“It’s a new world. Its problems are borderless, converging and increasingly urgent. Answers to the world’s problems must reach beyond the borders of nationality, creed and discipline. The Waterloo area in Canada provides the ideal crucible for research and teaching to find these answers.” —Jim Balsillie
The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) is an institute for advanced research, education, and outreach in the fields of global governance and international public policy. As an affiliate member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, we are a global network of scholars, practitioners and students, with a mission to develop new solutions to humanity’s critical problems, to improve global governance now and in the future, and to contribute to enhancing the quality of people’s lives around the world.
Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Jim Balsillie, the BSIA is an equal collaboration among the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the University of Waterloo (UW), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier). The collaborating institutions bring different but complementary strengths, so they have different roles and responsibilities. The two universities employ our faculty and postdocs, and offer the three academic programs; while CIGI, as a think tank, uses its in-house expertise and its worldwide network of practitioners to help inform and guide our outreach and collaborative research.
The management of the BSIA is overseen by a Board of Directors. Reporting to the Board, the Director provides leadership to the BSIA, with discussion and feedback from the Management Team and Council. The academic programs are offered and administered by the Universities.
In addition to offering three graduate programs in international public policy and global governance through the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, the BSIA also publishes its own peer-reviewed journal called the Balsillie Papers. Launched in 2020, the Balsillie Papers provides clear, concise, jargon-free articles about today’s most complex issues in international affairs.
The School is home to three research centres with an international profile – the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society (TSAS), the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC), and the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (LCSFS). Students have the opportunity to interact with these centres on a daily basis, and can become involved with them through project-based employment and/or research affiliations.
In April 2021, the BSIA also launched the Balsillie Executive Institute (BEI), offering certificate-based professional development short courses to those interested in enhancing their skills and remaining abreast of current sector-relevant thinking, without a commitment to full-time education. These short courses are generally four days in duration, and are offered in a virtual format.
“Our school is one of the largest initiatives in the social sciences in Canadian history. The unique integration of the collaborating institutions’ approaches and cultures gives us an unmatched ability to lead the thinking at a time of such complex and challenging dynamics in international relations”
—Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director