The public policy challenges confronting 21st-century society include a range of issues relating to political, economic and environmental relations between governments and other bodies nationally and internationally.
Laurier researchers seek to understand these challenges and increase our capacity to contribute to meaningful solutions and dialogue. Issues in this area include war and peace; global migration; food security; human rights, justice and equality; social activism, social welfare and community development; and policy making of all kinds.
Our relationships with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Balsillie School of International Affairs allow for deeply interdisciplinary and collaborative work to contribute to confronting these issues on the world stage.
Laurier is gaining international renown for its interdisciplinary research on human rights, particularly in relation to human migration and development. As a partner in the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA), Laurier plays a prominent role in research and in educating the next generation of policy makers.
Headquartered at the BSIA, Laurier’s International Migration Research Centre is one of Canada’s leading centres for research on topics such as migrant work, borders, displacement, detention and newcomer settlement. Its experts have addressed the United Nations General Assembly and influenced the development of international policy. Laurier’s Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa examines a wide range of issues related to Africa, including development, social justice, human rights and education. The BSIA’s Migration, Mobilities, and Social Politics research cluster brings together a broad range of researchers who focus on populations on the move.
To complement its world-leading research, Laurier boasts strong programs in areas such as International Policy and Governance, Human Rights and Human Diversity, Global Studies, Social and Environmental Justice, Women and Gender Studies and an International Development Option.
Our food systems have huge effects on the world. They can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, health problems, human rights abuses, inequality and waste – or to environmental sustainability, community, health, equity and inclusion. A prominent group of Laurier researchers therefore focus on sustainable food systems and food security locally and internationally.
The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (LCSFS) and the Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE) partnership pursue community-driven research on sustainable food systems and food security in locations ranging from the global south to Canada’s North. This work is further expanded through a UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies. The Hungry Cities Partnership, co-led by Laurier, is an international network of cities, organizations and researchers examining urban food security in the global south. Some members of the International Migration Research Centre research migrant farm work.
Students can focus on food systems research through programs such as Geography and Environmental Studies, International Public Policy, Global Governance and Environmental Science.
Promoting Indigeneity and reconciliation are priorities for Laurier, including integrating Indigenous knowledges and practices into research and conducting research in partnership with Indigenous communities, whether the topic is water, food security, permafrost, community-led environmental monitoring, planning for disasters or recognizing Indigenous rights. Laurier is also helping spread reconciliation-driven research practices around the circumpolar Arctic and contributing to on-the-land camps that help youth, elders and scientists connect.
Laurier’s Indigenous Rights and Resource Governance Research Group focuses on Indigenous communities’ rights to make decisions about activities that would affect them and their land. The Centre for Indigegogy works to improve teaching by and about Indigenous peoples. At the Balsillie School, the Indigenous Peoples, Decolonization and the Globe research cluster examines Indigeneity internationally. The annual Indigenist Research Symposium showcases the work of Indigenous researchers and emerging Indigenous research methodologies at Laurier and beyond.
Students benefit from Laurier’s deep commitment to Indigenous research and education, through programs such as Indigenous Studies and the Faculty of Social Work's Indigenous Field of Study. Many other programs make efforts to integrate Indigenous knowledge across disciplines, in part with the support of the Indigenous Knowledge Fund and Indigenous curriculum specialist.
Public policy and politics affect everyone’s lives. Laurier has a wealth of researchers who focus on a variety of aspects of policy, including international trade, multilevel governance, gendered aspects of governance, the meaning of ‘open government’ and environmental governance.
The Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy investigates public opinion and election polling. The Laurier Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis engages in economic policy research. The Academic Council on the United Nations System was for many years headquartered at Laurier, which still maintains strong connections to the group. At the Balsillie School, the Waterloo Political Economy Group and the Multilateral Institutions, Global Health and STEM for Global Resilience research clusters examine international public policy.
Students at the School of International Policy and Governance benefit from Laurier’s world-leading research, as do students in programs such as Political Science, North American Studies, Global Studies and Economics.