With recent changes in the balance of global economic power, there has been an increased focus on Asian economies, cultures and societies. At UBC, the Institute of Asian Research (IAR) has been strengthening connections between North America and its Pacific Rim neighbours for almost 40 years.
Canada’s leading hub for contemporary Asia-related studies since 1978, the IAR attracts diverse scholars from around the globe who study everything Asian, from globalization and international public policy to human rights and cultural studies. In 2015, the IAR became one of the two co-founding partners of the new Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC.
IAR director and Co-Director of the new Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs Yves Tiberghien says understanding Asian political, economic and social climates has huge benefits for Canadians.
“The Asia-Pacific region is home to more than half of the world’s population and ranks just behind the US as Canada’s most valuable trading partner. Already, about half of BC exports to go Asia. More importantly, the world is in the midst of a major global shift. The share of China in the world economy went up from 2% to 15% since 1990. India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, and other countries are also rising fast. No global issue, be it the future of globalization, global health, or climate, can be tackled without a policy dialogue between Asia and the West. Yet, these links remain thin and underdeveloped.
“Investing in research that helps us improve our understanding of modern-day Asia is not only vital for our economic relationships with the region, but informs policy that has the power to improve the future of the global economy, human rights, health and the environment.”
The IAR provides expertise and resources on subjects as diverse as the impact of globalization, political and legal reforms, and sustainability and urbanization.
As well, the institute is an important connection point between UBC and the Lower Mainland’s numerous Asian communities.
The institute also publishes Asia Pacific Memo—a twice-weekly online magazine featuring “accessible scholarly knowledge about contemporary Asia”—to socialize relevant research with policy makers and industry at home and around the world.