A decision by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) to withdraw its threat of censure against two universities is a vindication of the governance of the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA).
“We are pleased that the faculty associations recognize that the Balsillie School is soundly governed under the existing agreement. CIGI has always remained confident in the value of its partnership with the two universities, under a governance framework that fully protects academic freedom and academic integrity,” said CIGI President Rohinton Medhora.
The BSIA is a centre for advanced research and teaching on global governance and international public policy. Led by world-leading scholars, it offers graduate degree programs in global governance. It was founded in 2007, as a three-way interdisciplinary partnership among The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) and the University of Waterloo.
Early in 2012, the two universities’ Senates and Boards of Governors approved a BSIA governance framework, consistent with the original collaboration agreement among the three partners. That governance framework, drafted in consultation with administrations, faculty associations and students, is posted here: http://www.balsillieschool.ca/about/governance.
But in April, CAUT passed a motion at its council meeting in Ottawa, Canada, to initiate a process to censure the administrations of Laurier and the University of Waterloo over the governance framework.
Over the summer CIGI and the universities set out a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that elaborated on the governance framework, without changing it. The MoU explains how matters of academic freedom or integrity are to be protected under the framework.
This past Saturday, CAUT informally advised the universities that it had passed a new motion overturning the earlier one. It states "that, because of the provisions in the MoU signed by the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and CIGI with respect to the governance of the BSIA, CAUT withdraw its consideration of censure of the administrations of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University." The motion was moved by the faculty associations of both universities and passed unanimously.
“It has always been the vision of the three partners that the school’s academic matters are overseen by the universities, while CIGI brings significant research resources and its connection to a worldwide network of policy practitioners in global governance,” Medhora said. “This relationship is a unique and innovative advantage for a school of international affairs and is helping to attract outstanding talent to faculty and student enrolment alike.”
Outstanding scholars who have joined the Balsillie School as CIGI research chairs in 2012 under the existing governance framework include Jonathan Crush, Simon Dalby and Dr. James Orbinski – with more expected in the coming months. In 2012 so far, CIGI has issued 10 research awards for projects led by faculty of the two universities, including projects looking at diasporas in the Global South, East Asia-Arctic relations, the Arctic Council, global financial governance, China and Brazil as development donors, Agenda 21 climate change efforts, the internationalization of indigenous rights, international governance of intellectual property rights, state building in the Western Balkans, and United Nations peacebuilding. As well, BSIA and other university faculty and research chairs are important contributors to many CIGI projects including on the reform of the IAEA, the G20, the role of constructive powers, and the governance legacies of the financial crisis.
The BSIA is housed at the new, $70 million CIGI Campus in Waterloo, completed one year ago with $50 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments and $5 million in land donated by the City of Waterloo, as well as a donation from Jim Balsillie, chair and founder of CIGI. Besides the BSIA and CIGI, the CIGI Campus is also home to the Academic Council of United Nations Systems and Laurier’s International Migration Research Centre.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion, and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.