The Board of Directors of the BSIA is pleased to announce the appointment of global security expert and political scientist Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald as director of the School for the next five years, beginning August 1.

As director, Ann will be responsible for leading the Balsillie School’s world-class international affairs research, as well as the day-to-day operations of the School. She has also been appointed as full professor to Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Arts, where her faculty appointment will be in the Department of Political Science.

“Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald is an internationally recognized global security expert with a wealth of experience as both an administrative leader and scholar,” said Robert Gordon, Laurier’s provost and vice-president, as well as academic and board chair at the Balsillie School. “With Ann at the helm, we are extremely confident the Balsillie School will continue to grow as a preeminent centre in global governance and international public policy. We are thrilled to have her.”

Ann is currently a professor in Cranfield University’s School of Defence and Security at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. She holds a Chair in Security Sector Management and is the director, Defence and Security Leadership.

“I am honoured and excited to have the opportunity to lead the Balsillie School at a time of such complex and challenging dynamics in international relations,” said Ann. “I am also looking forward to returning to Canada, bringing my own background and international experience to bear on research and teaching in areas of exceptional importance to Canada’s international policy development.”

Ann has degrees in commerce and political science from Queen’s University and in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. She completed her PhD at Cranfield University and joined King’s College London University’s Centre for Defence Studies. Prior to engaging in an academic career, Ann worked in the financial services sector, the Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Training Centre and NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 2001, she returned to Cranfield’s Department of Management and Security, where she led the Centre for Security Sector Management and served as associate dean of research from 2006 to 2009. She is currently the course director of the master’s program in Security Sector Management, which is delivered in both the UK and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ann holds a number of non-executive board positions and visiting professorships. She is also a senior security and justice adviser to the UK Government. She has been engaged all over the world to facilitate strategic national security policy processes as well as internationally sponsored peace talks.

Ann will be replacing John Ravenhill, who has been the Balsillie School director since 2013. Prior to joining the School, John headed the School of Politics and International Relations in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University.

“We are so grateful for the outstanding leadership Dr. Ravenhill has provided over the past six years,” said Gordon. “The Balsillie School would not be where it is today without his vision, commitment and oversight.”

“I see the Balsillie School as a unique institution that provides students and scholars with the academic and experiential foundations to lead Canadian and international organizations in pursuing the most effective paths to global security and harmony,” said Ann. “I look forward to continuing the effective accomplishments of Dr. Ravenhill and building on the developments he has fostered.”

Ann will be relocating from the UK to Waterloo Region during the month of August.

To read the official news release, please visit Laurier’s website here.