Canada and the World, Ep. 1: The Saudi spat

A new podcast series from and The Balsillie School of International Affairs.

By: /
10 August, 2018

In the first episode of a new podcast on Canadian foreign affairs — produced through a partnership between and The Balsillie School of International Affairs — we explore the issue that has filled editorial pages around the world this week: the diplomatic dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia. 

An Aug. 2 tweet from Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland commenting on human rights in Saudi Arabia — possibly now one of the most famous tweets in Canadian history — prompted a week of retaliatory announcements from the kingdom. Does a “Trump effect” play into the Saudis’ boldness? Should a Canadian official visit the country to “mend fences”? How do we bring the tone of the squabble down a notch?

This kick-off episode of Canada and the World explores the background details and possible ways forward for Canada with the sharpest experts in the field. Download the episode below or find the series iniTunesor other podcast applications.  

Our host

Bessma Momani is professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and University of Waterloo and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She’s also a non-resident senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington and a Fulbright Scholar. She has been non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a 2015 Fellow at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She’s a frequent analyst and expert on international affairs in Canadian and global media. 

This week’s guests

Thomas Juneau is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses mostly on the Middle East, in particular on Iran and Yemen. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, he worked for the Department of National Defence from 2003 to 2014, chiefly as a strategic analyst covering the Middle East. He was also a policy officer and an assistant to the deputy minister.

Amarnath Amarasingam is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a senior fellow at the Canadian International Council, and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo.

Walid Hejazi is an associate professor of economic analysis and policy, and academic director, at the Rotman School of Management. He also sits on the board of the Canada Arab Business Council. Walid has also developed and teaches a successful MBA course in Islamic finance, the first such course in Canada.

Canada and The World is produced and edited by Matthew Markudis. Each episode is available for download (below) and can also be found on iTunes and other podcast applications.  

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Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

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