The Vancouver Institute

Since 1916, the Vancouver Institute has brought the University of British Columbia and Vancouver community together through free public lectures and discussions. Driven by volunteer membership and donations, the Institute hosts influential academics and political leaders from around the world. The Global Reporting centre is proud to partner with The Vancouver Institute. In collaboration, both organizations support interdisciplinary ideas and a strong, community-driven culture at UBC.

To contact us, please email or leave us a message at 604-822-8061 and we will call you back.

Upcoming Vancouver Institute Events

Living with COVID-19: The Long Game

Dr. Réka Gustafson is involved in surveillance, prevention, and control of communicable diseases, such as HIV and Tuberculosis, and outbreak response. She is responsible for the delegated functions of the BC Centre for Disease Control under the Public Health Act.

From Discovery to Application: ACE2 as a Rational Therapy for COVID-19

Dr. Josef Penninger's findings on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and its role in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infections have contributed to the rapid identification of a potential drug molecule that entered Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 infection in April 2020.

The Insight Mission to Mars

Dr. Catherine Johnson’s expertise is in comparative planetary geophysics. She seeks to understand the internal structure and the long-term evolution of our solar system bodies.

Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment

Ms. Sarah Milroy is a distinguished independent art critic, curator and essayist, as well as a vocal champion of Canadian art and artists. She is co-founder of the Canadian Art Foundation, and served as editor and publisher of Canadian Art magazine.

Is Canada Paying the Price for not Having a Robust Privacy Framework?

Dr. Michael Geist is an award winning legal scholar specializing in internet and copyright issues. He has edited several books including "Law, Privacy and Surveillance in Canada in the Post-Snowden Era" (2015), "The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law" (2013), "From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda" (2010) and "In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law" (2005).

About the Vancouver Institute

A Short History

The Vancouver Institution was established in February 1916, just five months after the opening of UBC. At this time, the Institute was known for its “town and gown” concept—local citizens could join with academics at UBC to organize, promote, sponsor, host, and present various lectures.

Behind this bridging model were three influential individuals: Lemuel Robertson, Associate Professor of Classics at UBC and Chairman of the Archaeological Institute; Frank Wesbrook, the University’s first president; and S.D. Scott, editor of the Vancouver News-Advertiser.

The Institute holds its lectures at UBC during the fall and spring academic terms, increasing community engagement with each year. Recently, the Institute has been fortunate enough to cosponsor speakers with several lectureship committees, such as Cecil and Ida Green, Leon and Thea Koerner, Dal Grauer, J.V. Clyne, E.S. Woodward, The Vancouver Sun, and External Affairs Canada.

The most celebrated speaker at the Institute was the Dalai Lama, who attracted around 10,000 people. Other notable past presenters include French academician Claude Levi-Strauss, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, and several Nobel Laureates.


Please note: Given the COVID-19 situation lectures are not taken place at UBC campus this fall 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do the VI lectures take place?

Given the COVID-19 situation, lectures will not take place on UBC campus this fall 2020. Lectures will be delivered via Zoom Webinar. The link to the lecture will be:

(1) delivered to you via email if you are a member,

(2) posted here and the Institute Facebook page

(3) published the Thursday prior to the lecture in the Vancouver Sun.

Do I need a VI membership if I want to attend the lectures?

You do not need to be a member of the Vancouver Institute; however, they are an all-volunteer organization and greatly appreciate your financial support. The cost of your membership and any donations are tax-deductible. Please direct all questions on how to apply for membership to

How will I receive my membership card?

Once we have received your payment, we will issue a tax receipt and a membership card and mail both to you.

Can I pay for my membership when I attend the VI lecture?

This fall we will not be taken payment in person. You can pay online here.

Become a member/donor

You can purchase a membership or make a donation by visiting our profile at CanadaHelps. You can also click here to download a PDF version of our membership application form or a Word Document version. These forms can be used for main in membership requests and donations.

Become a sponsor

The Vancouver Institute is a volunteer-led organization that has been running since 1916 on with the help of voluntary yearly subscriptions and welcome donations from public-minded citizens. You are invited to contribute to the sustainability of The Institute and support its lecture series by becoming a sponsor of the institute on an annual basis. All donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about how to become a sponsor please download our sponsorship guide here.

Download our 2020 Fall Program

Follow the link to download a PDF copy of our program.

Archive of Past Lectures

Click here to access the video archive of past lectures.

Contact Us

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Phone: (604) 822-8061