Philip Tanner

BA ’88 Political Science, MA ’90 Political Science

International development leader receives 14th annual Arts Alumni Achievement Award

Phillip Tanner at the water reservoir construction in Indonesia.2010 Arts Alumni Achievement Recipient: Phillip Tanner

Philip Tanner (BA ’88 Political Science, MA ’90 Political Science) is the 14th recipient of the Faculty of Arts Alumni Achievement Award. The award recognizes Arts alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professional field and in community and public service.

Having grown up in Asia, Africa, and Central America, Philip has been schooled in international institutes around the world. Since graduating from Waterloo, he has put development theory into practice and made a difference in people’s lives in places around the world, including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Algeria, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Uganda. A leader in the development field, he has worked at senior levels in global development organizations including the United Nation’s Development Program, World Vision, and Care Canada. Currently, Philip is director of global programs for the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada.

Following his MA degree, Philip worked with the United Nations (UNDP) for five years, and in 1997 he received his PhD from the University of Bradford in the UK. With 22 years of experience in development and relief activities worldwide, Philip’s work has made an impact internationally, and he is committed to social justice and poverty alleviation.

In 2004, he was appointed by Care Canada as field director in Bangladesh for the Rural Maintenance Program (RMP), an award-winning Canadian initiative that gave 185,000 destitute women jobs maintaining the dirt roads in their rural communities. With steady wages and careful savings, the program was designed to enable these women to feed their families, access medical care, learn valuable skills, and start small business ventures.

Phil is one of the bravest and most generous souls I have ever encountered,

says Peter Sharp (BA ’88, MA ’90 Political Science), a senior policy analyst with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who nominated him for this award.

Whether [he] is negotiating with drunken teenage soldiers carrying machine guns to deliver food aid to Sudan, or being a project manager to deliver drinkable water in remote rural villages, Phil has [chosen] this life and line of work in development at a great personal risk of surrounding war, revolution, famine, sickness, earthquakes, floods, and poverty.

Viewed by his peers as an academic and practitioner, Philip has mentored many young people working in the development field, contributing to their academic growth.

While at Waterloo, he was actively involved in student life, taking on leadership roles in the residence at Renison University College, participating in university-related choirs, and serving as president of the Political Science student’s association. Most recently, he presented and served in his capacity as an expert on a Group of Eight (G80 preparatory panel at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in Waterloo.

Philip says he is proud to receive the Arts Alumni Achievement Award.

I owe much to my former professors for their guidance and mentorship, which often guided me whilst in remote areas of the world,

he says. Philip recalls several professors who impacted him while at Waterloo: Andrew Cooper, John E. Kersell (supervisor for his Master’s work), Tanya Korovkin, William Moul, Richard Nutbown, John English, and Ashok Kapur.

I am truly humbled to return to my University to be recognized in this manner.

Along with his wife Kriti and two daughters Asha and Clara, Philip is actively involved in community work in Ottawa, Whitby, and Niagara Falls. In addition, he enjoys tennis and golf, and he is an accomplished 1st Tenor, who has performed in various musicals in Canada and overseas. He is also a member of the Royal Niagara Military Institute (RNMI), and a board director for the Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association (CCRDA).

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

Profiles by type