Happy Birthday OpenCanada.org!

CIC President Jennifer Jeffs celebrates our site’s first birthday.

By: /
21 June, 2012
By: Jennifer Jeffs

Past President of the Canadian International Council (CIC).

One year ago today we launched OpenCanada.org with pieces on the role of social media in the Arab Spring, the impact of Wikileaks on diplomacy, and good banking as good foreign policy. We created OpenCanada.org to be Canada’s hub for international affairs, an aggregator of the best content on international affairs, and a curator of great ideas from universities and think tanks across Canada and the world. This year has been incredible for OpenCanada.org, and I want to share some of our successes with you:

We have grown. One year after launching OpenCanada.org, we have published over 270 articles, 90 video interviews, curated 220 of the best international affairs content from around web, and gained more than 2,600 Twitter followers. We also launched the Weekly Dispatch newsletter to keep our readers and members up to date on OpenCanada.org content.

We have impact. Thanks to our amazing contributors, OpenCanada.org articles have been published by The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s, and our content has been featured on the websites of Foreign Policy Magazine and the Council on Foreign Relations, to name a few.

We engage in policy discussions. Earlier this month Minister John Baird answered tough questions from our readers about Canada’s foreign policy in a candid on-camera interview.  Our e-conference on the future of the Canadian military, launched in partnership with the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, was far-reaching.

We have adapted. Thanks to feedback from our contributors and readers, we have experimented with new formats for online content, online events and online engagement. We look to our readership to continue providing us with feedback as we experiment with online media.  

We continue to grow. We have a lot of plans in store for year two.  This year we will be launching a site redesign, working on longer essays and reported pieces, hiring more editorial staff, entering into new publication partnerships, and funding a wide range of research at the intersection of technology and international affairs through the Global Media Lab, a project beginning this summer.

As we mark our first birthday and plan to break new ground before our next, we hope that you will make a donation to support OpenCanada.org. We are non-profit and non-partisan, and our success this year is thanks to generous donations from our supporters and friends.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


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.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

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