Our university is a kind of universe. It has such breadth of interests and activities.

Leonard George, head & shoulders photographSo realized Capilano University psychology instructor Leonard George one day in 2010. Looking for a way to “share the riches” with the Vancouver community, he landed on the idea of hosting free lectures in public libraries.

The Capilano Universe public lecture series were popular from the first event, back in 2010, and have grown over subsequent years. They are now organized by psychology instructor Danielle Labossiere.

 The Capilano Universe Presentation Series 2019 includes:


Condor’s Quest: Mysteries of the Andes


Tuesday, January 15 | 7-8:45 p.m.

North Vancouver District Public Library, Lynn Valley Branch

A condor sees all from above. That aerial view is a sort of wisdom; it puts things in perspective. In the five-thousand-year arc of pre-Hispanic civilization in the Andes, two locations shone as beacons of transformative wisdom – Chavín de Huántar (in what is now Peru) and Tiwanaku (Bolivia). Modern researchers are casting light on the mysteries of these sites, finding that the condor’s wisdom may be vital for the human race to survive.

Leonard George, PhD is a Canadian psychologist, educator, writer and broadcaster. He is chair of the School of Social Sciences at Capilano University, has written two books and dozens of articles, and given lectures and seminars on five continents. Well-travelled in body and in mind, he has celebrated the summer solstice with Mongolian shamans and spent the night alone in a haunted French castle, among many other adventures. Leonard is drawn to all things vast, intricate or purring.


Liminal Storytelling: Where do we belong in the Transition Between the Past and the Future?


Tuesday, January 22 | 7-8:45 p.m.

Burnaby Public Library – Bob Prittie Branch

While we live in the present, past memories and future hopes are nevertheless entangled in our minds and experiences. Memories of hardship can remain and haunt us. Human tragedies have effects at many levels, on individuals, families and society. This presentation considers how past memories of hardships, such as stories of the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) and Japanese Canadian injustice (1942-1949), have begun to give rise to hope and strength in people. Participants will be welcome to share their own liminal stories.

Yoriko Gillard, BA, MA is an instructor of Japanese at Capilano University. While teaching Japanese language, culture and art through a variety of creative practices in various educational communities, she tries to connect with people in reciprocal, respectful, affectionate and trustful relationships, the Kizuna way. Kizuna is a Japanese word that connotes strong feelings of belonging to one’s community, people, lands and nature. 


Swatting the Time Flies: How Our Sense of Time Relies on the Illusion of ‘Now’


Wednesday, February 6 | 6-7:30 p.m.

Gibsons and District Public Library

The passage of time is something that both vexes us and fascinates us simultaneously. In this talk, Doug will walk us through some of the modern cognitive psychological research findings on how we perceive and represent time, including the various factors that alter our perception of time – time can either fly or drag. It asks whether our sense of time changes as we age and if there are means through which we can modify our sense of time.

Doug Alards-Tomalin, PhD is an instructor in the Psychology Department at Capilano University. Doug earned his PhD from the University of Manitoba in 2015 and specializes in cognitive psychology, studying topics ranging from time, space and number perception, decision making, statistical learning and airport security. Doug has been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, Psychological Research and Journal of Air Transport Management. 


Rohingya: a Humanitarian Crisis


Thursday, February 28 | 7-8:45 p.m.

West Vancouver Memorial Library

The most pressing issue in Asia may be the genocide of Rohingya people from Myanmar. Today, nearly one million survivors are currently living in squalid refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. The solutions seem few as the international community has buried its head in the sand. This Capilano Universe presentation will look at this tragic situation. How did we get to where we are now? Where do we go from here? Can we get past the horror and find hope?

Charles Greenberg, PhD studied Geography and Asian Studies at the universities of Manitoba and British Columbia. He currently teaches in the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and Geography at Capilano University, and has worked and studied for many years in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh.


The Popularity of Populism, Should we be Concerned?


Thursday, March 14 | 7-8:45 pm

North Vancouver District Public Library – Capilano Branch

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 generated concern amongst political scientists and liberal democrats alike. Should we also be concerned in Canada? This presentation will begin with an overview of what populism is, as well as its track record in Europe and Asia. We will then engage in a (polite) discussion about populism in North America, and whether this phenomenon is sufficiently contagious to ‘infect’ the Canadian body politic.

Conrad King, PhD is an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Capilano University. His specialty is comparative politics and public policy, and he researches policy-making in Europe and Canada for the Institute for European Studies at UBC. 


Making International Connections through Art 


Thursday, March 28 | 7-8:45 p.m.

Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch

Recently, Allyson led a 17‐day trip to Taiwan, China and Singapore with the 17‐member Turning Point Ensemble, followed by the international co‐production of a world premiere opera in the Czech Republic (which was performed in Vancouver only a few months later). Allyson will share ideas and thoughts about working with artists of other cultures and in other languages.

Allyson McGrane has worked with hundreds of local, national and international performing artists as a Vancouver‐based arts producer. Recent projects with the Turning Point Ensemble have taught her a great deal about making international connections as both a host and a guest. In addition to hosting artists here in Vancouver, Allyson has also taken artists on the road.


Allies in Truth and Reconciliation: What Does it Mean to be a Part of the Journey? The Power and the Perils


Thursday, April 11 | 7-8:45 p.m.

North Vancouver City Library

Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation. Many of us make efforts to recognize the unceded territories we live and work on but is that enough? Like most Canadian educational institutions, CapU is working to Indigenize and decolonize its curriculum. Faculty members Judy Snaydon and David Geary will share their own experiences as they negotiate the road towards reconciliation in Canada. Judy will share some of her students' graphic design projects to demonstrate the importance of keeping Indigenous issues top of mind. David will share his unique perspective of being Indigenous but from another country, descending from both Māori and European settlers in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Judy Snaydon came to teaching after spending almost three decades working as a graphic designer in three different countries. Her pride in now being Canadian is marred by our country’s slow progress in addressing the 94 Calls to Action from the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. David Geary writes plays, film, TV, fiction and haiku on twitter (@gearsgeary). He teaches scriptwriting at Capilano University and Playwrights Theatre Centre, Vancouver. David lives by the yoga mantra: life is short, stretch it; he uses haka and karaoke to bring people out of themselves and into the world.


The Science behind Climate Change


Thursday, May 2 | 7-8:45 p.m.

North Vancouver District Public Library – Parkgate Branch

For at least the last 250 years, since the beginning of industrialization and the resulting explosive growth in the human population, human activities have been inadvertently impacting Earth’s climate. It is now estimated that these activities have caused Earth to warm approximately 1°C over pre-industrial levels. Climate scientists predict that if we allow Earth to warm another degree, or even another half a degree, there are very likely to be dangerous consequences including rising sea levels, decreasing Arctic sea ice, a complete loss of coral reefs and extreme weather. Science allows us to make predictions about the timing and magnitude of such effects. But most importantly our understanding of the science behind climate change allows us to appreciate the urgency with which we must act to prevent further warming. 

Sheila Ross has been teaching physical geography at Capilano University for more than 30 years. The courses she teaches are about our natural surroundings and the forces that shape them. She wrote the textbook Weather and Climate: an Introduction, which was published by Oxford University Press and appeared in its second edition in March 2017, and is currently working on writing another.



Presented by Capilano University in partnership with North Vancouver District Public Library, North Vancouver City Library, West Vancouver Memorial Library, Burnaby Public Library and Gibsons and District Public Library


Organizer Information

Danielle Labossiere, PhD


604 986 1911 ext. 3027