Canadian Global Affairs Institute

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Canadian Global Affairs Institute
AbbreviationGlobal Affairs
Founded atCalgary, Alberta
TypeResearch Institute, Think Tank
PurposeTo be a catalyst for innovative Canadian global engagement
HeadquartersCalgary, Alberta and Ottawa, Ontario
AffiliationsThe School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary
Formerly called
Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute

The Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) is an independent, non-partisan research institute based in Calgary with offices in Ottawa. Incorporated as a charitable organization in 2000, the institute seeks to focus the national debate and understanding of Canada's international policies, with the ultimate aim of ensuring a more globally engaged Canada.

CGAI believes that doing so enhances Canadian security and prosperity. The institute is dedicated to educating Canadians, particularly those who have leadership roles in shaping Canadian foreign policy, about the importance of Canada being proactive in world affairs with tangible diplomatic, military, and aid assets.


The Dispatch[edit]

The Canadian Global Affairs Institute produces a quarterly newsletter called The Dispatch.[2] The Dispatch invites CGAI fellows to provide insight on international issues of relevance to Canada.

Strategic Studies Working Group[edit]

The Strategic Studies Working Group (SSWG) is a partnership between CGAI and the Canadian International Council (CIC), which incorporated the former Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies. The SSWG is administered by CGAI, which also conducts research and produces publications on security and defence issues on behalf of the partnership. All projects undertaken by the SSWG are first approved by CIC and are co-published or co e-published according to CIC standards.

The SSWG has begun to host e-conferences on issues related to defence and security. These e-conferences take place over a number of weeks, with each week dedicated to a specific topic. The e-conferences include regular commentaries by academics and practitioners, Twitter Q&As, live chats and major articles published in national media.

  • The "Future of Fighting" conference focused on how the Canadian Forces might evolve in the coming decade to reflect the changing funding and combat environment.
  • The "Drone Week" conference was focused on understanding some of the practical, legal and moral questions surrounding the current and future use of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles.

The SSWG produces research papers which keep in line with the partnership's purpose of focusing on defence and security topics. The Strategic Profile Canada is a project which provides a comprehensive overview of Canada's demographic, economic and military information.[3]

3Ds Blog[edit]

The 3Ds Blog is a site managed by CGAI and provides defence and security news from Canada and around the world. Blog updates are made by CGAI fellows, the majority coming from Mark Collins.

Speakers Series[edit]

The CGAI organizes an annual speakers series based on a specific topic of importance to Canadian defence, security, and foreign affairs. The speaking events are held in Calgary and bring together businesspeople, academics, and practitioners to listen to some of Canada's most important and influential thinkers. Former speakers include Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence; Michael Bell, former diplomat; and Yuen Pau Woo, president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, among others.[4]

Ross Munro Award[edit]

The Ross Munro Media Award was initiated, in 2002, by the Conference of Defence Associations, in concert with CGAI. It is awarded annually to recognize one Canadian journalist who has made a significant and outstanding contribution to the general public's understanding of Canada's defence and security issues.

Military Journalism Course[edit]

The Military Journalism Course was started in 2002 as a nine-day course, which introduces university students to military journalism and the Canadian Armed Forces. The course is run in partnership with the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary and includes a combination of media-military theory in a classroom setting, coupled with field visits to Armed Forces regular and reserve units. The stated goal of the program is to enhance the military education of future Canadian journalists who will report on Canadian military activities domestically and abroad. In 2007, the program introduced its first Francophone Military Journalism course held at the Université de Montréal and Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, near Québec City.[5]

Advisory Council[edit]

A group of advisers provide feedback on current and future programs.

Fellowship Program[edit]


Notable alumni[edit]


Fellows regularly provide commentary and analysis of ongoing international events in TV and print media.[6] CGAI Vice-President Colin Robertson was named in Embassy Magazine's 2012 ranking of the "Top 80 Influencing Canada Foreign Policy".[7] The University of Pennsylvania has consistently ranked CGAI highly on its list of top think tanks in Canada.[8][9][10]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

In an article from July 2016, The Globe and Mail examined the Institute's support of Canada's $15-billion combat-vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia at a time of a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and the think tank's acceptance of donations from defense contractor General Dynamics - the parent of the arms maker in the export contract.[11]

An article in 2017 from The Huffington Post goes on to say about the Saudi arms deal: "At least four of the General Dynamics-funded institute's "fellows" wrote columns justifying the sale, including an opinion Perry published in The Globe and Mail Report on Business titled "Without foreign sales, Canada's defence industry would not survive."[12]


  1. ^ About Us
  2. ^ "Canadian Global Affairs Institute". Canadian Global Affairs Institute. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  3. ^ "Canada's Strategic Profile » CIC". Archived from the original on 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  4. ^ "Speaker Series - Canadian Global Affairs Institute". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  5. ^ "Military Journalism Course - Canadian Global Affairs Institute". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  6. ^ "In the Media - Canadian Global Affairs Institute". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  7. ^ "The top 80 influencing Canadian foreign policy | Embassy - Canada's Foreign Policy Newspaper". Archived from the original on 2013-03-08.
  8. ^ University of Pennsylvania, 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Index Report
  9. ^ "University of Pennsylvania, 2013 Global Go To Think Tanks Index Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-07-09. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  10. ^ University of Pennsylvania, 2014 Global Go To Think Tanks Index Report
  11. ^ "Canadian think tank under fire for accepting donations from arms maker". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  12. ^ "Meet The Right-Wing Think Tank Driving Canadian Policy Toward War". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-05.

External links[edit]