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Balsillie School of International Affairs turns 10

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) celebrates its 10th anniversary today.

The School is a unique partnership between UWaterloo, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (Canada’s leading think tank on international affairs), and Wilfrid Laurier University. The School, which came into being because of generous donations to the three partners from Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of Research in Motion (Blackberry), has established itself in a remarkably short period as a leading international centre for research and teaching in the field of international studies.

Ballsillie School interiorThe School was established in 2007 with a $33 million donation from Jim Balsillie made to the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) committing another $17M to the school. Both the University of Waterloo and WLU agreed to contribute another $25M each over ten years, making the total amount to establish the school $100M. The City of Waterloo leased the land beside CIGI where the school would be built. Construction on the CIGI Campus concluded in September 2011, and the building features a landscaped interior courtyard with public art, a signature bell tower and a wood-clad, 250-seat auditorium for academic and public events.

The school was established to improve world affairs through better understanding of other nations in joint Waterloo-WLU graduate programs in global governance and international public policy, plus the creation of new Balsillie Research Chairs and new Balsillie Fellowships for graduate students. The school’s unique partnership between a think tank focused on global governance and two universities known for innovation in research, teaching excellence and the student experience, provides unparalleled opportunities for collaboration among faculty, students and policy practitioners.

“For ten productive years the Balsillie School of International Affairs has been tackling the challenges of geopolitical and economic discourse head on,” says Feridun Hamdullahpur, president & vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “The Balsillie School has established a global legacy of excellence and as it enters its second decade, the University of Waterloo is excited at what the future holds as the School continues making a tremendous impact through its teaching, research and scholarship.”

In March 2018, Waterloo, WLU, and CIGI signed a 10-year funding agreement renewal for the BSIA.


This story was originally published in the Daily Bulletin.

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