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.

When gifts go bad

Yahoo Fri Nov 20 2015

UBC psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn is quoted in a Yahoo article on holiday gifts. According to Dunn, even standard-issue gifts can be passive aggressive, depending on the particular circumstances and relationship between the giver and the recipient.

UBC migration expert says refugee fears overblown

CKNW Wed Nov 18 2015

UBC professor Dan Hiebert allayed fears about the influx of refugees from Syria, saying Canada has experience in settling large numbers of refugees.

Noting that B.C.’s non-profit settlement sector is very experienced, Hiebert observed: “They have a very large network of volunteers that they call on for these kinds of things. I think that is going to unfold reasonably well.”

Taiwan artworks at UBC point to spiritual dimension

The Province Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Stuart Derdeyn

Seven modern artists are represented in the new Taiwan art exhibition at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology.

The exhibit includes weaving art, fabric installations and paper cutting art and was curated by socio-cultural anthropologist Fuyubi Nakamura.

(In) visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan Through Contemporary Art runs through April 3.

The way forward for Canadian digital diplomacy

The Embassy Wed Nov 18 2015 By: Julian Dierkes

UBC professor Julian Dierkes, who specialises in Japan and Mongolia, calls on the new Liberal government to embrace digital diplomacy to support its foreign policy.

Open exchange of views and meaningful social media engagement can “bring foreign affairs, international trade, and development assistance into a fruitful collaboration,” Dierkes wrote.

He adds: “A digital diplomacy strategy has to be led by diplomats, not by communications specialists, though these specialists are essential in providing support for evolving initiatives.”