Welcome, Professors and Students

CIC President Jennifer Jeffs offers a tour of OpenCanada.org.
By: /
September 8, 2011

As a new academic year begins, I and the editors of OpenCanada.org would like to welcome professors and students across the country to join our conversation on Canadian foreign policy and international affairs. Our goal is to make our site an important resource for you on current global issues.

OpenCanada.org, which launched in June, is the CIC’s website devoted to fostering our national dialogue on international issues. OpenCanada.org uses a wide range of web-based tools and publishes various types of editorial content. Three features should prove exciting to the academic world as the fall term develops:

(i) The Think Tank is the CIC's thought lab on international affairs. This section brings internationally-produced content into the Canadian discussion, soliciting responses from Canadian and global experts. After the attacks in Oslo and Utøya, we asked Stephen Walt and other terrorism experts to comment on whether al-Qaeda has hijacked the terrorism discourse. We have solicited comment from Paul Evans and Michael Hart on the impact of China's rise on Canada and from Brian Milner, Lou Pauly and others on whether Germany will save Europe. In addition, OpenCanada asked Graeme Smith, Harper's Magazine's Matthieu Aikins and Mark Sedra to review Canada's legacy in Afghanistan, interviewed Margaret MacMillan, Clay Shirky and Jeremy Kinsman on the impact of Wikileaks on history and diplomacy and generated a list of the #cdnfp (Canadian foreign policy, in Twitter lingo) Twitterati. In the next month, prominent Canadian conservatives will share their views of what a conservative Canadian foreign policy should become, while Don Tapscott, Jim Milway, Andrea Mandel-Campbell, Ed Burtynsky, Steve Blank and others will reflect on whether Canadian manufacturing can compete in a globalized world.

(ii) The site's signature Roundtable blog follows discussion on current international events among Roland Paris from the University of Ottawa, Jennifer Welsh from the University of Oxford, John Hancock from the WTO and André Pratte of La Presse. Recently, these bloggers have been engaged in vigorous debate about Canada's role in Libya; since our launch this summer, Roundtable has also covered the UK riots, the debt ceiling, the impact of Twitter on journalism and the Responsibility to Protect.

(iii) Finally, Rapid Response presents short, informed responses to a weekly question on a timely global issue from a group of eminent Canadians. For instance, Louise Fréchette, Rob Prichard and Janice Stein weighed in on, "What issue should John Baird prioritize?" Roméo Dallaire had thoughts on, "Does the creation of a Southern Sudanese state point to secession as the solution to other African conflicts?" while Yuen Pau Woo, Bruce Jones and others responded to, "What's the ultimate objective of Harper's softer stance on China?"

OpenCanada.org aims to be the place where creative thinking on Canadian foreign policy happens. To do this, we hope to engage academic communities across the country. We hope that students in particular will participate in the discussion, both by adding comments at the bottom of posts and tracking @CICDispatch on Twitter. We also welcome your input as this fledgling site takes off!

I look forward to your engagement with our site!

Photo courtesy of Reuters.