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Wilfrid Laurier University Development
December 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Jim Balsillie
Jim Balsillie

Headlines (Campus Updates)


Laurier to play key role in new Balsillie School of International Affairs

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jun 25/07

WATERLOO — Wilfrid Laurier University will play a prominent role in a $100-million initiative to make Waterloo a centre for international public policy and global governance research.

It was announced during a news conference yesterday that Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., is donating $50-million to create The Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo and to advance the ongoing research of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The new Balsillie school will house Laurier and University of Waterloo graduate programs in Global Governance and International Public Policy.

Laurier and UW will contribute approximately $25 million each to the initiative over the next 10 years.

The Ontario government is also providing $17 million directly to CIGI, according to Premier Dalton McGuinty, who attended yesterday’s news conference at the CIGI building in Waterloo.

The Balsillie school is scheduled to open in 2008 and to move into a new building in 2009 at a proposed location at Father David Bauer Drive and Erb Street, next to the existing CIGI building. The City of Waterloo is in the process of considering an agreement that would see the municipality lease the city-owned land to CIGI for the school’s new facility, Mayor Brenda Halloran said.

With both an academic and a financial investment, the Balsillie school will be a tangible representation of the strong ties and co-operation that exists between Laurier, UW and CIGI in the area of international governance research.

“None of this would be possible without these partnerships,” said Laurier president Dr. Bob Rosehart. “This ground-breaking commitment will allow us to pursue collaborative research on public policy and Canadian-delivered solutions to governance problems.”

Balsillie’s gift will also increase the number of Balsillie Research Chairs to 12 from three, and the number of Balsillie Fellowships for graduate students in International Studies to 24 from 15.

Approaching the study of international governance from an interdisciplinary perspective, the school will draw from political science, economics, history, geography, global studies, environmental studies and business disciplines. This approach will lead to the creation of “multi-disciplinary graduate programs of the highest calibre on international public policy issues,” said Rosehart.

“This opportunity will bring our research to the next level,” added Laurier dean of arts David Docherty. “We’ll house and increase the capacity of our existing programs and be able to compete with the biggest programs in North America.”

It’s all a natural fit for Laurier, which has been “building capacity in this area for the past several years,” said Rosehart. This year alone, Laurier announced a number of new programs with an international focus, which not only illustrates the university’s concentration in international affairs research, but also its multi-layered relationship with UW and CIGI.

In fall 2007, Laurier will launch the new Master’s in International Public Policy program (under which Balsillie Fellows complete internships at CIGI); a new joint PhD in Global Governance with UW; and a new undergraduate program in North American studies. Laurier already has a Centre for Global Relations, which falls under the directorship of Paul Heinbecker, a former ambassador to the United Nations, a distinguished research fellow at CIGI and now a distinguished cross-appointed fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Heinbecker is also a board member on the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), an organization that recently renewed Laurier’s prestigious position as the host – with the support of CIGI – of the ACUNS secretariat. As well, Partricia Goff, a Laurier professor of political science and CIGI senior research fellow, was appointed executive director of ACUNS. She will replace outgoing director Alistair Edgar, also an associate professor in Laurier's political science department, in July 2008.

The Balsillie School of International Affairs will prepare students for careers in national governments, international organizations, the private sector and as teachers or researchers in international affairs.

“The issues of today are borderless,” Balsillie said in announcing his donation. “It’s a different world. An accelerated world. One that is adopting change across the globe collectively, aggressively, and irrevocably. Understanding the forces of the climactic times we live in, and anticipating what is to come, means answers must reach beyond borders.

“The Waterloo area and Canada have a lot to offer to a deeper understanding of the many areas that impact global governance and international affairs,” Balsillie continued. “Ideas and creative thinking, the products that arrive naturally in a teaching and research environment, can go a long way in shaping our nation's contribution towards what is to be the world's future.”

Read The Record's coverage about the Balsillie school.

Lori Chalmers Morrison
Public Affairs


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