Program Faculty

UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) program offers the opportunity to study alongside world-class professors who are recognized experts in their respective fields and have strong ties with the international policy community. Our faculty draws distinguished academics from each of the MPPGA’s three founding partners: the Liu Institute for Global Issues (Liu), the Institute of Asian Research (IAR), and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES).

Learn more about the comparative advantage of the MPPGA degree from MPPGA Co-Director and IAR Director Yves Tiberghien: YouTube Preview Image


Erin Baines

Assistant Professor at Liu. Her research interests include transitional justice, the politics of humanitarianism and forced displacement and the study of gender, youth and armed conflict. She sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Transitional Justice and is the co-founder of the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) in Gulu, Uganda.

David Boyd

One of Canada’s leading experts in environmental law and policy and an internationally renowned authority on the relationship between human rights and environmental degradation. He co-chairs Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 initiative with Mayor Gregor Robertson. Boyd is also the award-winning author of over 100 articles and eight books including Cleaner, Greener, Healthier: A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies and The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progress Towards a Greener Future. He is a member of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide and the IUCN’s Commission on Environmental Law.

Timothy Brook

Works on the social and cultural history of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Japanese occupation of China during World War Two, and historical perspectives on world history and human rights. A new book, tentatively entitled Sailing to China, will appear in the spring. It explores the Selden map, a Chinese map of the 17th century recently rediscovered in Oxford. Other current projects include cultural life in the Shanghai region in the early 17th century, and a price history of the Ming dynasty.

Kai Chan

Associate Professor of IRES and Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. His interests include conservation biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, policy and ethics. He combines perspectives of conservation in a sustainability science research program on social-ecological interactions and applied environmental ethics to inform ecosystem-based management and sustainability solutions.

Stephanie Chang

Professor at IRES and SCARP and Canada Research Chair in Disaster Management and Urban Sustainability. Her research interests address issues of community vulnerability and resilience to natural disasters. She has written extensively on loss estimation models for critical infrastructure systems, infrastructure interdependencies, economic evaluation of disaster mitigations and urban disaster recovery.

Timothy Cheek

Louis Cha Chair in Chinese Research at the Institute of Asian Research and a Professor in the Department of History. His research, teaching and translating focus on Modern Chinese history and society especially the role of the Chinese intellectuals in the twentieth century and the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

Cesi Cruz

Assistant Professor at IAR, jointly appointed with Political Science. She studies political economy, focusing on the interplay between electoral incentives and economic outcomes in consolidating democracies. Her research uses quantitative and qualitative methods, social network analysis, surveys, and field experiments. Cesi’s research is funded by the World Bank, USAID, and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Julian Dierkes

Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research at IAR and an Associate Professor in the Institute of Asian Research. His research interests are focused on contemporary Japan and Mongolia, including comparative political sociology and sociology of education in Japanese, Mongolian and German historical education. Also, he is interested in economic sociology and organizational behavior in mining regulations, especially in Mongolia and natural resource regulation.

Hadi Dowlatabadi

Professor at the Liu Institute and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), and Tier One Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics and Global Change. His current projects are looking at energy poverty and greening the energy infrastructure.

Paul Evans

Professor at Liu and the Institute of Asian Research. His writing and activities includes contemporary political and security issues in the Asia Pacific region. Over the past eight years he has been co-CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (2005-08); Director of the Institute of Asian Research (2009-12); director of research and track-two dialogue program on “Emerging Issues in Canada-China Relations;” and director of a research cluster on ‘Global China and World Governance.”

Nancy Gallini

Professor in the Vancouver School of Economics. Her research focuses on the economics of intellectual property, competition policy, strategic alliances, licensing, and optimal patent policy. She has served on the editorial boards of the American Economic Review, the International Journal of Industrial Organization and the Journal of Industrial Economics and has worked with the Competition Bureau and Industry Canada on projects related to Canada’s patent policy and Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines.

George Hoberg

George Hoberg specializes in environmental and natural resource policy and governance at the Liu Institute for Global Issues. His research interests include environmental policy, energy policy, forest policy, and more generally the design of policies and institutions to promote sustainability. His current research focuses on the clean energy transformation. Dr. Hoberg taught public policy and American politics in the Department of Political Science for 13 years, and forest and energy policy in the Faculty of Forestry from 2001 to 2016.

Brian Job

MPPGA Graduate Director, Associate Director, IAR, Professor of Political Science and a Faculty Associate of the Liu Institute for Global Issues. His interests concern international security – more specifically, the evolving security order of the Asia Pacific, intrastate conflict, human security and Canadian foreign and security policies.

Mark Johnson

Associate Professor at IRES and EOAS. His research interests focus on ecohydrology and watershed biogeochemistry. He and his group conduct field-based research involving hydrometric and water quality monitoring with the goal of leveraging it towards the development of more sustainable land use practices and urban systems.

Milind Kandlikar

Professor at Liu and Professor and Director of the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability. His work focuses on the intersection of technology innovation, human development and the global environment. His current projects include cross-national comparisons of regulation of agricultural biotechnology; air quality in Indian cities; risks and benefits of nanotechnology; new technologies for sustainable transportation; and development and climate change.

Nadja Kunz

Assistant Professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and Norman B Keevil Mining Engineering. She works at the interface of research and practice to resolve private sector water challenges, with a focus on the mining and resources sector. Najda is driven by a passion for transitioning the private sector towards more sustainable water management practices.

Amartya Lahiri

Johal Chair of Indian research at IAR and the Royal Bank Faculty Research Professor and Professor in the Department of Economics. He specializes primarily in International Economics and secondarily in Macroeconomics.

Philippe Le Billon

Professor at the Liu Institute and Geography. His research interests include the political economy and geography of war, extractive sector governance, and the geopolitics of the “global land grab.”

Hyung-Gu Lynn

Associate Professor, holding the AECL/KEPCO Chair in Korean Research at IAR. He is the Editor for the Journal Pacific Affairs, an independent, interdisciplinary, peer-reviews journal since 1928. His research focus is on a variety of issues in Korea and Japan ranging from late-19th century to present and in international relations to visual culture.

Jessica Main

Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation Chair on Buddhism and Contemporary Society, Institute of Asian Research and Department of Asian Studies. She is also UBC’s Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program steward. Her research is focused on Buddhist ethics, human rights, social action, modern Buddhist institutions, law, governance, and institutional life in East and Southeast Asia.

Masao Nakamura

Professor at IAR and the Sauder School of Business and the Konwakai Japan Research Chair. Professor Nakamura researches international business, technology management and transfer, and the Japanese economy.

Gunilla Oberg

Professor at IRES. She has participated in a number of interdisciplinary research and educational projects related to environmental and sustainability issues. Her research interests span from the use of science in environmental policy to chlorine biogeochemistry.

Kai Ostwald

Assistant Professor, IAR jointly appointed .25 time with Political Science.  Ostwald’s area of specialization is comparative politics, focusing on ethnic politics, public policy, and politics of development.  His research is situated primarily in Southeast Asia. Ostwald has spent over five years on location in Asia in the private sector.  His research has been funded by major research agencies, including the NSF.

Taylor Owen

Assistant Professor, jointly appointed with Liu and the School of Journalism.  His current research focuses on the intersection of digital technology and international relations.  He is specifically interested in how this technology challenges the institutions, systems, and norms that define the space of international relations.  He coordinates (at the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism, Columbia University) a large research program on the evolving space of digital media and journalism.

Kyung-Ae Park

Associate Professor, the Korea Foundation Chair at IAR, and Director at the Centre for Korean Research. Her research interests include North and South Korean politics, US-Korea relations, and gender and development. She has been invited to speak at a variety of prestigious universities, research institutes, academic associations, government agencies and mass media events in Canada, US, China, Japan and South Korea.

Pitman Potter

Professor of Law at UBC Law Faculty and HSBC Chair in Asian Research at IAR. His teaching and research interests focus on PRC and Taiwan law and policy in the areas of foreign trade and investment, dispute resolution, property law, contracts, business regulation and human rights. Additionally, he is admitted to the practice of law in British Columbia, Washington and serves as a consultant to the Canadian national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and engages in international trade arbitration work involving China.

Moura Quayle

Professor, Strategic Design with the Sauder School of Business and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues. Moura’s interests lie in rethinking, refining and rebuilding collaborative spaces at the intersections of academia, government, business and civil society. Her recent focus has been the Sauder, a research and teaching studio that helps students and organizations learn to use design processes and tools to co-create innovative solutions to complex problems.

M. V. Ramana

M. V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues. His research interests are in the broad areas of international security and energy supply, with a particular focus on topics related to nuclear energy and fissile materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons. He combines technical skills and interdisciplinary methods to address policy relevant questions related to security and energy issues.

Navin Ramankutty

Professor and Canada Research Chair on Food Security, at Liu and the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability.  Navin’s research concerns global land use change and its implications, focusing on agricultural practice and the implications for environmental change and food security.  He employs data and models to address the question of how to feed 9-10 billion people while reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint.

Terre Satterfield

Former Director of IRES and Professor of Culture, Risk and Environment. Her work concerns sustainable development in the context of debates about environmental values, risk and environmental health. Her studies include environmental conflicts such as logging disputes, biodiversity management and politics, First Nation land management and regulatory contexts  as well as the governance and perceived risk of new technologies and the social and cultural consequences on contamination.

Tsering Shakya

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia at IAR. He is a world renowned and widely published scholar, on both historic and contemporary Tibet. He has an unrivalled network of official and unofficial contacts in the government, academia, religious circles and the median in throughout Tibet and China, across Asia, Europe and the US which he draws off of for his many works.

Sara Shneiderman

Sara Shneiderman is Assistant Professor in IAR and the Department of Anthropology.  Her research focuses on ethnicity and indigeneity, political movements, cross-border mobility and social transformation in South Asia and the Himalayas. In addition to her ongoing research projects, she regularly contributes to policy discussions about development, governance, and politics across South Asia and the Himalayas, and serves as advisor to several NGOs working in the region.

Rashid Sumaila

Faculty Associate, Liu Institute for Global Issues and Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit, UBC Fisheries Centre. Dr. Sumaila specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the economics of high and deep seas fisheries.

Yves Tiberghien

Director of IAR and an Associate Professor of Political Science. His research and teaching interests focus on G20, systemic risks and global public goods, financial regulations, corporate governance, genetically engineered foods and climate change in the regions of China, Japan, Korea and European Union.


Ilan Vertinsky

Vinod Sood Professor of International Business Studies at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. His teaching interests include international trade policy and cultural analysis in international business.

Hannah Wittman

Associate Professor at IRES and LFS. Her research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian citizenship.

Hisham Zerriffi

Assistant Professor and the Ivan Head South/North Research Chair at Liu. His research is at the intersection of technology, energy and the environment, with a particular focus on rural areas of the developing world. Much of his research focuses on institutional factors impacting the diffusion of new technology, determinants and patterns of household energy choice and welfare implications of rural energy use.

Jiaying Zhao

Assistant Professor at IRES and Department of Psychology. Her interests include how environmental and financial resources influence thinking and behavior, and how cognitive factors lead to behavioral change that impacts the consumption and allocation of environmental resources.