The BSIA held its annual CIGI Graduate Fellowship Symposium on Friday, April 21, which featured a compelling keynote lecture by Senator Raynell Andreychuk. Introduced by Mr. Jim Balsillie, the Senator spoke about her career as a champion for human rights, and stressed the impact individuals can have on policy.

As a lawyer, judge, diplomat and Senator, Senator Andreychuk has dedicated her career to advancing the principles of human rights, democracy, and universal justice. Called to the Senate in 1993, Senator Andreychuk became the first female Senator to represent the province of Saskatchewan. She played an integral role in establishing the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, and served as its Chair from 2001 to 2009. She continues to serve as Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators.

Each year, BSIA Masters and PhD students present the drafts of their CIGI Graduate Fellowship policy briefs at this Symposium. It is an opportunity for the students to gain feedback on their drafts from their peers and from BSIA faculty. This year there were 15 presentations, focused on a wide range of issues from refugees and migration to health and development. The BSIA was also pleased to welcome The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who joined us for part of the afternoon.

The students will now take the feedback provided at the Symposium to finalize their policy briefs, which they will present in Ottawa to members of Global Affairs Canada on Friday, June 23.