By: /
June 20, 2011

Hello, CIC Roundtable and comrades Hancock, Pratte and Welsh. I’m looking forward to our virtual conversations on this blog.

By way of introduction, I’m a university professor and occasional visitor to the policy world, having served twice in government and as research director of Canada’s largest think tank.

Although my own research focuses on international security – specifically, civil conflicts and post-conflict peacebuilding – I’m basically a foreign policy nerd who’s interested in all things international, so you can expect my contributions to be wide-ranging.

I’ll certainly talk about events in Libya and Afghanistan. What are the prospects for these controversial missions? What are their implications for regional and international security, the future of NATO, multilateralism and humanitarian intervention?

No one can ignore the seismic effects of the Arab Spring and its aftershocks, whose reverberations will be felt for years. Let’s not forget that revolutions are rarely ended by those who start them.

I’m also interested in democracy promotion and international human rights more broadly. Have you heard about the case of Asia Bibi, a 40-year-old, illiterate mother of five who is on death row in Pakistan for “blasphemy”?

Having lived and worked in the United States for a decade and subsequently advised the Canadian government on relations with the behemoth to our south, I’ll be following the foreign policies of both countries as well as the bilateral agenda. Will the emerging Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness agenda represent a historic step forward in North American integration, or another mishmash of disconnected initiatives?

In my day job, I have the good fortune to direct the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) at the University of Ottawa, which hosts about 65 events a year for researchers, students, policy practitioners and journalists. I’ll mention some of these events in my posts because they feature an amazing array of thinkers and doers from around the world. (Our most recent guest was Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and now head of a new organization addressing climate justice.)

Finally, I’ll highlight some of the most interesting academic publications I come across.

Yes, it’s an ambitious agenda for an occasional blog, but there’s a lot to talk about these days! If you’re interested in even more, including links to interesting reports, please check out my Twitter account.