Insider Guide: Best of Vancouver

CNN Thu Oct 29 2015 By: Dana Lynch

UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and the skating rink at Robson Square are listed in CNN‘s insider guide to the best of Vancouver.

The benefits of paid leave for children are real

CNN Thu Oct 29 2015 By: Kelly Wallace, Jen Christensen

A CNN article on parental leave says it’s becoming a hot issue in the U.S., the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave.

The article mentions a Canadian study that found no significant benefits following the extension of maternity leave policies from six to 12 months in 2001.

UBC economist Kevin Milligan says he was a little surprised that the study found no significant difference in terms of when children learn to walk, talk or feed themselves, between parents who took extended leave and those who didn’t.

Similar articles appeared on Fox and CBS.

The great Liberal comeback

National Post Thu Oct 29 2015 By: Spencer McKay

Young people probably played a big part in the Liberals’ success at the polls, writes Spencer McKay, a PhD student in political science at UBC, in a National Post op-ed.

Trudeau’s willingness to engage voters and his relative youth might have resonated with young voters. Added McKay: “It seems like young people might have done more than help Trudeau win a majority government. They might have set the Liberals up for long-term success that seemed almost impossible when this campaign started.”

Arctic nations to sign ‘historic’ coast guard agreement

Radio Canada Wed Oct 28 2015 By: Levon Sevunts

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) Experts Meeting scheduled Wednesday in Connecticut was attended by representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the U.S. and Russia.

UBC political science professor Michael Byers says the meeting will establish regular contact between the coast guards of all eight Arctic countries, and especially between Russia and Arctic NATO countries.

Out of the Shadows

Al Jazeera Thu Oct 29 2015

A new article in Al Jazeera describes the challenges of treating mental illness in developing regions in Asia, West Africa and the Middle East, a subject that was tackled in a UBC project titled “Out of the Shadows.”

Out of the Shadows was produced by students and faculty of the UBC journalism school’s International Reporting Program.

Babies need their tongues to tell sounds apart

Scientific American Wed Oct 28 2015 By: Christopher Intagliata

A Scientific American video highlights a UBC study that showed babies need to be able to move their tongues in order to tell sounds apart. The researchers say there’s no need to stop using teething toys and soothers but that their study could offer insights on how children with oral motor impairments or cleft palate perceive speech.

Kiribati’s dilemma: Before we drown we may die of thirst

Scientific American Wed Oct 28 2015 By: Kenneth R. Weiss, Nature magazine

The island nation Kiribati could lose much of its land if seawater levels continue to rise due to climate change. Ironically, its freshwater supply is also under threat from a naturally arid climate as well as pollution.

Experts also noted that the coral reefs in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, are suffering. UBC climatologist Simon Donner says the coral cover is lower in Tarawa than around the island, largely due to pollution and frequent bleaching events in the past 20 years.

UBC alumnus wins 2015 Sobey Award

Sobey Art Foundation Thurs Oct 29 2015

Congratulations to UBC MFA graduate Abbas Akhavan, who won the prestigious 2015 Sobey Art Award for Canadian artists under the age of 40. Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them.

The curatorial panel shared the following statement: “The jury wanted to underline the generosity and empathy at play in Abbas’ work. Through a fugitive practice that resists fixed meaning, Akhavan reasserts that power and engagement are always relevant subjects for artistic examination."

Akhavan's work will remain on display in the Sobey Art Award Shortlist Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s Halifax location until January 3, 2016.

For more information on the Sobey Art Award and exhibition, visit

A Game of Thrones course exclusively for book readers

Time Tue Oct 27 2015 By: Megan McCluskey

UBC is offering a course focused on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series Game of Thrones starting spring 2016. Only those who have read all five books will be allowed to enroll in the class.

The course will be taught by associate professor Robert Rouse and will allow students to study medieval history by way of the novels.

Similar articles appeared in The Independent, Telegraph UK, Toronto Star, Vancity Buzz and other media outlets.

Dan Albas pitches for a sunnier Conservative Party

The Tyee Sun Oct 25 2015 By: Jeremy J. Nuttall

The Conservative party should follow the example set by Tory MP Dan Albas, says UBC political science professor Maxwell Cameron.

Albas ran a high-minded, sunny campaign and kept his seat in the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding.

“I think Conservatives are often very angry and feel excluded,” Cameron said, noting that the country has become more liberal over the years. “If you feel the country has gone in a direction you don’t support, that leads to a sense of exclusion.”

Unofficial lobbying highlights battle over South China Sea

The Vancouver Sun Sun Oct 25 2015 By: Chuck Chiang

The Institute of Asian Research at UBC is mentioned in a new Vancouver Sun article as the location for “Track II diplomacy” or informal dialogues on Asia-Pacific issues. These dialogues take place through academic or unofficial channels. Earlier this month, a Philippine official gave a talk at the institute about the sovereignty dispute over parts of the China Sea.

Kofi Gbolonyo to perform at Capilano University

CBC News Sun Oct 25 2015

Jazz educator and UBC music professor Kofi Gbolonyo performed at a concert at Capilano University. The concert theme was the future of traditional African music. According to Gbolonyo, being open to global influences helps enrich African music.

This is how Canada should pursue electoral reform

Ottawa Citizen Fri Oct 23 2015 By: Edana Beauvais and David Moscrop

Determining the future of Canada’s electoral system should start by forming a national citizens’ assembly, according to UBC political scientists Edana Beauvais and David Moscrop.

“If we held a national citizens’ assembly on electoral reform before holding a referendum, Canadians would have an unbiased tool — the recommendation of the CA — to help them make an informed choice about electoral reform and to resist the pressures of moneyed and partisan interests,” they wrote in an Ottawa Citizen op-ed.

Why Trudeau is B.C.’s prime minister

The Globe and Mail Fri Oct 23 2015 By: Ian Bailey

Political scientist and UBC professor emeritus Ken Carty commented on the federal election in a new Globe and Mail article. Carty believes the Liberals’ big win in B.C. reflects the natural volatility of B.C. He also noted that the Liberals have a “remarkable capacity to reinvent themselves and continue to dominate Canadian public life.”

Canada’s new government may be a new beginning for science

Wired Mon Oct 26 2015 By: Thomas Hayden

Canada’s scientists are hoping the Liberal victory will remedy the funding cuts and muzzling of scientists that marked the Harper era.

UBC climate scientist Simon Donner says Justin Trudeau’s promise about trusting science and expertise is heartening but worries that it will take a while for Canadian science to bounce back. “My concern is really structural,” Donner said. “It’s easier to close a lab than it is to start a new one. There’s a structural deficit now and it may take a long time to come back.”