New magazine swims against the tide

Global Brief magazine, to be launched Nov. 3, is based at York University’s Glendon College, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 16. Its mission is nothing less than recalibrating the way Canada thinks about the world. “We’re a domestically oriented society and there’s a lack of foreign affairs culture,” says editor-in-chief and publisher Irvin Studin (BBA Spec. Hons. ’99), a 32-year-old former Rhodes Scholar.

“This is just one volley among many, to move the country into a more intelligent discourse on international affairs,” says Studin.

Launching a foreign policy magazine in 2009 is plucky. It’s a famously bad time for print publications…and few are in the black. So the new magazine is swimming against a doubly turbulent tide.

It sank once before after a brief appearance last spring, when its backer, the Canadian International Council, withdrew funding, citing “the current climate with regard to print publications everywhere.”

“We probably over delivered,” Studin admits. “We continue to do so. The operation is mainly staffed by volunteers, but the product is world class.”

Global Brief is also plunging in at the deep end, calling itself “Canada’s confident, 21st-century answer to The Economist, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and a host of other world-class international affairs media platforms.”

The brainchild of Studin and his childhood friend and associate editor, York grad Sasan Sam Shoamanesh (BA Spec. Hons. ’04), the magazine has scored a gaggle of internationally known contributors from Canada and abroad. Among them is International Crisis Group President & CEO Louise Arbour, a former York professor as well as Supreme Court justice, UN human rights commissioner and chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Can enthusiasm sustain a magazine with less than popular appeal? “We’re not in it for money or glory but to prove it can be done,” says Studin.

Booster seat laws improve child safety, says York epidemiologist

Children are 20 per cent less likely to die in car accidents if the crash occurs in a jurisdiction that has booster seat laws, according to a new Canadian study, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 16.

“We wanted to see if the law worked,” said Alison Macpherson, an injury epidemiologist in York University’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health, who co-authored the study. “There are many reasons why people wouldn’t comply with the law,” Macpherson said. “Perhaps people can’t afford the booster seat or don’t understand the law. Or perhaps the law is not enforced.”

The study looked at 14,571 children, aged four to eight years, who were involved in head-on automobile collisions involving at least one fatality in the United States between 1995 and 2005.

  • CTV News and Sun Media’s A Channel also reported on the study.

Novelist and York grad Boyden to read in BC next week

The University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford will host two Canadian literary luminaries next week, wrote BC’s Abbotsford Mission Times Oct. 16, in a story about appearances by journalist Gwynne Dyer and York grad Joseph Boyden (BA Hons. ’91), who will read and sign books on Thursday starting at 7pm.

Giller-winner Boyden is one of Canada’s freshest emerging fiction authors, one who presents a compelling perspective on the First Nations’ experience. He has created memorable characters as diverse as a foot soldier in the trenches of the First World War, and a young Cree woman caught up in the destructive New York modelling scene.

Boyden’s roots are typically Canadian – he’s a mix of Irish, Scottish and Métis. He grew up in Willowdale, the son of a doctor who was the most highly decorated medical officer of the Second World War. Educated by the Jesuits of Brebeuf College School, at York University and the University of New Orleans (UNO), he has taught creative writing at UNO, and at Northern College in Moosonee, Ont.

On air

  • Talk 820 Radio in Hamilton reported, on Oct. 15, news of the honorary degree York was conferring on Woody Harrelson at a convocation ceremony the next day.
  • Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about recent EKOS political poll results on CBC Radio Oct. 15.