Victoria has had a long history and interest in international affairs. Victoria became a branch of the forerunner Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA) in 1936. However, in 1934, there were two Victoria representatives on the national council: W.T. Straith, a lawyer who later served in the provincial cabinet, and B.G. Nicholas, the legendary editor of the Victoria Daily Times. By 1936-37 the Branch was fully organized and its almost forty members met regularly to hear such speakers as F.R. Scott, Escott Reid, the CIIA’s first secretary, and F.H. Soward, as well as visitors from China and Australia.
Recent speakers have included Jonathan Manthorpe, Anne Park Shannon, Barry Carin, Jack Granatstein, Ken Taylor, Michael Byers, Valerie Raymond, Mark and Cora Lijek and John Adams.
Today, the Branch has about 200 active members, including academics, students, and interested public, many of whom have served in senior positions with the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and of National Defence. Often there are approximately 100 members and non-memberss who attend the monthly meetings to listen to and question guest speakers over lunch.
In addition, the Branch offers partnered support for speakers with Victoria’s Union Club; hosts a series, Politics in the Pub, an informal evening of panel discussions on various topics drawing on local expertise; and has held the occasional conference.
Past Chairman (Ex officio)
Members at Large
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