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 a hub in a global network of scholars, practitioners and students, our mission is 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, 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 to BSIA different but complementary strengths, so they have different roles and responsibilities. The two universities employ BSIA faculty and offer BSIA’s academic programs, while CIGI, as a think tank, uses its in-house expertise and its worldwide network of practitioners to help inform and guide BSIA’s outreach and collaborative research. The BSIA is also the home to three research centres with an international profile – the Academic Council for the United Nations System (ACUNS), the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.
The unique integration of the collaborating institutions’ approaches and cultures gives BSIA an unmatched ability to promote vigorous engagement across boundaries of discipline and practice, to connect today’s experts with tomorrow’s leaders in critical debate and analysis, and to achieve—in all its work—the highest standards of excellence.
“It’s a new world. It’s accelerating. Its problems are borderless, converging and increasingly urgent. Some societies and institutions are changing fast to meet the challenges, aggressively and irrevocably. But others are falling further and further behind. 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 situated within the CIGI Campus. The facility is located in the heart of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada — a multicultural city with a tradition of creative and dynamic thinking. The Campus is an “incubator of ideas” and cultivates interdisciplinary learning focused on global issues.
Toronto-based Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects designed the campus, which is located directly beside the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
The CIGI Campus is a 1-hour drive from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, or 15 minutes from the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
This $69-million facility received federal and provincial funding totalling $50 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and Ontario’s 2009 budget. The land for the CIGI Campus was donated by the City of Waterloo through a 99-year lease.
Building Capacity in International Engagement
Photo: Maris Mezulis