The Canada Research Chair in Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy was instituted through the support of the Canadian government’s Canada Research Chairs Program, under the supervision of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Following in the spirit of this program, the Chaire PEDC was set up to be instrument in the promotion and diffusion of novel research in the field of security in Canada. More specifically, the Chair was instituted to stimulate reflection on issues pertaining to Canada-United States relations in matters of security, on Human Security programs, as well as on the concept of strategic culture as it applies to Canada.
The creation of the Chaire PEDC in 2002 was the result of efforts on the part of the Université du Québec à Montréal to develop its international studies curriculum. It thus became one of the components of the Institut d’études internationales de Montréal (IEIM), composed of a number of units conducting research in the field and that coordinates the activities of its components.
The mission of the Canada Research Chair in Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy (Chaire PEDC) is to stimulate the ongoing reflection on the Canadian government’s international involvement, and more specifically on its activities pertaining to security. It was instituted to serve as a medium for exchange and reflection for a broad public: university students and researchers, governmental agencies and departments, and non-governmental organizations. The activities of the Canada Research Chair in Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy are developed around three main objectives: research, training and teaching activities, as well as information sharing and network development.
The first objective encompasses research activities: it is to improve our knowledge by highlight issues and the dynamics around Canadian security policies. Through a theoretical as well as historical approach, the work undertaken through the Chaire PEDC seeks to contribute to our understanding of the variables that in time come to structure the elaboration of the main orientations of the Canadian government’s policies. Reaching this objective will come through devising and conducting novel research programs inspired not only by the problems and challenges arising for the Canadian government and civil society from recent trends in the international system, but also by debates taking place within the academic community. Furthermore, the Chair also offers, to researchers as well as practitioners, an environment suited to promote scientifically rigorous but also intellectually audacious research.
The second objective of the Chair, pertaining to teaching activities, is to stimulate students interest in questions of Canadian foreign and defence policy, and to thus contribute to training newcomers in the field. It therefore offers an environment for training and orientation activities for students wishing to pursue a career in research or sekking employment in public or private sector agencies working on Canadian foreign and security policies. As well as allowing students to take part in conferences and research programs, the Chair organizes orientation activities, such as career days or visits to governmental agencies.
The third objective of the Chair is to share knowledge and information on Canadian foreign and defence policy. It seeks to do this not only within the academic community, but also to individuals interested in these issues (NGO, pre-university level students, practitioners, general public). Part of this objective also consists in fostering the development of networks among these various groups. To achieve this, the Chair organises or is associated to activities such as conferences and roundtables or the publication of short studies. In the future, it will host databanks and a francophone documentation centre to facilitate research.