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In Depth

How to teach international affairs in an era of flux

Series Contributors:
In the fall of 2018, University of Northern British Columbia professor Heather Smith brought together a panel of international relations scholars at the annual meeting of the Prairie Political Science Association. One of her requests to the five panel participants was that they share how they are teaching “Canada in the world,” particularly in the Trump era, which is perceived by many to be a time of considerable flux. A lively conversation ensued — one that she says was made richer by the academics’ ...

Is the future of foreign policy feminist?

Series Contributors:
Under the government of Justin Trudeau, Canada has embraced a feminist foreign policy — gradually at first, and with fervor over the past year. In June 2017, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland declared: “It is important, and historic, that we have a prime minister and a government proud to proclaim ourselves feminists. Women’s rights are human rights. That includes sexual reproductive rights and the right to safe and accessible abortions. These rights are at the core of our foreign policy.” Days late ...

The War is Just a Click Away

Series Contributors:
People who live far from war may remain connected to it continuously, intimately and sometimes dangerously, through their digital devices. For much of humanity, we can now say that war is just a click away. These digital connections to conflict are double-edged. Activists can provide assistance and coordinate with people in the midst of conflict, but their communications may be intercepted and their colleagues captured, tortured or killed. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can alert la ...

Finding Home: An exploration of inclusive societies

Series Contributors:
How can we promote more welcoming communities and better integration of newcomers?  As the world faces the challenges of mass migration, inequality and xenophobia, an important conversation emerges around the models of pluralism that are working, and those that are in desperate need of innovation.  With a new initiative launching in Canada called 6 Degrees — a three day event promoting debate on these very issues — OpenCanada has brought together a diverse group of voices to further the discussion.  ...

Afghanistan in Review: Looking back at Canada’s longest war

Series Contributors:
Canada’s war in Afghanistan cost Ottawa at least $18 billion, with more than 40,000 members of the Canadian Forces serving there from 2001-2014, helping to overthrow the Taliban and chase out al-Qaeda. Many other Canadians spent time in the country working in a government capacity, doing development work with NGOs, or bearing witness as journalists. Battles were fought and blood was spilled — 158 Canadian soldiers and thousands of Afghan civilians lost their lives — in an effort to stem corruption, s ...

The Making of Kurdistan

Series Contributors:
Who are the Kurds? Is a future Kurdish state possible? Despite being more than 25 million strong, this Middle Eastern ethnic group has never had a country of its own. In this new series, we explore state-building efforts across the region and the implications of new alliances between Kurds and other actors in light of the fight against ISIS.  With a video explainer on the group’s history, an in-depth feature from Michael Petrou on the state of affairs in Iraq, a field report from Emily Feldman ...

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing: Highlights from this year’s finalists

Series Contributors:
Each year, the Writers’ Trust of Canada awards $25,000 for a work of literary non-fiction that has the potential “to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life.”   This year’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing will be awarded on April 20 at the Politics and the Pen event in Ottawa. In advance of the event, OpenCanada is running excerpts from all five finalists: Stephen Harper, by John Ibbitson; Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Ind ...

Books, not bombs: Exploring a crucial missing piece in counter extremism strategies

Series Contributors:
This series explores religious education as a relatively untapped resource in governmental strategies for countering violent extremism.  Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council in November of 2013 with the claim that religious education is an issue of global security.  His speech underscores the need for an education approach “that opens young minds to ‘the other’, those who are culturally and religiously different,” an ...

The Politics of Inequality

Series Contributors:
The last three decades have seen the emergence of Gilded Age levels of inequality. The 2008 financial crisis, the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movements all sparked renewed focus on this widening of income inequality, amid fears that the ‘one percent’ could eventually hold more wealth than 99 percent of the population combined. The inaugural 2015 UBC Lind Initiative, hosted by the Liu Institute for Global Issues, examines the far-reaching effects of inequality – not only when it comes to in ...

Inequality Explained: Six essays from University of British Columbia students

Series Contributors:
The inaugural 2015 UBC Lind Initiative, hosted by the Liu Institute for Global Issues, examines the far-reaching effects of inequality. A speaker series led by economist Joseph Stiglitz and featuring Jill Abramson, Teju Cole, Jeffrey Sachs and Elizabeth May was held in the Fall Term of 2015, while a series of essays, analysis and feature stories ran concurrently on OpenCanada.org. Along with the series, Taylor Owen led a seminar class exploring the topic of inequality through the ...

Mending a global giant: How to fix a 70-year-old United Nations

Series Contributors:
As the United Nations turns 70 on Oct. 24, we look at some of the more pressing areas in need of reform and increased support within the institution — from the refugee system and peacekeeping operations to how secretaries general and security council members are selected.  Should the UN’s unpaid internships be abolished (yes!) and should Canada ramp up its involvement in peacekeeping missions (also yes!)? Reforms within the UN have long been identified. With contributions from Ramesh Thakur, Paul Mey ...

Back to Nigeria: Stories from the battle against Boko Haram

Series Contributors:
Founded more than 10 years ago, Boko Haram, the extremist group in northern Nigeria, jolted into global consciousness with the abduction of nearly 300 girls in April, 2014. Since, stories about the communities affected by its terrorizing tactics, about the regional effort to fight it, and about a new President who promised to put a final end to it, have ebbed and flowed in and out of international headlines. In this series, a partnership between OpenCanada.org and the Montreal Institute for Genocide ...

Understanding ISIS: Myths and Realities

Series Contributors:
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has emerged out of the power vacuum created by the Syria civil war. In a very short period of time the group has captured and held territory in both Syria and Iraq, which consequently gave rise to an international military coalition to stop the group. Western countries and Arab states appear to be united and see the group as a threat to international peace and security. But it is not just national governments that are taking notice. ISIS has shocked the ...

Aligning the Americas

Series Contributors:
The seventh Summit of the Americas ended this past week with host Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela declaring the event “historic,” saying it create a “legitimate expectation” that age-old and recent regional tensions would be resolved — most notably those between Cuba and the U.S., and the government of Colombia and the FARC. As the first in its history to include representatives from all 35 states in the region, the summit was indeed historic. But did the handshaking and official statements r ...

On the Verge

Series Contributors:
Only one week into 2015, and January has proven to be anything but a sleepy, slow month — one often hushed by the deep cold in some parts of the world and hot summer days elsewhere. The end of 2014 came with all kinds of predictions, hopes and warnings for 2015, some of which are suddenly closer than ever: there are now indications that U.S. President Barack Obama will veto Keystone Pipeline legislation; the family of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who has been imprisoned in Egypt for more than a ...