Founder and Publisher of OpenCanada.org and Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at UBC
For the past eight months I have had the thrill of working with the CIC to answer the following question: what if the CIC wanted to build the online hub for international affairs discussion in Canada? The challenge was to merge an organizational website, with a media platform. This site is our first iteration of the answer.
We have approached this in several ways. In our section called The Think Tank we engage with, analyze and promote research and journalism produced both around the world and in Canada. We will not replicate the primary content creation role of other think tanks and publications. Our Rapid Response feature provides real-time reactions to world events directly from the BlackBerrys of eminent Canadians. I'm very excited about the initial group, which we will continue to expand. Our group blogs bring top academic and international discussions into an approachable and inviting format. The Roundtable, our first group blog, tackles the field of international relations and features four leaders: Roland Paris, Jennifer Welsh, André Pratte and John Hancock.
The editors of opencanada.org will post from this blog, Dispatch. Here you can find commentary on international affairs from myself and deputy-editor Anouk Dey, as well as postings by the CIC President Jennifer Jeffs. On Twitter our @cicdispatch handle will curate and engage with the growing and dynamic community of international affairs scholars and policy-makers.
Site-wide we will run a full media production suite. Our CIC Events Calendar and Global Events Calendar will alert you to organized events, from international elections to the activities of organisations and universities, both national and abroad. On our homepage we run a Twitter feed that selects topical tweeters each week. We plan to host virtual and live events and, wherever possible, to use technology to facilitate online engagement. Through this variety of features we will promote other think tanks, academics, and journalists while encouraging a lively discussion of international affairs. To be the hub of a conversation, we need to be completely open. This platform is yours as much as it is ours.
While this site is a work in progress, it is a labour of love, and we have a host of exciting expansions and projects to roll out over the coming months. We can't wait to build the 21st century platform for international affairs in Canada – a platform that has been for too long absent. Welcome to opencanada.org, Canada's online hub for international affairs!