We collaborate with partners around the world to help build a more just, sustainable society. The university’s global engagement strategy, In Service, sets a path to harness our extraordinary resources and strengths for the greater good – together.


We find ourselves today in a landscape of divided nations, political polarization, pandemic and a widening gap between rich and poor, haves and have-nots. At stake is the health of the planet, prosperity, peace and financial stability across countries and continents. Our approach is to work together with communities of all shapes and sizes near and far on problems they identify – and to collaborate with these partners on co-creating solutions. We partner for research, student education, cross-cultural understanding and learning – about ourselves, each other and our place in the world.


This strategy marks a cultural shift, and an attitude change. We see the role of the university as a “global actor” – with a pivotal part to play in building a better world. We want to stand “in service” to people, ideas and the planet. UBC is a leading university and international research centre with a wealth of resources: research, technology, some of the world’s brightest minds and a collective service capacity. It is our responsibility to leverage that for the greater good.

In Service is a call to action, buoyed by a deep commitment to act on the basis of: humility, not hubris; compassion, not competition; engagement, not estrangement 


In Service will guide the university’s global partnerships, educational initiatives, research collaborations and solutions-focused work for the next decade. It is our road map, directing how our commitments around the world can deliver on UBC’s purpose “to foster global citizenship and help build a more just and sustainable society.”

Embracing the view that universities are “global actors,” working collaboratively with partners from a range of sectors and geographies, the plan focuses on two goals: 

  • to catalyze transformative learning experiences in global contexts, and on global issues, that will shepherd our students on their voyages towards global citizenship and leadership 

  • to enhance the impact of our scholarly activities, creative endeavours and service capacity to help build a better world


In Service is a collective effort: the result of much thought, consultation and collaboration. The university unveiled a new strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, in 2018 that sets out a vision, purpose, goals and strategies for the years ahead. Building on the consultation process that informed the development of that plan, a working group – of students, staff and faculty across UBC’s two campuses – helped create the global engagement strategy framework.


In Service details two pillars, four themes and four pathways for action:

Two pillars
  • Fostering global citizenship
  • Contributing to building a better world

These represent UBC’s purpose that global engagement can advance.

Four themes
  • UBC as a global actor
  • Students as global citizens
  • Issues of global relevance
  • Developing global capacity

These drive decision-making and help the university prioritize what to engage in, with whom and how – to effect transformational change.

Four action directions
  • Partnerships
  • Educational experiences
  • Infrastructure
  • Communications

These represent pathways to steer our collective action, operational strategy and implementation priorities.