2023: Lessons from Ukraine: Armed Conflict, Dictatorship, and Responses from Liberal Democracies 2022: A Wicked Problem: Individual Freedoms and Climate Change
The Roger W. Gale Symposium is currently on hiatus for the 2024 academic year and will return in 2025.
The Roger W. Gale Symposium in Philosophy, Politics and Economics is a regular event focusing on a current issue overlapping with the multiple disciplines within our department. The symposium brings various parts of the academy and the public into fruitful dialogue with a wide range of experts.
What: The war in Ukraine, the authoritarianism which motivated it, and its implications for the future of democracy and peace in the world.
Who: Norman Naimark (historian, Stanford University), Barbara Falk (political scientist, Royal Military College of Canada), Adam Jones (political scientist, UBC), Marco Sassoli, (international human rights lawyer, Geneva University), Stephen Turner (philosopher, USF), Serhy Yekelchyk (Ukraine area studies – University of Victoria) and Seva Gunitsky (Associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto).
When: March 1-2, 2023
The 2022 Roger Gale Symposium convened on another urgent topic of our times: the war in Ukraine, the authoritarianism which motivated it, and its implications for the future of democracy and peace in the world.
Since February 2022, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has created a new and shocking global reality: the potential that the regional conflict between Ukraine and Russia could escalate into a wider war, perhaps including attacks with nuclear weapons. To keep the conflict from spiralling out of control and support Ukraine in its struggle, the Western world has made rapid and consequential decisions involving national states and international-military actors.
How should we assess the responses of liberal democracies to the invasion of Ukraine? What roles have key international organizations, such as the United Nations, NATO, and the EU, played in the unfolding crisis?
How do these events challenge assumptions about international politics after the Cold War, particularly when dealing with authoritarian regimes and dictatorships? What are the political and economic implications as the boundaries of the old international order are redrawn?
The Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science brought together a roster of distinguished speakers to address these questions and to provide a wider historical context for current events.
The event was organized in thematic panels hosted on campus at UBCO, UNC 200, on topics such as the following:
The event also featured Professor Naimark’s keynote address.
What: Should we limit individual freedoms to stabilize the climate? Can we stabilize the climate without such restrictions?
Who: Diverse expert panel discuss if individual choice should be restricted to preserve the climate.
There is no reasonable doubt that the collectivity of individual human decisions has substantially changed the global climate, and on its current trajectory, the rate of change is accelerating. The impacts of this change are being seen around the world as wildfires, heat waves, torrential rains and powerful storms. The more heat-trapping gasses are added to the atmosphere, the further the climate will change and the greater the risk that the climate system tips into a new and substantially different state. A state that will seriously disrupt all ecological systems – within which human systems are embedded – on the planet.
Each of us has a range of choices available that have differing impacts on other people and the global environment.
The goal of this symposium was to explore if individual choices should be constrained for some so that the global climate system can be stabilized.
Guest speakers included:
What: Is there a vaccine for the infodemic?
Who: Diverse expert panel on how we can combat misinformation while preserving free speech
Sometimes it seems as though the world is spiralling out of control as unreflective thinking, mistrust, fake news, and conspiracy theories wreak havoc. In the last year, the impact of misinformation reached epic proportions during the pandemic and the American election. Authoritarian regimes engaged in information warfare with ever more sophisticated tools and greater reach. Meanwhile, social media platforms came under fire by many for not doing enough to counter misinformation, and by others for undermining free expression with a heavy-handed overreaction.
To stave off the negative impacts of misinformation, we first need to understand it. The good news is that researchers from across the disciplines have begun to make real progress. The goal of this symposium was to bring together eight leading voices from this effort to help us understand and counter the threat.
Guest speakers included:
What: Humans, machines and the future of work
Who: Experts in public policy, higher education and international business
When: November 2, 2018
Technological progress is significantly changing the world of work. A new wave of disruption is impacting traditional jobs, industries and business models. Canadians are increasingly employed in non-traditional industries, working flexible hours and using technology to change the way they work.
The goal of this symposium was to explore what influence the continuing march of technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will have on where we work and how we work, and where we fit in an automated world.
Guest speakers included:
What: Symposium on Nuclear North Korea: Implications for Canada and the Region
Who: Canada’s former ambassadors to Korea and China, and several experts on the region
When: March 12, 2018
On the margins of the international community for decades, North Korea has been pursuing and ramping up a nuclear program and has made direct threats toward the United States. The most recent threat came in November when the country claimed to have successfully tested a new type of international ballistic missile that could reach North America, a claim that US-based experts confirm is supported by their data.
Heightened rhetoric from Leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have made frequent headlines around the world, leaving many people concerned about what appears to be an increasing threat, and unsure what is hype and what is reality.
The daylong symposium brought together six experts to discuss the nature of the threat, the historical context, the competing geopolitical interests in the region and what role Canada should play.
Speakers at this event included: Sven Jurschewsky, former Senior Counselor, Canadian Foreign Service in China; David Chatterson, Canada’s Ambassador to Korea (2011-2014); Gunn Kim, Consul General of the Republic of Korea; Scott Snyder, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.; Jenny Town, US-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University; and Donald Baker, Professor of Korean History, UBC Vancouver.
The discussion examined how people can better assess what they see in the media on international politics and diplomacy.
The day included three sessions:
This symposium series is made possible through the generous support of Roger W. Gale.
Now living in West Kelowna, Roger holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the School of International Service, American University. Roger has had a diverse career, ranging from teaching at the university level to strategic consulting with global electric power companies. Roger remains active on the boards of two equity funds in the US and he continues his interest in post-secondary education.