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.”

Leaving China? Your books, maps and DVDs may be confiscated

Los Angeles Times Mon Oct 26 2015 By: Julie Makinen

A Los Angeles Times article says Chinese authorities appear to have ramped up efforts to confiscate “objectionable” printed or audiovisual material from foreigners leaving the country, hinting at a growing sensitivity toward material that might stray from the official line on territorial issues.

“Regimes that are anxious about their legitimacy fetishize the signs of legitimacy,” said Tim Brook, a professor of Chinese history at UBC. “So one of the signs of legitimacy is a map–there you are one colour, your borders are all drawn properly and you look like a proper state.”

Elizabeth May as environment minister? 3 petitions vote yes

CBC News Wed Oct 21 2015

UBC political science professor Gerald Baier responded to proposals that Green leader Elizabeth May should be appointed environment minister. If May were to join Trudeau’s cabinet, it would essentially mean abandoning the Greens and being “co-opted into the Liberal caucus,” Baier said.

He thinks it would be preferable for May to be given some sort of other role on environmental issues.

A similar article appeared on Yahoo.

David Moscrop, a PhD student in political science at UBC, told News 1130 that May would be more effective as a critic or private adviser to Trudeau.

NDP will let Thomas Mulcair decide his fate as leader

Toronto Star Tue Oct 20 2015 By: Joanna Smith

Analysts say the NDP won’t push Thomas Mulcair to resign and will let him decide whether he will stay on as leader.

“I know that Tom Mulcair is extremely resilient and that for him, politics is not about himself, it’s for the greater good,” said UBC professor and former Layton environmental policy adviser Michael Byers. “So if he thinks the greater good of the party and country is served by him staying, at least for a while, he will do that.”

A similar article appeared on MSN.