Canadian International Council

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Canadian International Council
Canadian International Council logo.svg
Formation1928 (as Canadian Institute of International Affairs)
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is Canada's foreign relations council. It is an independent, member-based council established to strengthen Canada's role in international affairs. The CIC uses its historical roots, cross-country network, and research to advance debate on international issues across academic disciplines, policy areas, and economic sectors.

The Council is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with 15 volunteer-run branches across Canada. CIC branches present offer CIC members speakers' programs, study groups, conferences, and seminars. Branches are located in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, National Capital (Ottawa), Nipissing (North Bay), Saskatoon, South Saskatchewan (Regina), Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Waterloo, and Winnipeg.

The CIC's foreign policy research program consists of an annual research project, the China Working Group, the Strategic Studies Working Group, the International Relations and Digital Technology Project (IRDTP), and International Journal, the Council's academic publication.

The CIC's digital media platform, is Canada's hub for international affairs. Building on the CIC's mandate to promote discussion on international affairs, the platform is the Canadian venue for those discussions.


The CIC has its roots in 1928, in the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA). In 1932, Escott Reid was appointed as the Institute's first full-time National Secretary and began organizing annual study conferences where ideas could be exchanged. The conferences were largely round-table discussions and members of branch study groups were invited to participate. Reid also encouraged expansion of the CIIA's membership and greater public participation in the work of the Institute. The CIC's first corporate record dates to 1950, with the objective "to give attention to Canada's position both as a member of the international community of nations and as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations."[1]

Under insurance magnate Edgar Tarr, 1931 to 1950, it went beyond the original neutral and apolitical research role. Instead it championed Canadian national autonomy and sought to enlarge te nation's international role, while challenging British imperialism. Numerous diplomats attended its conferences and supported its new mission. Canada's foreign policy moved away from imperialism and toward the sort of anti-colonialism promoted by the United States. CIIA leaders and Canadian officials worked to encouraged nationalist forces in India, China, and Southeast Asia that sought to reject colonial rule and Western dominance.[2]

In October 2007, Jim Balsillie (the former co-CEO of the Canadian information technology company Research In Motion ('BlackBerry')) initiated the formation of the CIC as a partnership between the CIIA and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a think-tank based in Waterloo, Ontario that works on global issues, in order to create a research base on Canadian foreign policy similar to the American Council on Foreign Relations and the United Kingdom's Royal Institute of International Affairs.[3] In making the announcement, Balsillie wrote, "CIC will be a research-based, non-partisan vehicle. Applying expert and fact-based research to complex issues is the essential foundation for creating effective policy."[3] In November 2007, members of the CIIA voted to become the Canadian International Council | Conseil international du Canada.

In May 2008, the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies (CISS) folded its operations into the CIC as the Strategic Studies Working Group.[4]


For two years running, the CIC was recognized at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards for its work with OpenCanada.[5] In 2013 the site won the Content of the Year award, as well as two gold medals for best overall online-only publication and online-only article or series in the academic and nonprofit media category.[6]


CIC research extends through various programs, working groups, and projects.


IRDTP logo

The International Relations and Digital Technology Project (IRDTP) is managed jointly Between the CIC, the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the University of British Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. IRDTP is a new and innovative research initiative analyzing the impact of ubiquitous digital technology on the theory and practice of International Relations.

Annual Research Program[edit]

The CIC's annual research programs have produced the following reports:

  • 9 Habits of Highly Effective Resource Economies: Lessons for Canada, by Madelaine Drohan, Canada correspondent for The Economist[7]
  • Rights and Rents: Why Canada must harness its intellectual property resources, by Karen Mazurkewich[8]
  • Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age, by Edward Greenspon[9]

Projects and Working Groups[edit]

CIC Projects and Working Groups include:[10]

  • The Strategic Studies Working Group, in partnership with the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI)
  • Arctic Sovereignty and Security Working Group
  • Border Issues Working Group
  • Canada and the Americas project
  • Canada-India Relations project
  • China Working Group
  • Energy Working Group


The CIC's Board of Directors[11] includes:

CIC's president is Jennifer Jeffs, former Deputy Executive Director at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Jeffs holds a Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of Toronto.[12]


International Journal  
Publication details
Publication history
Standard abbreviations
Int. J.

International Journal (IJ), established in 1946, is the CIC's scholarly publication and Canada's pre-eminent journal of global policy analysis. IJ is cross disciplinary, combining the insights of history, political science, and economics with anthropology and other social sciences to advance research and dialogue on issues of global significance.

In 2013 the CIC partnered with the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History and SAGE Publications to publish International Journal.


The Canadian International Council is a non-for-profit organization and a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency.

Funding comes from private sponsorship, membership fees, donations, and events. The CIC's major fundraiser is its Annual Gala Dinner, where the Globalist of the Year Award is presented. Past recipients include Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund in 2012; Naguib Sawiris, CEO of Orascom Telecom Holding and Founding Member of the Free Egyptians Party (Al Masreyeen Al Aharrar), a political party founded in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011; George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC and Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Institute in 2010; Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization in 2009; His Excellency Cheng Siwei, former Vice-Chairman of the 9th and 10th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the Republic of China and Chairman of the China Democratic National Construction Assembly in 2008; and Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2007.


  1. ^ Federal Corporation Information - 347591 - Corporations Canada - Corporations - Industry Canada. (2013-10-17). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  2. ^ Priscilla Roberts, "Tweaking the Lion's Tail: Edgar J. Tarr, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, and the British Empire, 1931–1950." Diplomacy & Statecraft 23.4 (2012): 636-659.
  3. ^ a b Balsillie, Jim. "Why we're creating the Canadian International Council". Centre for International Governance Innovation. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  4. ^ Canadian International Council – Canada's hub for international affairs » Strategic Studies Working Group. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Canadian International Council – Canada's hub for international affairs » Projects. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  11. ^ Canadian International Council – Canada's hub for international affairs » Board of Directors. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  12. ^ Canadian International Council – Canada's hub for international affairs » Team. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.

External links[edit]