This October and November, attend new Chinese and Japanese-language book clubs, created in partnership between Asian Library and alumniUBC. The events are an opportunity for alumni, current students, and other interested community members with advanced fluency in Chinese or Japanese, to form ties with others in their respective literary communities.

Each book club offers a separate meet and greet and discussion at a cost of $10 per person for both events. The cost includes a copy of the book distributed at Session 1 and light refreshments. More information can be found on the Asian Library’s website.

Chinese Language Book Club

Book selection:《中外文學交流史 中國-加拿大卷》Literary Interactions between China and Canada by Dr. Lai Fong Leung
Discussion facilitator: Dr. Lai Fong Leung, MA’76, PHD’86


The book Literary Interactions between China and Canada is one of the 17 volume project “Literary Interactions between China and Foreign Countries” produced by Shandong Education Press. This 450,000-word book is the first work to explore the topic and it lays the foundation for future studies. The book, largely based on primary sources, recreates the ethnic Chinese community as a cultural community from the mid-19th century to the present.

Session 1: Meet and Greet

Monday, October 24
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
UBC Asian Centre
(1871 West Mall, Room 604) 

$10 | Register online

Session 2: Discussion

Monday, November 21
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
UBC Asian Centre
(1871 West Mall, Room 604)


Japanese Language Book Club 

Book selection: ねむりNemuri by Haruki Murakami
Discussion Facilitator: Kazuhiko Imai, MA student in the UBC Department of Asian Studies

Japanese-language book club

Haruki Murakami is an internationally acclaimed author best known for dissolving boundaries between the fantastical and real. Yet this short story is rather intimately psychological, while the surrealistic feel is unquestionably present in the backdrop. Accompanied by interpretive illustrations by a German artist Kat Menschik, this short story, ね むり Nemuri (“Sleep”), was revived in 2010, after Murakami himself reworked the original version published more than twenty years ago.

Session 1: Meet and Greet

Tuesday, October 25
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
UBC Asian Centre
(1871 West Mall, Room 604) 

$10 | Register online

Session 2: Discussion

Tuesday, November 22
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
UBC Asian Centre
(1871 West Mall, Room 604)


Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. At the December 2015 Paris climate conference (COP21), 195 countries agreed to reduce their carbon emissions and limit global climate change. While the agreement was ambitious, it also recognized that less developed countries would require more time to begin reducing their emissions. While some question whether it is fair to hold them to the same standard as societies that grew wealthy from carbon-driven industry, it is also clear that many of these countries have the most to lose. What structural changes need to be made to allow less developed countries to combat climate change as equal partners? Are there technologies that will allow them to leapfrog carbon and achieve sustainable economic growth?

Join us for a provocative UBC Dialogues program where experts will examine the challenges and opportunities facing less developed countries in the years ahead.

This event took place at the Telus garden on September 19, 2016.


Lisa Johnson, BSc’02, MJ’04– Reporter, CBC News


Simon Donner– Associate Professor, UBC Department of Geography

Sumeet Gulati– Associate Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at the UBC Faculty of Land & Food Systems

Sybil Seitzinger– Director, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

Martino Tran– Assistant Professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP); Associate Faculty Member, UBC Department of Civil Engineering.


Lisa Johnson, BSC’02, MJ/04

Lisa Johnson is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver. She specializes in science and environment stories, from E. coli and isotopes to carbon offsets and killer whales. As a general assignment news reporter, she’s also covered kidnappings, earthquakes, and has won a RTDNA award for her live reports from the Stanley Cup Riot. lisa-johnson-320x320

Before she became a storyteller, Lisa thought she was going to be a scientist. She graduated from UBC with an Honours degree in biology after pipetting stickleback DNA, counting kelp, and watching fish mating dances.

She returned to UBC for her master’s in journalism, focusing on science and risk communications. She still takes interest in things that many journalists hate, including animal carcasses and math.

Simon Donner

simon-donnerSimon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at UBC, as well as an associate in UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, Biodiversity Research Centre and Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and the Atmospheric Sciences Program. He came to UBC after a few years in the Science, Technology and Environment Program in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He spent his undergraduate days at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He also did a master’s degree in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and a PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin with the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment.



 Sumeet Gulati

Sumeet Gulati is the Associate Professor in Environmental and Resourcesumeet-gulati-320x571 Economics at the University of British Columbia, studying the economics of urban transportation. Sumeet completed his BA in Economics at the University of Mumbai and then his Masters at the University of Delhi before moving to the USA to complete his PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland.

Sumeet’s other research interests include; the impact of international trade on the environment, the effectiveness of Carbon Taxes and the Environmental Policy and the cost-effectiveness of programs designed to improve energy–efficiency.

Along with his co-authors Sumeet asks: at their modest values, do carbon taxes reduce gasoline consumption? Do they encourage people to buy fuel efficient vehicles? Do older consumers, especially women, perform better or worse while negotiating a price for a new car? What are the economics of car sharing—like Car2Go, and Evo? And what explains the autonomous emergence of electric rickshaws in India?

Sybil Seitzinger

sybil-seitzinger-320x448Dr. Sybil Seitzinger is the executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and a professor in the School of Environmental Studies.

Dr. Seitzinger holds a PhD in biological oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She is highly cited, with more than 130 peer-reviewed publications to her credit.

Her research has centered on nutrient biogeochemistry in coastal marine and freshwater ecosystems, spanning a range of spatial scales from molecular level organic chemical characterization to models at global scales, with the impact of human activities being a common theme.  Through an international collaboration, a spatially explicit, multi-nutrient, watershed model, Global NEWS, was developed which has been applied to watersheds globally under a range of scenarios.  She has also dabbled in atmospheric chemistry, including aqueous phase secondary organic aerosol formation.

Dr. Seitzinger joins UVic from her position as executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) based in Stockholm, Sweden. Her work at the IGBP involved facilitating and integrating the work of scientists and researchers across Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe on global environmental change.  Prior to that, she was director of the Rutgers/NOAA Cooperative Marine Education and Research Program and visiting professor at Rutgers University in the US. She served as president of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography from 2006-2010.

Martino Tran

Martino is Assistant Professor in Environmental Systems Science at themartino-tran School of Community and Regional Planning and Associate Faculty Member in the Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science. He is a Canada Research Chair nominee in Urban Systems and Co-Director on the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also a Visiting Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute and a former Oxford Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford.

He is broadly interested in applying environmental systems and engineering sciences for tackling societal challenges in energy and sustainability. This includes the application of systems theory, techno-economic analysis, and complex networks to assess long-term sustainability, risk and resilience in urban systems. Much of his work focuses on developing multi-scale decision support systems and integrated assessment modelling to inform climate and energy policy. Current focus areas include sustainable energy and transport systems, and interdependent infrastructure networks. He also lectures on Cities and Climate Change (PLAN 548S), and Urban Systems Analysis and Planning (URSY 520) at UBC.

Before arriving to UBC, Martino provided technical leadership and management for the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) a $10M program grant funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). He was responsible for integrated assessment focusing on model calibration, validation and simulation. He also made novel contributions to the development of multi-attribute, cross-sector performance metrics, and visualization techniques to assess infrastructure risk and interdependency. This work contributed to the first national infrastructure systems modelling capability to inform the UK government’s National Infrastructure Plan.

Martino has also led research for academia and industry on the large-scale deployment of smart energy and transport technologies, and has advised UNEP, UNDP and Hitachi Europe’s Smart Cities Program. He also collaborates with the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) tasked with informing UK energy and climate policy. He is a regular peer reviewer for Science and Nature.

Martino completed his PhD in Environmental Science specializing in mathematical modelling as an Oxford Martin Fellow jointly led by Engineering Sciences and the School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford. His thesis applied systems engineering and complex network theory to model the long-term techno-economic performance of alternative fuelled vehicles for climate change mitigation. He received a European Commission Erasmus Mundus scholarship completing a MSc in Environmental Science at Lund University, Sweden specializing in energy systems analysis. Before academia he worked in industry focusing on environmental impact assessment for major energy and transport infrastructure projects.

Select Books and Articles Available at UBC Library

Donner, S. D., & Mcdaniels, J. (2013). The influence of national temperature fluctuations on opinions about climate change in the U.S. since 1990. Climatic Change, 118(3-4), 537-550. [Link]

Gulati, S., & Roy, D. (2015). Free trade and the greening of domestic industry. Environment and Development Economics, 20(1), 1-19. [Link]

Weissbecker, I. (2011). Climate change and human well-being : Global challenges and opportunities Springer. [Link]

UBC Library Research Guides









Shannon Selin and her novel Napoleon in America

After a successful and varied career that included non-fiction writing, university research, technical writing, and working for the Canadian government, UBC alumna Shannon Selin finally returned to her first love — writing fiction. Her first novel Napoleon in America imagines what might have happened if Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped from exile on St. Helena and wound up in the United States in 1821.  We spoke with Shannon about the extensive research she does for her books and how UBC Library and Collections have played a crucial role.

Which sources did you use in your research for Napoleon in America

UBC Library has been invaluable to my research. I write historical fiction set in Europe and North America in the early 1800s. Since I try to make my novels and short stories as believable as possible, I use only actual historical characters and embed them very carefully in the social, political and geographical context of the time. I am thus particularly interested in relevant letters, diaries, memoirs, travellers’ accounts and newspapers, as well as historical maps, paintings and drawings. In addition to standard books about European and North American history, the library has a marvelous selection of relatively obscure works that I was surprised to find in Vancouver. Three of my favourites are: Papiers Intimes et Journal du Duc de Reichstadt by Jean de Bourgoing, a collection of letters, diary entries and schoolwork by Napoleon Bonaparte’s son, who died at the age of 21; The Indians of Texas in 1830 by French naturalist Jean-Louis Berlandier, which includes gorgeous plates and descriptions of the native Americans Berlandier encountered during an 1828-29 expedition; and Mexico 1825-1828: The Journal and Correspondence of Edward Thornton Tayloe, the record of an American diplomat who had adroit powers of observation. The real “shivers up the spine” moment came when I was holding a letter from Napoleon, written in 1814, and three letters from the Duke of Wellington, written in 1824, all part of the Derek Lukin Johnston collection housed in Rare Books and Special Collections.

A letter dictated by Napoleon c 1814. Note his signature at the bottom right.

A letter dictated by Napoleon c 1814. Note his signature at the bottom right.


Do you use UBC’s Open Collections?

I do, particularly the Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints from RBSC, which has excellent 19th century maps of the British possessions in North America. Having online access to these resources is extremely helpful. I can zoom in to see features even more clearly than I could if I were viewing the maps in person.

Can you shed some light on your research-to-writing process?

For Napoleon in America, I started by reading a lot of books about Napoleon, particularly about his time on St. Helena. What physical shape was he in? What frame of mind was he in? If someone plucked him up and carried him away, what would he be likely to say and do? I then read up on the other characters who appear in the novel – people like the Duke of Wellington, Louis XVIII, Napoleon’s siblings, the Marquis de Lafayette, John Quincy Adams, pirate Jean Laffite, and the French officers who fled to the United States after Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Since the book moves between St. Helena, various European settings and North America, I also did research on each of these places in the early 1820s, to help me imagine what it might have been like to be there. As I read, I made notes on each topic and jotted down ideas of things that could happen in the book. Based on this, I came up with an outline of the plot, and then started drafting the novel. When questions came up as I was writing each chapter, I delved into more esoteric topics: early 19th-century medical practices, the history of voodoo in New Orleans, the diplomacy surrounding the Congress of Verona, etc. This in turn sparked more ideas for scenes in the book. It is really a continuous process, in which the research and writing are closely intertwined. For Napoleon in Texas, the sequel, I have six books from UBC Library open on my desk right now, looking at questions like: What plants and animals would one encounter on a trek between Laredo and San Antonio in the early 1820s? How long would the journey by horse take, compared to the journey by mule? What kind of kit would a Mexican officer be carrying?

Do you have a favourite spot or branch of UBC Library?

Given my interest in history, it’s probably no surprise to learn that my favourite place in the UBC Library is the part that remains from the old Main Library – what is now the Chapman Learning Commons. During my first summer at UBC, I worked as a research assistant to Professor Paul Marantz in the Political Science Department. Part of my job entailed making notes from books that could not be taken out of the Ridington Room. Not to be confused with the current room of that name, this was the old humanities and social sciences reading room, located in the north wing of the Main Library. I sat at one of the long wooden tables, with the light streaming through the high windows, surrounded by portraits of UBC chancellors and the smell of old books. It was peaceful and beautiful, and being in the heritage core of the library reminds me of that space.

Borrow Napoleon in America from UBC Library.

Follow Shannon’s writing at 


Change or start over? The challenge of transforming large institutions.

All broadcasters are adapting to revolutionary changes to their business; from the content they provide, to the way Canadians use their services. But how do you transform your organization when you are an iconic public institution, one as revered and sometimes maligned as Canada’s public broadcaster? Join Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada as he talks about the challenges and opportunities of change at Canada’s largest cultural institution, and what the Government’s reinvestment in public broadcasting will mean for Canadians.

Master Mind Master Class is a new alumni UBC event series, offering an unprecedented look into the minds of modern thinkers making a unique impact on the world, and the lessons they’ve learned.

This event took place May 24, 2016, in Vancouver, BC.


Valerie Casselton, BA’77 – Managing Editor, The Vancouver Sun and The Province


Hubert LacroixHubert T. Lacroix

Hubert T. Lacroix was appointed President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada on November 5, 2007, for a five-year term and reappointed until December 31, 2017.

As President and CEO, Mr. Lacroix is responsible for overseeing the management of CBC/Radio-Canada in order to ensure that Canada’s national public broadcaster can deliver on the various aspects of its mandate and continue to offer Canadians a broad spectrum of high quality programming that informs, enlightens and entertains, and that is created by, for and about Canadians.

Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Mr. Lacroix was a special counsel in the law firm Stikeman Elliott. Before that, he acted as Executive Chairman of Telemedia Corporation, and was a senior partner at McCarthy Tétrault for nearly 20 years. He also sat on the boards of directors for several major corporations and non-profit organizations.

Valerie Casselton, BA’77

Valerie CasseltonValerie Casselton is the Managing Editor of The Vancouver Sun and The Province, publishing with a combined newsroom of more than 140 journalists and staff. She is responsible for news gathering, projects and strategic initiatives that promote audience engagement over all publication platforms.

As a senior editor, she works with the management team to achieve the news gathering, readership and financial goals of the paper as it presses its competitive position as a national leader in multi-platform publication.

As two of the largest publications in Postmedia’s national network, and operating the largest newsroom in Western Canada, The Vancouver Sun and Province together reach more than 1.4 million readers every week on all platforms — mobile, tablet, desktop and in-paper.

Valerie has been a newspaper manager for 20 years and has worked at four major Canadian dailies and three television networks in both eastern and western Canada. Earlier in her career she was a reporter, editorial writer and columnist.

Valerie has served on the alumni UBC board of directors since 2013, chairs the Alumni Achievement Awards committee, serves on the TREK advisory committee and has been a UBC mentor for 15 years.

She has served as a member or chair of the boards of the Langara College Journalism School, the Centre for Investigative Journalism (now CAJ), The American Association of Sunday and Features Editors, The Pacific Paper Industry Credit Union (now VanCity), the Vancouver Biennale, and a range of community associations.

A UBC graduate with a BA(Hons) in English, Valerie also holds a degree in Journalism form Carleton University, and a CHRP designation.

Select Books and Articles Available at UBC Library

Canadian Public Policy Collection, & Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. (2008). CBC/Radio-canada: Defining distinctiveness in the changing media landscape Canada. Parliament. House of Commons.

Champagne, A., Tardif, C., Canada. Parliament.Senate.Standing Committee on Official Languages, & Canadian Government EBook Collection. (2014). CBC/Radio-canada’s language obligations: Communities want to see themselves and be heard coast to coast! : Report of the standing senate committee on official languages. Ottawa, Ontario: Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages.

Ménard, M., & desLibris – Documents. (2013). CBC/Radio-canada: Overview and key issues Parliamentary Information and Research Service. [Link]

UBC Library Research Guides

Arts, Media & Entertainment Industries

Great things happen when our brightest minds have the freedom to explore. When we pursue our unique interests, the resulting collective capacity for innovation is limitless. The issues of the future will require these creative solutions as the need to build connections between people, nations and disciplines has never been greater.

On May 28th, UBC closed out the Centennial year with some great minds providing perspectives on topics of the future.

The topic of ‘human-robot interaction’ will still be a hot one in 100 years. The tools may change but the problems, such as “How do people and robots get along?” will remain the same. Questions surrounding what robots should do; and how we can share, operate safely, communicate, take turns, teach robots, and generally get along together will continue to be problems requiring solutions. The efforts we make to establish the ‘rules of engagement’ now will certainly be foundational to our future relationships.

Elizabeth Croft was featured in the video “A Robot in Every Home” in the February 2015 online issue of Trek Magazine.


Moderated by Marc Parlange – Dean and Professor, UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science

Select Articles and Books Available at UBC Library

Bartneck, C., Kulić, D., Croft, E., & Zoghbi, S. (2009). Measurement instruments for the anthropomorphism, animacy, likeability, perceived intelligence, and perceived safety of robots. International Journal of Social Robotics, 1(1), 71-81. doi:10.1007/s12369-008-0001-3 [Link]

Kulić, D., & Croft, E. (2007). Pre-collision safety strategies for human-robot interaction. Autonomous Robots, 22(2), 149-164. doi:10.1007/s10514-006-9009-4 [Link]

Luu, B. L., Inglis, J. T., Huryn, T. P., Van der Loos, H. F. Machiel, Croft, E. A., & Blouin, J. (2012). Human Standing is Modified by an Unconscious Integration of Congruent Sensory and Motor Signals: Vestibular-Motor Pathways in Standing. The Journal of Physiology, 590(22), 5783-5794. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230334 [Link]

Sheikholeslami, S., Moon, A., & Croft, E. A. (2015). Exploring the Effect of Robot Hand Configurations in Directional Gestures for Human-Robot Interaction. Paper presented at the 3594-3599. doi:10.1109/IROS.2015.7353879 [Link]

UBC Library Research Guides

Mechanical Engineering

Great things happen when our brightest minds have the freedom to explore. When we pursue our unique interests, the resulting collective capacity for innovation is limitless. The issues of the future will require these creative solutions as the need to build connections between people, nations and disciplines has never been greater.

On May 28th, UBC closed out the Centennial year with some great minds providing perspectives on topics of the future.

What will we eat when we need to feed 11 billion people globally by 2100?* With rapid population increase and climate change coupled with the focus on cash crops and loss of food diversity, is a fundamental shift in our diets and the way our food is supplied essential for us to be able to feed ourselves equitably worldwide? Hear from chef, restauranteur and climate change activist, Meeru Dhalwala, on her insights on these and other aspects of our future food sources.



Moderated by Rickey Yada, BSc’77, MSc’80, PhD’84 – Dean and Professor, UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Select Articles and Books Available at UBC Library

Dyson, Tim. Population and Food: Global Trends and Future Prospects. London: Routledge, 1996. Print. [Available at Koerner Library – HD9000.5 .D97 1996]

Murphy, Elaine M. Food and Population: A Global Concern. Washington, D.C. : Population Reference Bureau, Inc., 1984. Print. [Available at Koerner Library – HD9000.5 .M87 1984]

on Agriculture, S., & Forestry. (2014). Innovation in agriculture: The key to feeding a growing population Canada. Senate Committee Reports. [Link]

UBC Library Research Guides

Dietetics and Nutrition

Food Science

Health Statistics & Data

Population and Public Health

Great things happen when our brightest minds have the freedom to explore. When we pursue our unique interests, the resulting collective capacity for innovation is limitless. The issues of the future will require these creative solutions as the need to build connections between people, nations and disciplines has never been greater.

On May 28th, UBC wclosed out the Centennial year with some great minds providing perspectives on topics of the future.

We are living a turning point in history, the moment when we are re-envisioning industrial society. We now know that the cumulative impacts of our fossil fuel economy threaten the air we breathe, the water we drink and even a stable economy and climate. The good news is that major advances in technology and the dramatic drop in the price of renewable energy make the scale of change necessary within our grasp.


Moderated by Kathryn Harrison, PhD’93 – Senior Associate Dean, UBC’s Faculty of Arts; Professor of Political Science

Select Articles and Books Available at UBC Library

Berman Tzeporah, Christopher Hatch; Maurice Gibbons; Ronald B. Hatch; Gordon Brent Ingram; Loys Maingon (1994). Clayoquot & Dissent. Ronsdale Press. [Link]

Berman, T., & Leiren-Young, M. (2011). This crazy time: Living our environmental challenge. Toronto: Knopf Canada. [Available at Okanagan Library – GE195.9 .B47 2011]

UBC Library Research Guides

Natural Resources Conservation


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