Alumni Profile - Simon Palamar

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Simon PalamarSimon Palamar has always been fascinated by the world. Attending the University of Waterloo for his undergraduate, Simon received a Joint Honours degree in PACS and History. From there he went on to receive his Masters of Global Governance at UWaterloo, and finally to Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs to receive his PhD.

This fascination with the world around him Simon credits to his grandfather who worked for the Mennonite Central Committee managing development projects in Bangladesh. Simon would often visit his grandfather throughout his childhood and learned a lot from these experiences.

“He was interested in the world and what is out there, recognizing that we live in a vast world with many different people, people with different values, hopes, and beliefs. And he recognized the importance of finding a way to mend those differences and manage those differences in a positive way.”

These beliefs held by his grandfather are beliefs that Simon adopted, and while his grandfather triggered Simon’s interests of thinking in a global context, his time at PACS created an environment that fostered those interests and allowed Simon to explore them as future career options. In PACS classes Simon found that he was particularly interested in topics of international conflict, and managing conflict between countries.

Simon currently works as a Research Fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) within their Global Security and Politics Program, and has been doing so since the completion of his PhD in 2012. In this position Simon facilitates dialogue between foreign policy professionals and national governments in consultations on sensitive policy issues including national security and refugee law. This role means that Simon is consistently working to manage relationships between people with fundamentally different values and beliefs.

“What I’ve found through my work is that students should take advantage of the professional skills that PACS has to offer. You take a degree like PACS, and you can develop yourself. It’s not about learning facts and regurgitating them, but training yourself to deal with challenges, people, and conflict. PACS lets you take courses on mediation, negotiation, you can learn to moderate differences and that is so valuable. In every job that exists knowing how to work with people and how to manage conflict calmly is a key strength.”

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