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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
December 6, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Jorge Heine
Dr. Jorge Heine


Political Science

Jorge Heine, On Sowing and Reaping

Mar 27/13

I am what South of the border is referred to as an "in-and-outer". This means someone who alternates stints in government with time in business or in academia. In August of 2013 it will be six years that I have been at WLU. I teach an undergraduate course in Modern Diplomacy (PO323) and a graduate one on Truth Commissions in Comparative Perspective (PO654). Both draw on my experience as a practitioner. This includes eight years as an ambassador of Chile to key countries in the Global South, at crucial moments of their history--first to South Africa during the presidency of Nelson Mandela , and then to India, as it opened up to the rest of the world and took it by storm.

My time in Waterloo, where I have appointments not just at WLU's Political Science Department, but also at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA), has led to the publication of five books. The latest is The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy, from Oxford University Press, co-edited with Andrew F. Cooper and Ramesh Thakur. With fifty chapters and nearly 1000 pages, it is the most ambitious publishing venture in diplomatic studies today. It was triggered by my first-hand experiences in Southern Africa and in South Asia on how the practice of this ancient craft is changing from what I call the "club model of diplomacy" to "network diplomacy". And the book was made possible by the extraordinary hub in international affairs studies that has sprung up in Waterloo over the past decade, with CIGI, the BSIA and ACUNS, among other institutions. Half a dozen of my BSIA and CIGI colleagues are among the contributors. I find the collegial atmosphere in WLU's Political Science Department, an entity going from strength to strength, as it builds up its IR capabilities, very congenial.

Another book of mine, La Nueva India, was published last December in Santiago by El Mercurio/Aguilar. It is the first book in Spanish on contemporary India, and it has been compared to Octavio Paz's Vislumbres de la India. My current project is a book whose working title is 21st Century Democracy Promotion in the Americas, under contract for Routledge. It will appear in their Global Institutions series, and I am writing it with Dr Britta Weiffen, a colleague from the University of Konstanz in Germany. I also like to participate in international public policy debates, and my columns are published by newspapers around the world. In Canada, I write frequently for the The Toronto Star. It was very gratifying when in 2010, three years after my arrival in this country, a group of executives and journalists selected me among the top ten most influential Hispanics in Canada.

In my forty-year professional career, I have lived and worked in four continents. When I moved to Waterloo, I did so from New Delhi, a city of 15 million. The contrast in lifestyles was considerable. As it happens, I find that college towns like Waterloo are more conducive to my writing than big cities. In the eighties, I lived and taught in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, also a college town of 100,000. That was a very fruitful period as well, leading to four books in six years. That said, I am still drawn to the wider world out there. I serve on the editorial boards of seven international affairs journals from five different countries. This gives me a useful window into developments in the field.

Much as my alternation between government and academia has been beneficial both for my public service and for my scholarship, I find that my teaching and writing at WLU in Waterloo, where I have had my base since 2007, also benefits from short stints elsewhere. They allow me to recharge my batteries and gather new energies for new projects, of which there seems to be a never-ending supply.

Jorge Heine

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