Barbara Neis urges graduands to embrace change

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During the June 7 convocation for York University’s Glendon College, award-winning researcher and social scientist Barbara Neis received an honorary degree and shared stories from her studies, career and life.

When University Secretariat Pascal Robichaud introduced Neis, she noted that the social scientist is “one of Glendon College’s most inspired and inspiring early graduates,” and can count herself as a member of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Once Neis began addressing graduands, however, she recounted that before she was any of those things, she was a young student from a family farm in northern Ontario, arriving at Glendon College and experiencing urban and academic life for the first time.

As she pursued a joint undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology, Neis was introduced to disciplines and streams of thought she didn’t even know existed. The researcher admitted to graduands in her address that she was initially overwhelmed by the breadth of thinking she was exposed to, and how exactly to integrate any of into her life, career and academic pursuits. She worried about becoming a jack of all trades and master of none. “I was struggling with whether I could acquire even minimum expertise in philosophy, the humanities, sociology, psychology,” she said.

Kathleen Taylor, Barbara Neiss, Rhonda Lenton
Pictured, from left to right: Chancellor Kathleen Taylor, Barbara Neis and President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton

In time, however, an approach became clear to her. “I learned that I did not need to be an expert in everything,” she said. “It was enough to be able to read and respectfully engage with researchers in other disciplines who had a shared interest in answering relevant and important questions that could not be answered by drawing on the resources of a single discipline.”

That realization became the interdisciplinary bedrock of her career as a researcher and social scientist whose work has led to research funding totaling more than $155 million and research published in more than 120 books, book chapters, journal articles and working papers. It led to work promoting a greater understanding of the interactions between work environment, health and communities – especially within marine and coastal contexts.

Neis focused on the latter, especially while speaking to the graduands, recalling how that work began somewhat unexpectedly with a kitchen conversation in a home on the East Coast that she was visiting. There, she was told about trawlermen who were being severely injured as they tried to fish in ice in vessels not designed for that purpose. Neis wanted to know why, and in the process of getting answers developed an approach that would serve her well in understanding the roots of circumstances she wanted to research.

“The best way I’ve found to understand these forces is by starting with their lived experience and then using the resources available to researchers to work backwards to disentangle the various threads [that cause them],” she said.

In the case of the trawlermen, the source of the challenges they faced became clear. “I soon realized that for fishermen and others, the forces that threaten their lives, livelihoods and communities frequently come from the ways environmental, institutional, policy and other processes intersect to affect what they do and how they do it,” she said.

It became important to Neis then – and moving forward – to keep the people in mind while conducting her research. “It led me to begin designing my research, assessing the findings and developing related recommendations for change in collaboration with those who must, in the end, live with the results.”

She would go on to approach her other work with that same type of thinking – notably, her research around the collapse of the Atlantic cod stocks in the 1990s. As Robichaud noted in his introduction, that work “made [Neis’s] reputation as a research activist … [and] … led to significant social change.”

Neis credits the success of that project to remembering the personal, and listening to lived experiences when doing research. “I was privileged to work with a team of social and natural scientists, interviewing Trinity Bay fishermen about their intimate knowledge of life under and on the water,” she said. “Their collective observations, from headland to the bottom of the bay and across generations, helped us document the insights underlying their prescient questioning of the overly optimistic scientific assessments that contributed to the collapse.”

That experience – which she noted proudly was some of the earliest research globally on commercial fisheries, ecological knowledge and science – gave her the tools to “lead interdisciplinary programs of research that sought to explore key knowledge gaps at the boundaries not only between the social sciences but also between the social, natural and health sciences.

Neis shared that her interest in the interdisciplinary also extends beyond the academic. She recalled that after moving on from an early love of creative pursuits, when she later in life moved to Newfoundland, she had access to a vibrant artistic community that was both socially and politically engaged. There, she began collaborating with that community to create projects that address climate change in the coastal regions. “These effects are already part of the lived experience of those living on islands and along coasts – including, particularly, in the Arctic. Our objective … is to explore how to use the arts to emotionally engage new audiences and empower essential movements for social change,” she said.

It is perhaps no surprise, given her career built on being open to unexpected sources of direction, that Neis shared a critical piece of advice drawn from her experiences – many of which she had never anticipated. “This reminds us how important it is to look for opportunities and to embrace change that takes us outside of our comfort zone,” she told the graduands, summing up both her own life and inspiring the ones ahead for those graduating.  

York community at Keele and Glendon create greener campuses

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York University community members gathered at both the Glendon and Keele campuses in April for the annual tradition of planting trees in celebration of Earth Month.

Each year the event is organized to help drive positive change by creating a greener campus with restored ecosystems to help mitigate climate change.

Past events have seen hundreds of trees, of a variety of native species, planted. This year, over 100 participants planted a mini orchard with 18 larger fruit trees – including apple, pear, pawpaw and more – and over 100 shrubs to enhance and grow an edible opportunity for an edible campus.

Some of the plantings were targeted to particular locations as well, with the fruit-bearing trees finding their way into the Keele Campus Arboretum, and greenery being placed along the Glendon Campus ravine to help restore erosion around the riverbank.

The event was held in partnership with Regenesis and York’s Property Management Grounds, Facilities Services, with grant funding provided by the City of Toronto.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to come together to take action on our campus and in our everyday lives, as we continue to work on system-level change,” Mike Layton, York’s chief sustainability officer, has said of the occasion.

View a photo gallery of the tree planting events below.

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A new direction for Glendon College

Glendon welcome building

Since the fall of 2021, Glendon has been engaged in a repositioning exercise to ensure that program offerings are compelling, career-relevant, geared toward student needs and sustainable.

Throughout the repositioning process, faculty, staff, students, alumni and other community members have been actively engaged in a thoughtful consultation process about the future direction of Glendon College. Town hall events, community conversations, meetings with Senate and Faculty Council, and polls were regularly held as community touchpoints over the past three years.

The future direction for Glendon includes the restructuring of academic units to promote greater interdisciplinarity and to support research, teaching and the student experience. The revised structure also focused on embracing efficiency in the delivery of Glendon’s programs and strengthening enrolment.

“This new structure presents an opportunity to establish an environment that supports the kind of academic renewal that is needed among today’s universities, where new and innovative ideas are born at the intersection of disciplines,” says Marco Fiola, principal of Glendon College. “I would like to thank all Glendon and York University community members who have participated in this process to create a vibrant future at Glendon.”

On April 30, 2024, York’s Board of Governors approved the restructuring of Glendon’s academic units, bringing into place the following new departmental structure as of September 1, 2024:

  • Glendon Department of Global Communication and Cultures;
  • Glendon Department of Science;
  • Glendon Department of Economics, Business and Mathematics; and
  • Glendon Department of Global and Social Studies.

“A more integrated structure supports creativity in thinking across disciplines when it comes to renewing our curriculum and building our research culture. Above all else, academic programs must remain responsive to the changes we are seeing across higher education today,” says Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president academic. “I want to recognize the Glendon colleagues who will ultimately ensure the success of the repositioning. This new structure supports sustainability and enables us to deliver the best learning experience possible for our students.”

In the coming months, changes will continue to unfold, including adjustments to academic programming to enhance the student experience, creating co-ordinated recruitment efforts that align with the University-wide strategy and modifications to Glendon’s administrative service model. All these efforts will support the delivery of an enhanced educational experience for students at Glendon starting this fall.

“We have the know-how and we have the ingenuity to be a bold and forward-thinking part of York University,” says Fiola. “This new, streamlined academic structure will help us make better use of our resources, for the benefit of our students and faculty members.”


Une nouvelle orientation pour le Collège Glendon

Depuis l’automne 2021, Glendon se prête à un exercice de repositionnement pour s’assurer que ses offres de programmes sont non seulement pertinentes et en rapport avec une carrière professionnelle, mais aussi durables et axées sur les besoins de la population étudiante.

Tout au long de ce repositionnement, le corps professoral, le personnel, la population étudiante, des diplômés et d’autres membres de la communauté ont participé activement à un processus de consultation approfondi sur l’orientation future du Collège Glendon. Des conversations communautaires, des réunions avec le Sénat et le Conseil de la faculté et des sondages d’opinion ont été organisés régulièrement au cours des trois dernières années afin de rester en relation avec la communauté.

L’orientation future de Glendon comprend la restructuration des unités académiques afin de promouvoir une plus grande interdisciplinarité et d’appuyer la recherche, l’enseignement et l’expérience étudiante. La structure modifiée privilégie aussi l’efficacité de la prestation des programmes de Glendon et le renforcement des inscriptions.

« Cette nouvelle structure nous donne la possibilité de créer un environnement qui favorise le renouveau académique essentiel aux universités d’aujourd’hui et dans lequel des idées nouvelles et innovantes voient le jour au croisement des disciplines, déclare Marco Fiola, principal du Collège Glendon. Je tiens à remercier tous les membres de la communauté de Glendon qui ont participé à ce processus visant à assurer un avenir prometteur au Collège. »

Le 30 avril 2024, le Conseil d’administration de York a approuvé la restructuration des unités académiques de Glendon qui met en place la nouvelle structure départementale suivante à compter du 1er septembre 2024 :

  • Département de la communication et des cultures mondiales de Glendon
  • Département des sciences de Glendon
  • Département des sciences économiques, des affaires et des mathématiques de Glendon
  • Département d’études mondiales et sociales de Glendon

« Une nouvelle structure simplifiée plus intégrée favorise la créativité dans la réflexion interdisciplinaire en vue du renouvellement de nos programmes d’études et de la consolidation de notre culture de la recherche, explique Lisa Philipps, rectrice et vice-présidente aux affaires académiques. Les programmes doivent notamment demeurer très réactifs aux changements que nous observons aujourd’hui dans l’enseignement supérieur. Je tiens à reconnaître les collègues de Glendon qui assureront au bout du compte le succès de ce repositionnement. La nouvelle structure favorise la durabilité et nous permet d’offrir la meilleure expérience d’apprentissage possible à notre population étudiante. »

Dans les mois à venir, des changements continueront à être apportés aux programmes académiques pour améliorer l’expérience étudiante, entraînant des efforts coordonnés de recrutement conformes à la stratégie globale de l’Université et des modifications du modèle de service administratif de Glendon. Tous ces efforts appuieront une expérience éducative améliorée pour la population étudiante de Glendon dès cet automne.

« Nous possédons le savoir-faire et l’ingéniosité nécessaires pour devenir une composante dynamique et avant-gardiste de l’Université York. Grâce à cette nouvelle structure académique rationalisée, nous pourrons mieux utiliser nos ressources au profit des membres de la communauté étudiante et du corps professoral », ajoute Marco Fiola.

Professor receives Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies

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York University Professor Colin Coates, who teaches at Glendon College, has received the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies from the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS) in recognition of his work in the field.

Colin Coates
Colin Coates

The award is among the top honours given out by the ICCS, which looks to promote the worldwide scholarly study, research, teaching and publication about Canada in all disciplines worldwide.

“I am honoured to receive this award,” Coates says. “I am extremely flattered to be in the same company as so many people who have made such important contributions to Canadian studies within and outside Canada.”

Coates receiving the organization’s Governor General’s Award is a recognition of his extensive work in the field. Specializing in environmental history, early French Canada, Francophone communities, Indigenous Peoples and more, he has been involved in the publishing of over 10 books, and written over two dozen book chapters.

During the time span of 2010 to 2015, he served as president of the Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d’études canadiennes and director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

The ICCS award is the latest honour Coates has received, having earned Glendon’s Principal’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2019 and a Certificate of Merit from the ICCS in 2018. He also received several Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada grants and was Canada Research Chair in Canadian Cultural Landscapes from 2003 to 2013.

“While I was delighted to receive the Certificate of Merit a few years ago, this award reflects even broader career achievements,” Coates says. “In both cases, I am incredibly grateful for the recognition provided by my peers.”

For more information about Coates’s work, visit his faculty page.

GNL project inspires future French-language teachers

Students working together in a workspace rom

By Elaine Smith

A French immersion high-school teacher who joined York University’s Glendon College pursued a Globally Networked Learning (GNL) project to help his students build connections and advance their academic journeys.

A frequent participant in a global scholars program with his students from elementary and middle schools, teacher Jafar Hussain has long understood the value of students building cross-cultural connections. So, when he was seconded to York’s Glendon Campus as a course director, he decided the global approach was equally important in the university classroom.

He dove right into a GNL project with students in his Teaching & Learning French in a Core French Context class. GNL is an approach to research, learning, and teaching that enables students, faculty, and non-academic researchers from different locations around the world to participate in, and collaborate on, knowledge-making processes and concrete research projects.

“I wanted to bring my students a new perspective on what learning could look like,” Hussain said of his plans for his students. “My own experience with K-12 students and such programs demonstrated that these experiences are fruitful and enriching.”

His class, taught in French, comprised bachelor of education (BEd) students in their final year of the concurrent teacher education program who will be teaching French as a second language. With assistance from York International, Hussain connected with Professor Caroline Andrade at the Universidad Desarollo in Chile and her Spanish-speaking education students who are planning to teach English as a second language.

Since all of the students were future language teachers, the professors broke them into groups with students from both universities and gave them an assignment: introduce yourselves, discuss an issue that affects language learning and create a joint podcast to explain it. They also asked each group to use artificial intelligence (AI) to create an image for their podcast as a way of teaching responsible use of AI.

“Part of developing global competency is navigating communications barriers, and we knew that here, everyone spoke some English,” Hussain said. “The real goal of the assignment was to bring them together. What was important was the experience of working together to try to accomplish the goal.”

“None of us had done an internationally focused project so far and some people were skeptical, but Jafar told us from the beginning to focus on the experience and not worry about the outcome,” said Ana Kraljevic, a student in the class, who is hoping to pursue a career in education policy and leadership.

Kraljevic’s group explored language insecurity, its root causes and solutions.

“Language [or linguistic] insecurity refers to any sort of apprehension a new learner has about speaking the language, whether that is a fear of being judged or not being competent,” said Kraljevic. “We’re learning French and our Chilean counterparts are learning English, so we have similar experiences. Language insecurity is a huge, complex phenomenon and we want to reduce it for future students.”

Rosamaria Conenna, a BEd student who majored in French studies and has a minor in Spanish, also enjoyed the project. Her group chose to discuss accentism: the way accents are perceived in society and how they affect language learners.

“It can be discouraging if you have an accent because when someone hears it, they often default to your primary language and deny you the opportunity to practise,” she said. “It can be disappointing if you have an accent, especially when you know what you’re saying is correct.

“We want our future students to know that having an accent is perfectly OK, and that it should not discourage them from practising the languages they learn.”

Conenna’s group, like the others, connected via WhatsApp to pair and discuss personal experiences to convey their own stories authentically. Each pair recorded a segment of the podcast, which was hosted by a team member who introduced the topic, the group and provided information about research on the subject.

The students presented their group work to the entire class and Hussain was “blown away. It all came together beautifully and the students all became more globally aware,” he said. He praised students for their work and shared some words of wisdom. “Remember all the obstacles you imagined beforehand and look at what you produced. When something seems insurmountable, it’s so much sweeter when you get to the end point,” he told them.

Kraljevic is already thinking about how she could do something similar with classes she will be teaching in the future, and the experience has fuelled Conenna’s dreams of teaching abroad.

For Hussain, “Now I have a solid model of what GNL could look like at a university level. There were challenges on both sides, but the learning experience is extremely rich.”

Learn more about York’s Globally Networked Learning initiative and individual faculty projects.

York advances innovative decarbonization initiative at Glendon 

Glendon outdoors people smiling

By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, editor, YFile

In service of its new target to achieve net zero a decade sooner, York University is exploring a transformative decarbonization solution for the Glendon Campus, along with new research and education opportunities. 

On Dec. 14, the University signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Noventa Energy Partners Inc. to investigate implementing its revolutionary Wastewater Energy Transfer System (WET) at Glendon. The WET technology uses city-owned underground sanitary lines as a heat source, creating thermal energy from wastewater – from sources such as showers, dishwashers and hot tubs. 

This cutting-edge technology could position Glendon as York’s first net-zero campus in advance of the University’s 2040 goal. A feasibility study for this project has been conducted, and the MOU signals the development of a detailed design report as a next step.

Brad Parkes
Brad Parkes

“To reduce the University’s emissions, the facilities department employs a framework to conserve and measure, decarbonize and innovate,” said Brad Parkes, associate vice-president of facilities services. “With sustainable infrastructure already in place to help us conserve and measure, Noventa’s solution enables the University to decarbonize and innovate, moving us closer towards our new target to achieve net zero a decade sooner. Transitioning Glendon to a low to no-carbon environment will lead the way for the rest of York’s campuses.”

This collaboration not only marks a significant leap in sustainable practices, but also brings substantial opportunities to the York University community. 

The innovative approach is projected to not only eliminate scope 1 carbon emissions but also deliver substantial cost savings for the University. Noventa’s solution would create operating cost savings compared to the University’s current fossil fuel system, bring more than $2.5 million in savings compared to the prospect of system electrification – a common solution to reduce emissions – and retire $19 million in deferred maintenance on the Glendon campus over the life cycle of the project

The project is also a springboard for research and academic exploration. The collaboration with Noventa opens doors for a unique Living Lab model, offering unparalleled research and learning opportunities for faculty and students across various disciplines. 

Faculty members from the Lassonde School of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change and the biology program at Glendon could have opportunity to engage in related research and experiential education. For example, ongoing studies in wastewater heat recovery at Lassonde align with this ambitious project.

Mike Layton
Mike Layton

“Sustainability solutions are prime for research, as we’re moving toward technology that leverages what already exists to reduce emissions in a way that is efficient and cost effective,” said Mike Layton, York’s chief sustainability officer. “Water running through heat pipes is essentially wasted energy. This initiative gives us the opportunity to harness that energy for something tangible, while creating opportunities for our students, faculty and researchers to play an active role in expanding our collective understanding of circular energy.” 

This groundbreaking initiative is an example of York University’s commitment to sustainability and to its leadership in driving tangible change. It was made possible by the diligent work of teams in the Department of Facilities Services, including Associate Vice-President Brad Parkes and Director of Utilities and Energy Management Steve Prince.

As the University continues to champion environmental responsibility, it positions itself, its faculty, staff and students as drivers of innovation. 

York campuses affected by City of Toronto parking fine increase

Arboretum parking garage on the Keele campus

Toronto City Council has recently approved an increased penalty for parking on private property without consent, from $30 to $75. This increased fine will come into effect on Friday, Dec. 1 at 12:01 a.m. and will apply to York campuses.

Parking staff at both Keele and Glendon campuses are accredited as municipal law enforcement officers by the City of Toronto. This increase in penalties will be applicable to all violations related to vehicles parked illegally, including failure to pay for parking or occupying a non-designated/restricted parking space on these campuses.

It is important to note that this modification applies throughout the City of Toronto, with York University falling under its purview.

Community members wishing to discuss parking options can reach out to Parking Services at 416-736-5335, by email at parking@yorku.ca or via live agent through the Parking Services website.

York community key in new target to achieve net-zero emissions a decade early 

Net Zero 2040 Sustainability Announcement York University

Faculty, staff and students at York University will be part of a progressive next step to build a more sustainable future for all as outlined by a new aspirational target for the University to reach net-zero emissions a decade earlier than originally planned. 

Shared on Nov. 23 by President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton during a special event, the announcement highlights one of the most ambitious net-zero targets in the Canadian post-secondary sector.   

With bold ambition to become one of the most sustainable institutions in Canada, York University is accelerating its timeline and aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 – a decade sooner than its previous commitment.  

The new aspirational target is part of York’s renewed sustainability policy, which includes a commitment to develop and implement a process to track, measure, evaluate and report progress toward net-zero emissions. 

To support this ambition, York recently released its own comprehensive emissions data and ecological footprint assessment from the Ecological Footprint Initiative – a group of York’s scholars, students, researchers and collaborating organizations working together to advance the measurement of ecological footprint and biocapacity – making it the first Canadian institution to do so. This new report provides York with information to identify opportunities to reduce its emissions and develop innovative solutions to support a more sustainable future. 

“The United Nations has stated that climate change is the defining issue of our time, and the world is at a pivotal moment requiring urgent action,” says Lenton. “As an internationally recognized leader in sustainability, York University has a responsibility to act on global challenges facing humanity, including ecological degradation, climate change and growing socio-economic inequality. The bold actions we are taking on our campuses, and in our local and global communities, will build on the strong foundation we have created and move us closer to our goal of becoming one of the most sustainable institutions in Canada.”

York’s ability to strive toward ambitious sustainable change is due in part to the expertise, experience and forward thinking that takes place across its campuses. The University draws on the strengths of its diverse community to approach sustainability through a holistic lens of collaboration, innovation and knowledge mobilization.  

As a core value of the institution, York has embedded sustainability in every aspect of University life – teaching, learning, research and operations. An example of this expertise in action can be found in projects supported through York’s Sustainability Innovation Fund, including a green career fair, a campus composting centre and more. 

To further advance the cutting-edge sustainability research done by the York community, the University announced a new $1-million allocation to the fund, which is currently accepting applications for projects that advance the University’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as contribute to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action).  

The power of community engagement to create positive change has long been part of York’s legacy in becoming a more sustainable university. Activities conducted through the Office of Sustainability and sustainability-focused student groups empower York students, faculty and staff to take part in events such as campus clean-ups, film screenings, learning opportunities and tree plantings. In the past two years, community members have planted over 1,000 trees on the Glendon and Keele campuses.  

The York community is also being engaged though consultations that are currently underway to update the Sustainability Strategy, with an aim of completion for spring 2024. York students, faculty, instructors and staff can provide their input in person or virtually to shape York’s sustainability priorities and help create a more sustainable future. 

“Sustainability starts with our own actions,” said Mike Layton, York’s chief sustainability officer. “We also have a responsibility to our communities – locally and beyond – to ensure we are all contributing to advancing environmental and social sustainability across society. This new announcement demonstrates York’s commitment to sustainability and I look forward to the many ways we will work with the community in service of our new target.” 

The Nov. 23 event included a panel about how York is using data and innovative solutions to shrink its footprint. Insights were also shared by York experts, including: Eric Miller, director of the Ecological Footprint Initiative in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change; Pirathayini Srikantha, associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Reliable and Secure Power Grid Systems at York’s Lassonde School of Engineering; Usman Khan, associate professor at Lassonde; and Steve Prince, director, Energy Management, Facilities Services at York. 

The announcement also featured a short play with students from York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design; a short video about sustainable travel by Burkard Eberlein, former provostial Fellow and professor from York’s Schulich School of Business; and samples of Las Nubes coffee for attendees to take home. After nearly a decade, Las Nubes coffee has made its way back to Canada and is available in select locations on York’s campuses, including Central Square and Glendon Marché. Part of the proceeds from the coffee sales will go toward supporting York’s Las Nubes Research and Conservation Program.

For more on the event, visit News@York.

Glendon College leads conversation about future of Arctic security

Arctic lake in Canada

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

A panel of experts will debate how to best prepare for the profound changes that lie ahead in the North in a discussion on Nov. 29 organized by York University’s Glendon College.

The Glendon Global Debates return this month to examine the impact of global warming on the economic and social life of the people who call the Arctic home and for all those to the south.

The Arctic is warming faster than the global average, making the prospect of ice-free Arctic waterways open to commercial traffic a possibility in the near future. Such an ice-free east-west passage would establish the shortest route for the transfer of goods between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These changes are being monitored closely by nations far from the Arctic; for example, China has declared itself to be a near-Arctic state.

Aleqa Hammond, former prime minister of Greenland and a panellist at the upcoming event, contends that “Russia and China are already eyeing the Arctic and the region risks becoming the new frontline for confrontation between great powers.” The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has warned Inuit leaders that foreign states could gain a foothold by offering to fill infrastructure gaps in the North.

Canada shares the arctic space with a number of other countries including Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the U.S. Nearly 40 per cent of Canada’s land mass is considered Arctic and northern. Canada and Russia claim ownership of three-quarters of the coastline, and this represents more than 70 per cent of Canada’s coastline.

Gabrielle Slowey
Gabrielle Slowey

Recently named the inaugural Fulbright Chair in Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College (U.S.), Professor Gabrielle Slowey now teaches courses in Canadian, Indigenous and Arctic politics at York University. Her research investigates the intersection between Indigenous people, governance, resource extraction and the environment.

“There has to be a human dimension to Arctic security; people have to be part of the process, discussion and solution,” said Slowey, who will bring her unique perspective to the conversation.

The development of safe Arctic transportation routes also opens the possibility for increased economic development, including resource extraction. These activities will have a profound impact on the economic and social life of the people who call the Arctic home, as well as those far beyond.

Professor Kari Roberts from Mount Royal University has made the study of Russia-West relations her life’s work and has spent many years studying Russia’s interests in the Arctic and what this means for Canada and NATO.

“It is rarely in the interest of any state to disrupt geopolitical order,” said Roberts, who will join Hammond and Slowey on the panel. “And it is even less advantageous for Arctic states, including Russia, to further undermine the historically peaceful and co-operative relationships in the region, which are now being tested in the current geopolitical moment.”

Countries like Canada and Greenland have stated that the Arctic is central to their national identity, prosperity, security, values and interests. This conversation, hosted by the Glendon Global Debates, will explore what concrete actions should underpin these statements.

Moderated by Susan Pond, director of the Glendon School of Public & International Affairs, this hybrid event will explore opportunities and possible threats afforded by a warming Arctic region.

Join the event on Nov. 29, alongside distinguished guests, and become a part of this crucial conversation.

Register here: eventbrite.ca/e/arctic-security-are-we-ready-for-the-future-tickets-754666205937?aff=oddtdtcreator.

For those wishing to join virtually, the debate will also be livestreamed. A link to the event will be shared with all registered participants via email a few hours prior to the event.

The debate will be conducted in English. We invite the audience to ask questions in either French or English.


Le Collège Glendon mène la conversation sur l’avenir de la sécurité dans l’Arctique

Un panel d’experts débattront la meilleure façon de se préparer aux profonds changements qui s’annoncent dans le Nord lors d’une discussion organisée le 29 novembre par le Collège Glendon de l’Université York. 

Alors que la région risque de devenir le nouveau front de confrontation entre les puissances mondiales, les Débats internationaux de Glendon sont de retour pour examiner l’impact sur la vie économique et sociale des habitants de l’Arctique et de tous ceux au sud. 

L’Arctique se réchauffe à un rythme plus rapide que la moyenne mondiale, offrant ainsi la perspective de voies maritimes arctiques sans glace qui pourraient bientôt être utilisées pour la navigation commerciale. Un passage est-ouest sans glace établirait la route la plus courte pour le transfert de marchandises entre les océans Atlantique et Pacifique. Ces changements sont surveillés de près par des nations éloignées de l’Arctique. Par exemple, la Chine s’est déclarée un État proche de l’Arctique. 

Aleqa Hammond, ancienne Première ministre du Groenland et panéliste invitée, affirme que « la Russie et la Chine surveillent déjà l’Arctique et que la région risque de devenir le nouveau front de confrontation entre les puissances mondiales ». Le Service canadien du renseignement de sécurité (SCRS) a d’ailleurs déjà averti les leaders Inuits que des États étrangers pourraient prendre pied en comblant les lacunes en matière d’infrastructures dans le Nord. 

Le Canada partage l’arctique avec plusieurs autres pays, dont le Danemark, le Groenland, l’Islande, la Finlande, la Norvège, la Suède, la Russie et les États-Unis. Près de 40% de la géographie du Canada est considérée comme arctique et nordique. Le Canada et la Russie revendiquent la propriété des trois quarts du littoral, ce qui représente plus de 70% du littoral canadien. 

Récemment nommée Chaire Fulbright inaugurale en études arctiques au Dartmouth College (États-Unis), la professeure Gabrielle Slowey enseigne maintenant des cours en politique canadienne, autochtone et arctique à l’Université York. Ses recherches examinent l’intersection entre les peuples autochtones, la gouvernance, l’extraction de ressources et l’environnement. 

 « Il doit y avoir une dimension humaine à la sécurité arctique : les gens doivent faire partie du processus, de la discussion et de la solution », a déclaré Slowey, qui apportera également sa perspective unique à la conversation.  

Le développement de routes de transport arctiques sûres ouvre également la possibilité d’un développement économique accru, y compris l’extraction de ressources. Ces activités auront un impact profond sur la vie économique et sociale des habitants de l’Arctique, ainsi que de ceux bien au-delà. 

La professeure Kari Roberts de l’Université Mount Royal a fait de l’étude des relations entre la Russie et l’Occident le travail de sa vie et a passé de nombreuses années à étudier les intérêts de la Russie dans l’Arctique et ce que cela signifie pour le Canada et l’OTAN.  

« Il est rarement dans l’intérêt de tout État de perturber l’ordre géopolitique. Et il est encore moins avantageux pour les États arctiques, y compris la Russie, de compromettre davantage les relations historiquement pacifiques et coopératives dans la région, qui sont actuellement mises à l’épreuve dans le contexte géopolitique actuel », a déclaré Roberts, qui rejoindra Hammond et Slowey sur le panel. 

Des pays comme le Canada et le Groenland ont affirmé que l’Arctique est au cœur de leur identité nationale, de leur prospérité, de leur sécurité, de leurs valeurs et de leurs intérêts. Cette conversation, organisée par les Débats internationaux de Glendon, explorera les actions concrètes qui devraient sous-tendre ces déclarations. 

Modérée par Susan Pond, directrice de l’École des affaires publiques et internationales de Glendon, cet événement hybride explorera les opportunités et les menaces possibles liées au réchauffement de la région arctique. 

Joignez-vous à nos distinguées invitées et à la conversation le 29 novembre. 

Inscrivez-vous ici : eventbrite.ca/e/arctic-security-are-we-ready-for-the-future-tickets-754666205937?aff=oddtdtcreator

Pour ceux qui souhaitent participer virtuellement, le débat sera également retransmis en direct. Un lien vers l’événement sera communiqué à tous les participants inscrits par courriel quelques heures avant l’événement. 

Le débat se déroulera en anglais. Nous invitons le public à poser des questions en français ou en anglais. 

Glendon School of Public and International Affairs director earns recognition from NATO

gold star award on a blue background

Glendon College’s new director of the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), Susan Pond, has been recognized by the NATO Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence (SFA COE) with the prestigious title of senior Fellow.

The award recognizes the relationship Pond developed with SFA COE in supporting its strategy and related products for the NATO Alliance and Partners.

Susan Pond accepting her award as a NATO SFA COE senior Fellow.
Susan Pond accepting her award as a NATO SFA COE senior Fellow.

Senior Fellow is an honorary title awarded to highly distinguished senior experts who have forged positive connections with the NATO SFA COE and are committed to supporting its activities and projects on a continuing basis. 

The NATO SFA COE is a multinational entity that provides expertise contributing to the development and experimentation of concepts and doctrines, and also conducts education and training activities for instructors, mentors and personnel belonging to other Nations.

The organization states its mission is “to improve effectiveness of the Alliance in promoting stability and reconstruction efforts for conflict and post-conflict scenarios through related lessons learned, education and training analysis, development of concept and doctrine activities” as well as “to provide a unique capability to Alliance, NATO Nations and NATO Partners in the field of SFA.”

The award was presented to Pond by Col. Matteo Luciani, director, and Maj. Ludovica Glorioso, legal advisor from NATO SFA, while on a visit to Glendon College, where they also met with Principal Marco Fiola and Professor Francis Garon, as well as students from Glendon’s Masters in Public and International Affairs (MAPI).  

The presence of Luciani and Glorioso at the Glendon Campus was a follow up to the signature earlier this year of a Letter of Cooperation (LOC) between NATO SFA and Glendon.

“These meetings with NATO SFA COE representatives allowed us to further discuss the role of Glendon’s School of Public and International Affairs, in support of the development of an education hub, as well as a unique summer internship opportunities for MAPI students at the SFA Centre of Excellence in Rome,” said Pond. 

Pond was recently at the offices of the Italian delegation to the United Nations on Oct. 31, where she was given the opportunity to speak about York University and Glendon College, as well as the University’s role in support of ongoing research. Previous to her role as director, Pond served Glendon as a senior Fellow where she taught graduate students and provided expertise on defence and security issues. She also served in several leadership roles at NATO for more than three decades.

The Glendon School of Public and International Affairs is preparing for an exciting year of programming, beginning with the Glendon Global Debate event “Arctic security, are we ready for the future?” on Nov. 29.