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Dec. 22, 2015

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Colin Chau, a Laurier Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) student, will soon be providing research and policy analysis directly to Global Affairs Canada.

Chau is one of 11 Laurier graduate students who are part of the CIGI Graduate Fellowship (CGF) program – a partnership between the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA), where Laurier’s MIPP program is based. The CGF is a professional development program that gives students mentorship and guidance from senior scholars and policy practitioners as they advance their own research and writing skills.

This year, the CIGI graduate fellows were invited to collaborate and contribute to new thinking on key emerging international policy themes and to produce an actionable product for Global Affairs Canada, a department within the Canadian government that manages diplomatic and consular relations, encourages international trade, and leads Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance.

Chau’s research focus through the MIPP program is on Asia Pacific security and looking at the maritime claims in the Asia Pacific theatre, primarily in the South China Sea, and how the overlapping claims and interests will play out.

"Laurier's School of International Policy and Governance provides an excellent opportunity to students through the MIPP program to equip themselves to be effective influencers and decision makers,” said Chau.

Chau, along with his project peers, Lee-Shan Tse (Master of Arts in Global Governance, UW) and Terry D’Andrea (PhD in Global Governance, Laurier/UW), and supervising mentor David Welch, are looking closely at China, Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as other significant players such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia in the areas of historical nationalisms, energy, power balances, and securing and controlling the sea-lanes for global commerce inside and outside of peacetime.

Through his policy brief, Chau hopes to provide Global Affairs Canada and other stakeholders with insight into the options available for Canada to capitalize on the opportunity to be an honest broker in the Asia Pacific.

Involvement in policy briefs like these are an example of the practical benefits of the MIPP and CGF program.

"The Masters of International Public Policy program gives our students the practical skills needed to enter the workforce and make an immediate contribution,” said Paul Maxim, professor and director of MIPP. “Our graduates have had, and continue to have, a significant impact on public policy in many domains."

The BSIA was delighted when Global Affairs Canada approached them with the invitation over the summer.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the school to inform and make a real contribution to the development of Canadian foreign policy,” said John Ravenhill, director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

The Foreign Policy Bureau at Global Affairs Canada looks forward to receiving the results of this promising research initiative when students present their findings and policy recommendations in the spring.


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