IAR Strategic Statement

Vision and mission

The Institute of Asian Research (IAR) aims to foster closer understanding and human networks between Asia and North America. It is this cross-Pacific relationship that will have a defining impact on the future global challenges of our common world. As a dynamic Asia expands its reach across the world, the IAR’s Vancouver location puts it in the heart of a North America-Asia gateway and at the forefront of research and teaching opportunities.

The IAR is the focal point for Asia policy and current affairs at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Institute seeks to build knowledge that supports deep understanding and effective action on a wide range of domestic, regional and global issues centered on Asia. The IAR advances this mission through five major activities:

  • Research
  • Teaching (Asia-oriented policy degree)
  • Network-building across the University and with scholarly communities elsewhere
  • Community interaction
  • Policy engagement

Research activities

As a campus-wide hub, the IAR supports individual research and interdisciplinary collaborations on a range of Asia Pacific policy and current affairs topics, including:

  • Governance and politics in Asia
  • Domestic and regional economic policy
  • Asian societies in transition (e.g., migration, social issues, religion and society, minorities and nationalism, and education and social change)
  • Urbanization in East Asia
  • Regional security
  • Regional and global governance
  • Environmental issues in East Asia (e.g., water, climate, biodiversity and agriculture biotechnology)
  • Resource management, energy and mining

The IAR is also the administrative home for five regional centres, with which the Institute frequently collaborates on Asia Pacific policy events and initiatives:


The IAR continues its long-standing commitment to Pacific Affairs, a highly respected academic journal, and e-publications like Asia Pacific Memo, which are intended for a wider public and policy audience.

Degree programs

In 2015, the IAR teamed up with the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability to launch the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA), a two-year professional degree program in global public policy with a focus on Asia Pacific and sustainability issues. This innovative program equips students with the analytical and technical skills they need to lead policy change in a fast-changing global system.

The MPPGA replaces the IAR’s Master of Arts Asia Pacific Policy Studies (MAAPPS), which launched in 2000. The MAAPPS was the first graduate program in Canada to focus on contemporary policy issues in Asia and to provide training and research opportunities for Asia Pacific policy professionals.

Policy and community outreach

The Institute aims to make policy research accessible and useful for local, regional and global communities.

The IAR welcomes Asian-Canadian communities to take part in discussions about contemporary Asia, and is closely linked to policy communities in Canada, the United States and the Pacific. A key part of the Institute’s community outreach involves regular public events on contemporary Asia.

Collaboration across UBC

IAR collaborates closely with the Department of Asian Studies, the University’s focal point for Asian humanities, language and culture, and the Liu Institute for Global Issues on joint appointments and programs. The Institute continues to develop partnerships with the social sciences (e.g., economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, geography and gender studies), applied sciences, medicine, education, forestry and other academic units across campus, including the Sauder School of Business, the Peter A. Allard School of Law, the School of Community and Regional Planning—all of which have important roles to play in addressing contemporary policy issues.

Download the IAR’s strategic statement (PDF)