Global Governance students gain crucial research experience with Global Affairs Canada

Monday, December 21, 2015

UWaterloo graduate students based at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) will soon work with the federal government on research and analysis projects as part of their fellowships at Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Their findings and recommendations will be reported to Global Affairs Canada, formerly known as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development the renamed.

“Students have been asked to identify new and emerging trends that could have a significant impact on the world in five- to ten-years' time, and to develop recommendations to adapt Canadian foreign policy to the changing and evolving nature of the global operating environment in the 21st century,” explains Kathryn Hochstetler, Interim Director of the MA Global Governance.

The Global Governance students’ research will examine groups and relationships such as the Intersection of BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and Energy Governance, Remittances and Women’s Economic Power in the Middle East and North Africa, and the North American Network on Environmental Migration and Policy.

“The primary objective of the program is to have an impact by providing innovative research and policy advice to the Foreign Policy Bureau at Global Affairs Canada,” says Hochstetler. “The work that our students do over the course of the year will help the department develop evidence-based policies that advance Canada's interests abroad.”

Students will present their findings and policy recommendations to Global Affairs Canada in spring 2016.

The MA in Global Governance (MAGG) program typically admits 15 to 17 students per year. All students in the MAGG program participate in the CIGI Graduate Fellowship program, and the majority receive $15,000 in funding support from CIGI. This year, PhD students have also been invited to participate in the program.

The CIGI Graduate Fellowship Program provides an opportunity to gain mentorship and guidance from senior scholars and policy practitioners, as students advance their own policy research and writing skills.

“At the end of the program, students will be able to say with confidence that they have real experience doing high level, evidence-based policy development and analysis,” says Hochstetler. “These skills are crucial for anyone considering a career in government, with an international organization or a non-governmental organization.

The program has already seen its share of successes. Last year's Asia-Pacific Security team produced the first and only comprehensive analysis of Air Defense Identification Zones worldwide, as well as a set of policy recommendations to avoid threats to aviation safety and regional security. The recommendations found their way to all major capitals in the region, as well as to Washington, D.C., where the students briefed senior officials at the National Security Council and the State Department.

“Our presentations at the National Security Council, the US State Department and American University in Washington, D.C. allowed our research and the CIGI Graduate Policy Brief to come to life in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible,” says recent MAGG graduate Jinelle Piereder. “It was an incredible feeling to be able to brief experts on a subject that has been so misunderstood, and then to see it fit into the broader policy picture.”

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