Riddled with conflict, instability and social change, 2016 was a year that presented substantial policy challenges. Responding to the quickly changing global environment, the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) has released “Turbulent Present, Uncertain Future: 2017 Global Trends Report” – a Centre for International Governance Innovation(CIGI) Graduate Fellows anthology on Canadian foreign policy in a changing world. The anthology contains policy briefs prepared by the BSIA master’s and doctoral students for officials at Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

“From the protracted civil war in Syria to the Brexit vote and discord of the US presidential election, the past year was one of tremendous upheaval and turmoil in global politics” said John Ravenhill, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) in Waterloo. “For a country like Canada – which depends on international cooperation for its prosperity and security – this trend poses particular policy challenges.”

Turbulent Present, Uncertain Future is the final output of the 2015-16 CIGI Graduate Fellows program, a professional development program run by the BSIA in partnership with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Canada’s leading international affairs think tank. Through this project, students engaged directly with top items on Canada’s policy agenda, including: climate change, migration and displacement, arctic governance, trade with emerging economies, and humanitarian engagement.

“Confronting the most pressing global policy challenges requires that organizations, and especially think-tanks, continue to support innovative thinking and problem solving around these issues” said Aaron Shull, BSIA Board member & CIGI’s Chief Operating Officer. “This report is a clear demonstration of CIGI and the Balsillie School’s commitment to sparking conversation on key trends internationally.”

Students were also able to gain mentorship and guidance from senior scholars based at the School and CIGI as they develop innovative policy solutions based on sound, empirical research and incisive analysis. This research was then presented to senior officials at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa by BSIA students this past summer.

“Our report aims to accomplish three things,” said Ravenhill. “First, to identify new and emerging trends that could significantly impact the world in five to ten years’ time. Second, to offer new policy insights from the next generation of dynamic thinkers on matters of international affairs. And third, to make recommendations designed to help adapt Canadian foreign policy to the ever-changing global realities of the twenty-first century. Our students have done a masterful job at all three.”


Established in 2007, the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) is an equal collaboration among the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Wilfrid Laurier University(Laurier), and the University of Waterloo (UW). The School is home to three world-class academic graduate programs in Global Governance and International Public Policy offered by UW and Laurier.

We are the Centre for International Governance Innovation: an independent, non-partisan think tank with an objective and uniquely global perspective. Our research, opinions and public voice make a difference in today’s world by bringing clarity and innovative thinking to global policy making. By working across disciplines and in partnership with the best peers and experts, we are the benchmark for influential research and trusted analysis.