Ceremony formally invests Robert Cox into the Order of Canada

Robert W. Cox, professor emeritus of Political Science and Social and Political Thought at York University, was formally invested into the Order of Canada on Nov. 25.

Robert Cox with Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Robert Cox with Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

In a moving private ceremony in Waterloo, Ontario, on behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presented the insignia of Member of the Order of Canada to Cox.

At the ceremony, Dowdeswell made the following statement:

“Robert Cox’s critical approach to international relations inspired a generation of academics to imagine alternatives to the status quo. A long-time professor at York University, he profoundly extended the scope of political science’s examination of the contemporary world order. Through tireless independence of
mind, he challenged accepted conceptions of history by arguing that human behaviour is a product of ideas as much as of material factors. His influential writings have consistently emphasized the importance of understanding the cultural beliefs of others, thereby creating a space for self-reflection and tolerance between cultures.”

Cox was a professor of Political Science at York University from 1977 to 1992, and was appointed a member of the Order of Canada on Nov. 20, 2014, for his contributions to the field of international relations as one of Canada’s foremost scholars in the area of political economy.

A graduate of McGill University, Cox is cited as one of the seven intellectual founders of International Political Economy (IPE), and a leading thinker of the British School of IPE, along with noted British scholar Susan Strange.

Cox worked at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, starting in 1947, where he eventually became director of the ILO’s International Institute for Labour Studies. He served in this role from 1965 to 1971. Cox left the ILO, and took up a faculty position at Columbia University in New York City. He returned to Canada, and joined the faculty at York University in 1977.

Cox co-authored The Anatomy of Influence: Decision-making in International Organization (1973) with Harold K. Jacobson. He is the author of Production, Power and World Order: Social Forces in the Making of History (1987), The Executive Head: An Essay on Leadership in International Organization (1969), Labour and the Multinationals (1976), Social Forces, States, and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory (1981), Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations (1983), The Political Economy of a Plural World: Critical Reflections on Power, Morals and Civilization (2002), and Universal Foreigner: The Individual and the World (2013).

For the official notice of the Office of the Governor General of Canada on Cox’s investiture into the Order of Canada, visit http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=16643&lan=eng.

Story prepared by Gregory T. Chin, associate professor of Political Science, York University