Global Brief, Canada’s first international affairs magazine, was welcomed by the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), its new institutional home, at a launching ceremony on the Glendon campus on November 3rd.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief and publisher is Irvin Studin, a PhD candidate in constitutional law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and a former Rhodes Scholar (for more about Irvin Studin, please see the section below). At a time when many paper publications are threatened with extinction, Studin and his associate editor – life-long friend, York graduate (BA Special Honours 2004), and legal advisor with the International Criminal Court, Sam Sasan Shoamanesh express their confidence in the magazine’s success. (For more about Sam Sasan Shoamanesh, please see the section below.)
Global Brief ‘s first issue was published earlier this year to universal praise. When the financial support for it was withdrawn, Glendon’s recently opened Graduate School of Public and International Affairs stepped into the breach as its new host and, in fact, its second issue – distributed at the heavily attended Glendon launch – was already featured as a Glendon publication.
Left: L-r: Former Canadian Ambassador Chris Alexander, Editor-in-Chief of Global Brief Irvin Studin, Associate Editor Sam Shoamanesh and Glendon Principal Ken McRoberts
Global Brief, sporting the subtitle World Affairs in the 21st Century, and with the intriguing focus for the second issue, Who’s to Lead?, is a glossy publication featuring some of Canada’s and the world’s top thinkers in English and French from a great diversity of fields. Thus, in its October issue, Gwynne Dyer’s article about “The End of Global Oil Demand” shares space with Louise Arbour’s “On Great Men and Women”, Leonid Kosals’ “Russia’s New Ideocratic State”, Moshe Milevsky’s “Are There Any Bismarcks in the House?” and George Elliott Clarke’s “Artists and Revolution”. Former Canadian Ambassador in Kabul, Christopher Alexander, writes about “Afghan Futures” and Hubert Védrine, former French Foreign Minister and currently President of the François Mitterand Institute, poses the question, “L’Europe de 2020 – Leader stratégique ?” (Will the Europe of 2020 be a Strategic Leader?).
Studin and Shoamanesh see their publication as a unique, 21st century platform for high-end debates on international politics, geopolitics, business, culture, religion and critical world trends and events. “While Britain has The Economist, France has Le Monde Diplomatique and the U.S. has Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, this country has a gap in this area that we hope to fill”, says Studin.
Right: L-r: Principal McRoberts, professors Michael Barutciski, Ian Roberge and Marie Lavoie
“Our ambition [with Global Brief] is to become this country’s leading forum for discussion about world affairs”, adds Shoamanesh. “The calibre of the contributors ensures the quality of the product. The list of future contributors is projected to include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former President of the International Criminal Court Philippe Kirsch, Canadian and Oxford historian Margaret McMillan, journalist and filmmaker Alexandre Trudeau, among others.”
In his welcoming speech, Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts confirmed that Global Brief is a perfect fit with first Principal Escott Reid’s vision for Glendon as a bilingual liberal arts college preparing the future leaders of this country. “The scope of the education provided on this campus is greatly enhanced by the new School of Public and International Affairs, the soon to be launched Centre for Global Challenges and the arrival of Global Brief”, said McRoberts.
“We grew up in Canada, read and wrote about this country and the world, but there was no publication with an international scope produced here”, said Studin at the launch. “Canada is largely an inward-looking society, which is why we need to push our population to look at the world and to think about foreign affairs with greater sophistication. Global Brief is a Canadian magazine”, he added, “but not only by Canadians for Canadians. It is under Canadian leadership, but targeting a global audience in both English and French in print, and hyper-multilingually online.” He paid tribute to other leaders in the magazine’s production: associate editor and special adviser Shoamanesh, and Louis Fishauf, one of Canada’s most respected graphic artists, responsible for the magazine’s design concepts.
Left: L-r: Principal McRoberts; Director of Executive Programs, Schulich School of Business, Alan Middleton; Director of the GSPIA Alex Himelfarb
The keynote speaker of the event was Christopher Alexander, Canada’s first resident Ambassador to Kabul and one-time Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan. “Global Brief […] captures the zeitgeist of our time”, said Alexander. “It is not just Anglo-centric; it takes us beyond our usual framework, debates the world in many languages and commands an outstanding ‘stable’ of writers all over the world.” Speaking of his own contribution to the October issue, Alexander said that Studin encouraged him to go beyond the usual issues, to explore what paths may be available for helping Afghanistan, and whether there is a chance for that country to become governable. “I appreciate having the opportunity to explore several scenarios in the company of outstanding writers”, said Alexander, who emphasized the importance and benefits of such debates. “Today, we are living in a world of rapidly changing realities”, he added. “The twenty years since the end of the Cold War have resulted in huge economic prosperity, but also serious threats in many parts of the world. This dichotomy needs to be broadly debated and in this debate, Global Brief has a very significant role to play.”
Several members of the Glendon community are participating in the ongoing production of the magazine. Among these are professors Marie Lavoie and Michael Barutciski – members of the GSPIA's faculty - working as assistant editors. Four graduate students in the Masters of Public and International Affairs program – Michelle Collins, Alice Gheorghiu, Marie-Anitha Jaotody and Mary Elizabeth Simovic are also working as junior editors on the magazine, with the unique opportunity to acquire hands-on experience on a world-class publication.
Right: L-r: The four junior editors - Masters students Michelle Collins , Mary Elizabeth Simovic, Marie-Anitha Jaotody and Alice Gheorghiu
“This is a fantastic opportunity to put into practice what we learn in the classroom”, says Gheorghiu.”Reviewing the arguments of well-known writers is an intense and intimidating process.”
“Editing provides us, students with a competitive edge in understanding academics’ views beyond the textbook and it’s a great learning experience”, adds Simovic.
For Jaotody, “…participating in the practical aspects of producing a publication offers an opportunity to enhance our networking and writing skills and allows us to experience the steps involved in ways that the classroom cannot provide.”
Collins comments that "…as students interested in international affairs, it's really exciting to work with Global Brief because this is a magazine that has a strong international focus and an ambitious vision for what Canadians can contribute at a global level. It is a great opportunity to connect with Canada's top thinkers and to inspire us to think critically about the role Canada can play in the world."
In addition to its quarterly paper editions, Global Brief also exists as a constantly updated electronic magazine with new submissions in English and French published on an ongoing basis, as well as daily blogs in seven languages – going on ten by the next issue.
“Having Global Brief as part of the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs is a natural”, says director of the GSPIA Alexander Himelfarb, “because, consistent with the goals of the School, it joins research and scholarship with practice and public policy. And, of increasing importance to public policy, Global Brief helps to draw the link between international and domestic issues."
More about Irvin Studin
Irvin Studin holds degrees from York University’s Schulich School of Business, the London School of Economics and Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. He is also a Trudeau Scholar, and teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. Studin worked for a number of years at the Privy Council Office (Prime Minister’s department) in Ottawa, as well as the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra. The first recruit of the Canadian government’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders programme, he co-authored Canada’s 2004 national security policy and principal-authored Australia’s 2006 national counter-terrorism policy. Studin publishes frequently in Policy Options, and is the editor of What is a Canadian? Forty-Three Thought-Provoking Responses (McClelland & Stewart, 2006).
More about Sam Sasan Shoamanesh
Sam S. Shoamanesh is an attorney specialized in international law. His experience in the discipline has been acquired at the United Nations-International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, where he has served since 2005. He holds degrees in political science from York University (Toronto) and an LL.B. (Common Law) and LL.L. (Civil Law) from the University of Ottawa. Shoamanesh is a past senior editor and board member of the Ottawa Law Review and a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He has had extensive training in international law and general and diplomatic negotiations at, among others, the United Nations in Vienna, Harvard Law School, University of Oxford, the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, École Nationale d’Administration (Paris) and The Hague Academy of International Law. He has published widely, with writings on international affairs and foreign policy appearing in the Harvard International Review and the MIT International Review. He is currently based in The Hague, Netherlands.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny