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Archive: Roads to Research Presentations 2009-10

All of these presentations have been archived and are available for viewing here.




A Tale of Two Chinese Special Economic Zones (SEZs): From Export-led to Sustainable Internal Growth?

Connie Carter - School of Business

In recent years, some Chinese scholars and Beijing policy makers have debated the need to rebalance the Chinese economy so that it relies less on exogenous growth (through export of low-priced, labour-intensive, manufactured goods) and more on endogenous growth (through domestic investments focused on higher value-added production, skilled labour and domestic consumption).  Perhaps in an attempt to support this initiative, the claim has been made that the Wenzhou SEZ (Special Economic Zone) in Zhejiang province experienced predominantly endogenous growth and that it outperformed the Suzhou SEZ in Jiangsu province whose growth is largely exogenous, powered by foreign direct investment (FDI). This claim remains unsubstantiated and is the focus of Dr Connie Carter’s research work.  Specifically, her study aims to discover whether it is true to say that the Wenzhou SEZ produced outcomes that are superior to and more sustainable than those achieved in the Suzhou SEZ. Secondly, if the basic hypothesis is true, the study seeks to identify the key factors that might account for Wenzhou’s superior performance. Thirdly, the study aims to uncover the role that law might have played in the socio-economic performance of the SEZs. Finally, it speculates on the sustainability of the chosen development path of each SEZ.


What You Always Wanted to Know About Conflict But Forgot to Ask

Greg Cran, School of Peace & Conflict Management
Greg Cran is asking and answering questions about conflict. How is it that we find conflict in every conceivable situation we encounter and in some cases ‘it’ won’t go away? What is it about conflict that leads one to war and then creates an industry that has its own fashion?
This presentation examines the anatomy of conflict - how we come to be in conflict, how we conceive of it and how labelling conflict shapes both our perception and the way in which we intervene.

Reducing Wildfire Hazards in the Wildland Urban Interface

Tom Hobby - Centre for Non-Timber Resources

Tom Hobby, an associate with the Centre for Non-Timber Resources (CNTR), has been doing research on how to assess and reduce fire threats to communities by reducing the amount of “fuels” (burnable woody biomass) in the area between urban development and wildland. The project addresses a critical knowledge gap with regards to providing guidelines of how to address the many issues surrounding the mitigation of fuels hazard and community wildfire protection planning.

The research team focused on the Rocky Mountain Trench region of BC, which has thousands of hectares of high fuel hazard in the wildland-urban interface. The fuel hazard has been increasing over the past century due to forest encroachment that has been caused by factors such as the exclusion of fire from the landscape along with low timber merchantability in the Trench valley bottom.

Tom will present the various aspects of the research, including how the bioenergy sector can benefit from fuels treatments. He will be joined by Bob Gray, a fire ecologist, who served as the lead fire science team member for this project.

Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: The Emerging Organizational Landscape with Generation Y at the Helm

Carolin Rekarmunro - School of Business

Join Carolin for an interactive session in which she presents her research findings on how organizations are preparing for the next generation of leaders, Generation Y (Gen Y) – those born between 1981 and 2000.  Noted as the highest performing and ambitious of the generations, and most likely to ignite radical change, GenY is considered the solution to the leadership gap. Not only in Canada, but on a global scale, the scarcity of qualified leadership talent has been identified as a critical issue. However, the challenge will be to attract, engage, and retain GenY, as they prefer self-employment to working for organizations. Hence, organizations need to enhance recruitment and engagement strategies, so that GenY leadership is in place for the height of Baby Boomer retirement.

Carolin has been conducting research, funded through RRU’s internal grants, that has launched this research in B.C. She will present her research findings in three key areas: the leadership role and competency profile required by GenY leaders; organizational initiatives that need to be in place to identify, develop, and retain GenY leadership talent; and anticipated changes as leadership roles are filled by GenY, and how these can be navigated to ensure a smooth transition in organizational functioning and staff relations.

Research as Storytelling

Philip Vannini - School of Communication & Culture

Drawing on stories from his research on BC Ferries, Phillip Vannini will invite you to reflect on the temporal and spatial dimensions of islands and coastal communities. We live on an island. We eat, sleep work on an island - how does that affect our lives? Getting off the island means either flying or taking the ferry. How do ferry boats shape our sense of time and place?

Island life rhythms can vary drastically across different island communities, and in contrast to ―the mainland. Through digital storytelling Vannini will discuss the phenomenon of island time by relating narratives and observations with regard to variations in life rhythms across communities and across ferry routes, across time.

He will talk about how ferry timetables shape the daily clock and pulse of a community and of individuals and reflect on the unique role played by traffic and weather delays in making island and coastal communities ―out of time, scrutinizing the ritualization of commuter travel. He will also reflect on the humanistic dimensions of living on island and coastal communities. How are island places different? What makes an island such? How are place and lifestyle connected in ferry-dependent communities, and what role does mobility play in shaping these unique forms of dwelling? Stories from his research will shed light on these and related issues.


The Nation-State versus Tribalism: Comparing the UAE and Pakistan

Kenneth Christie - School of Peace & Conflict Management
This study bring the two sides of the Arabian Sea into comparative focus, juxtaposing the UAE's state system which has successfully transformed from tribal coalitions to federated nation state in 1971, to Pakistan's colonial inheritance of a centralized parliamentary style polity in 1947. Both countries, at the moment of independence, had to face a rapidly modernising world while internally dealing with people loosely linked by ties of patronage, trade and agriculture, but without institutional frameworks of organisation and coexistence. The UAE managed to formulate strategies for governance and inclusion of this population in the project of nation building almost immediately. In contrast, Pakistan alienated vast portions of its tribal population, and perpetuated their exclusion from the national community in the inherited colonial belief that the 'tribe' was the antithesis of the modern state. The historic ties between these two regions, and their mutual adherence to Islam as a model for society and a basis for statehood forms the background of this research on  post colonial development and emergent nationalism in the two young states.


Treasures of the Cloud Forest: Explorations of the Huang Lien Mountains of Vietnam

Brian White - School of Tourism & Hospitality

Brian White will entertain and inform in this exploration of one of the most botanically diverse temperate mountain landscapes on earth. The objective of his research is to determine the best options for biodiversity protection and to identify rare plant species of potential horticultural interest. 



Wild Storms, Rising Seas and Earthquakes

Audrey Dallimore - School of Environment & Sustainability

Something strange happened 4,000 years ago. Without warning, drought and environmental turmoil ravaged farming societies in China, reverting some to nomadic wanderings in order to survive. Clues to how things went so awry so long ago lie hidden in layers of silt and algae found in sediments beneath the ocean floor off B.C.’s coast. The sediments are recovered during research missions aboard Canada’s ocean research vessel, the CCGS Vector. "Looking into the geologic or deep past, is the only way to understand the nature of our planet before humans were major players in the functioning of the Earth system,'" says researcher and School of Environment & Sustainability faculty member Audrey Dallimore. "Our instrument records are at best only about 100 years long." This session will also pose some thought-provoking questions about how we view sustainable development in the context of Earth processes that operate on time scales much longer than political administrations.


Prophets, prophecy, and the burden of environmental scientists

Rick Kool - School of Environment & Sustainability

The voice of the prophet has both disquieted the complacent and provided direction for the faithful. Rick Kool will argue that it is the environmental science community, and especially those engaged in sustainability analysis and climate change research, that are acting as modern-day prophets in direct continuation of the biblical prophetic voice. Providing analysis of their contemporary situation and projecting from those situations into the future, prophets apply an understanding of revealed truths, truths revealed by either divine revelation or by collected data and analysis, to describe the outcome of the trends they see. The life of a prophet, both then and now, is not simple, and those offering penetrating analysis of their society face a variety of hardships.