where the refugees will live once they’re here, it’s likely they’ll end up in major cities across the country, according to UBC geography Dan Hiebert. But he also said: “We don’t yet know what [the government’s] geographical strategy is going to look like.”

Multiple phase screening process for Syrian refugees

News 1130 Sun Nov 22 2015 By: Kenny Mason

Syrian refugees go through a multiple-phase screening process before they’re resettled in Canada, UBC geography professor Dan Hiebert explained in a News 1130 article.

Overseas, screening is done by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, after which a recommendation is made to Canada for resettlement of that person in Canada. Once the refugees are in Canada, they will be vetted by CSIS and the RCMP.

N.W.T.’s Dechinta learning centre partners with UBC

CBC News Sat Nov 21 2015

UBC professor Glen Coulthard spending half his teaching time at Dechinta, a N.W.T. learning centre located near Yellowknife as part of a new Dechinta-UBC partnership. Dechinta offers a mix of academic lectures and traditional aboriginal practices. The plan is for Dechinta to establish an accreditation for students from the North who want to get credits transferred to UBC. A similar article appeared on Yahoo.

What’s the point of Vancouver?

Maclean's Sun Nov 22 2015 By: Chris Sorensen

Vancouver is at risk of becoming a resort city if sky-high real estate values push out industries as well as management and professional talent and their families, according to a Macleans article.

UBC geography professor David Ley notes that much industrial land has already been lost in Vancouver since 1970. False Creek was one of the early cases of conversion of industrial land to housing. If property prices continue to rise, the city might turn over waterfront lands in East Vancouver to residential use, Ley said.

Gift giving as a remedy for the holiday blues

Psychology Today Fri Nov 20 2015 By: Steven Schlozman

Gift giving makes people happy and could actually be a good way to overcome the holiday blues, according to a new article in Psychology Today. The author described a Harvard-UBC study that assessed individuals who both gave and received money. The researchers found that those who gave were happier, and that they were happier for a longer period of time.

The researchers also discovered that among employees who received bonuses, those who donated some of their bonus money to charity were happier.

VR brings fresh perspective to journalism

The Guardian Sun Nov 22 2015 By: Ben Cardew

A new Guardian article questions the use of virtual reality (VR) tools to deliver immersive journalism.

Some critics say VR can confuse the audience about the authorship and authenticity of the information.

“The pretence of VR is seeing something that actually happened as opposed to something obviously constructed, so authorship is more blurred,” notes Taylor Owen, assistant professor of digital media and global affairs at UBC. “[VR] is a highly constructed environment but the pretence to the viewer is that it isn’t.”

Keeping Syrians out is a victory for terrorism

The Globe and Mail Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Peter Klein

Those who want to deny refuge to Syrians are giving Islamic terrorists another victory, UBC journalism professor Peter Klein says in a Globe and Mail op-ed.

“According to Islamic State propaganda videos, Syrian refugees are seen as the ultimate traitors, worse than Western infidels, since they are abandoning the pure theocratic regime IS is building, for a life of apostasy in Europe and North America,” Klein wrote.

Klein is director of the Global Reporting Centre at UBC, which has launched a project about xenophobia in Europe.

Nobel laureate says economic inequality is a choice

CBC News Thu Nov 19 2015

Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel prize for economics, will give the keynote address Friday (Nov. 20) for the Lind Initiative, a dialogue series at UBC.

In a Q&A with the Globe and Mail, Stiglitz talks about how the rules of the market economy have been shaped by societies to serve the interests of the ‘one per cent.’

Canada and Denmark are locked in an adorable war

The Independent Fri Nov 13 2015 By: Bethan McKernan

Canada and Denmark have been locked in a dispute over tiny 1.3km square Hans Island in the Arctic Ocean for decades.

UBC international law professor Michael Byers says the dispute has the potential to cause friction in the future.

Nine things to do in Vancouver on Black Friday

Travel + Leisure Fri Nov 20 2015 By: Aileen Torres-Bennett

Travel + Leisure recommends a visit to the Museum of Anthropology at UBC as an alternative to Black Friday shopping. The article mentioned an exhibition on the Musqueam First Nation’s history and culture that runs through January 2016.