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Balsillie School of International Affairs

The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) is a centre for advanced research and teaching on global governance and international public policy, located in Waterloo, Ontario. The school is a collaborative partnership between Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The BSIA is housed in the north and west wings of the CIGI Campus building.

BSIA Logo.jpg
Abbreviation BSIA
Formation 2007 (2007)
Type Centre for advanced research and teaching on global governance and international public policy
Headquarters 67 Erb Street West
Coordinates 43°27′50″N 80°31′31″W / 43.46389°N 80.52528°W / 43.46389; -80.52528Coordinates: 43°27′50″N 80°31′31″W / 43.46389°N 80.52528°W / 43.46389; -80.52528



The BSIA partnership was announced in 2007 when Research In Motion co-CEO and CIGI Founder Jim Balsillie donated $50 million to the initiative. Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo would also make investments toward the school totalling $50 million ($25 million from each) over the next decade. From 2007-11, classes at the BSIA took place at WLU and UW.

In 2009, plans were announced to house the BSIA within a "CIGI Campus" that would be built alongside the think tank's headquarters in Waterloo. The resulting $68 million complex received federal and provincial funding totalling $50 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and Ontario's 2009 Budget. The City of Waterloo donated the land for the campus through a 99-year lease.

Construction began in 2009 and lasted for approximately two years. In October 2011, the BSIA held its first classes in the CIGI Campus.[1]


Canadian international relations scholars have ranked the Balsillie School the 4th best school in Canada for students seeking a career in public policy, as well as the 4th best school in Canada for students seeking an academic career studying international relations.[2] Scholars who were polled noted both that the Balsillie School has gained prominence rapidly since its founding in 2007, and has attained a reputation for being well-funded.

Academic ProgramsEdit

The BSIA, with its degree-granting partners WLU and UW, offers three degrees programs:

  • The joint university PhD in Global Governance (offered by WLU and UW) offers specialization in one of six fields: global political economy, global environment, conflict and security, global justice and human rights, multilateral institutions and diplomacy, and global social governance.
  • The one year, intensive Master's in International Public Policy (offered by WLU) provides graduate training for global policy development, implementation and training.
  • The Master of Arts in Global Governance (offered by UW), designed to be completed in 16 months, consists of two terms of course work, a third term in which students complete a major research paper, and an internship in a fourth term.

Faculty and PersonnelEdit

The inaugural director of the BSIA was Ramesh Thakur, a former CIGI fellow and vice-rector at the United Nations University. In 2010, he was succeeded by David A. Welch, CIGI chair of global security and professor of political science at UW. The current director of BSIA is John Ravenhill.[3]

As one of the largest social sciences initiatives in Canada, there are over 60 affiliated faculty members teaching in the BSIA's three academic programs. Notable faculty currently include Andrew F. Cooper, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Robert I. Rotberg,[4] Eric Helleiner,[5] James Orbinski,[6] Jorge Heine,[7] and Jennifer Clapp.[8]


External linksEdit