Centre for International Governance Innovation
|Type||International think tank on global governance|
|Purpose/focus||Generating ideas for multilateral governance improvements|
|Headquarters||57 Erb Street West|
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI, pronounced "see-jee") is an independent, non-partisan think tank on global governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. Its core belief is that better international governance can improve the lives of people everywhere, by increasing prosperity, ensuring global sustainability, addressing inequality and promoting a more secure world.
CIGI is headquartered in the former Seagram Museum in the uptown district of Waterloo, Ontario. It is situated on the northeast corner of the CIGI Campus, which also houses the CIGI Auditorium and the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA). The establishment of CIGI has been recognized as a major contributor to the growth of a local knowledge economy in the surrounding Waterloo Region, and in 2007, the city of Waterloo was named the world's "Top Intelligent Community."
CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), following his vision to lay the framework for an institution tasked with helping solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Balsillie made an initial donation of $20 million to establish the New Economy Institute (renamed CIGI in 2003), with Mike Lazaridis, his then co-CEO at RIM, contributing an additional $10 million. The combined $30 million in funds was matched by the Government of Canada in 2003.
Among CIGI’s first staff was its initial executive director John English, director of public affairs John Milloy and distinguished fellows Andrew F. Cooper and Paul Heinbecker. The first CIGI International Board of Governors (IBG) meeting was held in October 2003, with early members including Jagdish Bhagwati, Joe Clark, Angel Gurria, and Anne-Marie Slaughter.
In 2005, CIGI published its first working paper and experienced rapid growth in its research agenda, publications and public events programming. In 2007, CIGI partnered with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to launch the BSIA. In 2009, CIGI announced plans to house the BSIA within a “CIGI Campus” that would be built alongside its headquarters in Waterloo. The resulting $69 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 of the CIGI Campus was completed in November 2011. Earlier that year, CIGI celebrated its tenth anniversary with the opening of the CIGI Campus, and published CIGI at 10, a retrospective book celebrating its history.
In May 2012, Rohinton Medhora joined CIGI as president, after having served on CIGI's International Board of Governors since 2009. Medhora is former vice president of programs at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Medhora succeeded former CIGI executive director by Thomas A. Bernes, who previously held high-level positions at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Government of Canada. CIGI's senior management team also includes former Toronto Star editor-in-chief J. Fred Kuntz as vice president of public affairs, and David B. Dewitt, former associate vice-president of research, social sciences and humanities at York University, who now serves as CIGI’s vice president of programs.
In July 2012, CIGI appointed Fen Osler Hampson as Distinguished Fellow and Director of its Global Security research program. Hampson is a former director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) and Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
In 2013, CIGI appointed Domenico Lombardi as director of its Global Economy program. Lombardi is a former chair of The Oxford Institute for Economic Policy, and has held positions on the executive boards of major international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank.
While CIGI’s early research focused solely on international relations and the international economy, the centre’s programs now examine five themes: the global economy, global security, international law, environment and energy, and global development . CIGI's global economy program includes analysis on regulation, financial regulation and trade policy. This program is a central area of the think tank's expertise, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis. CIGI’s Global Economy researchers were directly involved in the process that led to the 2008 creation of the G20 at the leaders’ level, and have conducted an active G20 outreach program since the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit. The centre's Global Security program examines a range of issues in peace, conflict and security, including Arctic governance, Internet governance and security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. CIGI's International Law Research Program was announced in November 2013, and focuses on three key areas: intellectual property law; international economic, financial, and investment law, regulation and governance; and environmental law and treaties. CIGI’s environment and energy program focuses on developing innovative policy responses to ensure global sustainability. The global development program seeks to identify innovations and adjustments that support sustainable development and poverty reduction, and facilitate the shift to more effective, efficient and equitable delivery of global public goods.
Distinguished practitioners, researchers and academics produce CIGI research outputs, exploring and contributing to CIGI's four research programs. CIGI experts are also available for comment and interviews to journalists worldwide, whether in print, digital or broadcast media. They also regularly contribute opinion pieces to local, national and international newspapers. Notable CIGI experts include, Bessma Momani, Fen Osler Hampson, Paul Heinbecker, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Harold James, James Orbinski and Paul Jenkins.
CIGI publications include books and ebooks, papers, special reports, policy briefs and conference reports. Publications are available online, generally under a creative commons license, with some editions available in print. Notable publications include special reports, papers, commentaries and series that have focused on improving the G20 process, the global financial crisis, sovereign debt restructuring, constructive powers, Arctic governance, Internet governance and the Millennium Development Goals. CIGI books include Canada-Africa Relations: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, Unleashing the Nuclear Watchdog: Strengthening and Reform of the IAEA, and The Future of Security Sector Reform. CIGI’s ebooks are available for sale through Amazon and Kobo.
Public and private events are held regularly at CIGI. In addition to policy workshops and public lectures, CIGI holds conferences that gather experts and policy makers from around the world to discuss possible solutions to the issues raised by CIGI’s research.
Notable past guest speakers at CIGI-sponsored events include Paul Martin, Ernesto Zedillo, Dr. James Orbinski, Emma Rothschild, Jose Antonio Ocampo, Jeff Rubin, Dambisa Moyo, Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
Since its inception, CIGI has partnered with other think tanks and organizations from around the world. A partnership is currently underway with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, an organization founded by George Soros, to bring about ideas that will lead to lasting solutions to the world's various economic challenges. Other current and past partners include Chatham House, The Brookings Institution, C.D. Howe Institute, Inter-American Dialogue, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Relations and Security Network, and the Stanley Foundation.
After purchasing the former Seagram Museum from the City of Waterloo, CIGI moved into the facility in 2003. Designed by Barton Myers Associates, Inc., the Governor General Medal–winning building houses CIGI’s main offices for staff and fellows, and provides a number of unique spaces for public events and workshops. Since 2010, the building also contains the CIGI Broadcast Studio, available to news organizations for television and radio interviews of CIGI experts. The studio is connected worldwide via fibre optic connection and is equipped for live double-enders. CIGI also hosts the CIGI Campus Library, featuring the John Holmes Collection, which began as the library of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA) in 1928. The collection’s namesake, Canadian academic and diplomat John Wendell Holmes, was instrumental in developing it into an unmatched specialized collection on Canadian foreign policy. The library moved to CIGI in 2007, where it is now available for use by CIGI researchers and faculty and students of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
- Intelligent Waterloo. Intelligent Waterloo (2007-05-18). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
- A small place to think big | Macleans.ca - Canada - Features. Macleans.ca (2005-04-14). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
- eBook: The Future of Security Sector Reform | Security Sector Reform Resource Centre. Ssrresourcecentre.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
- CIGI Partnership | The Institute for New Economic Thinking. Ineteconomics.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
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