Date: August 24, 2009
Gordon Smith Wins Vanier Medal For Service To Canada
Whether it’s calling for the expansion of G-8 membership or offering proposals to achieve self-sustaining peace in Afghanistan, Gordon Smith never hesitates to inject policy research into the public agenda and public eye. In recognition of his life-long public administration leadership in the service of Canada, the executive director of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies is this year’s recipient of the Vanier Medal from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.
“I’m surprised and pleased,” says Smith, who became the centre’s founding director in 1997 after a distinguished career with the Canadian public service including the Department of Foreign Affairs. “The centre’s mission is to have an impact on public policy. The work I do at UVic flows directly from what I used to do as a government insider.”
Now on the other side of public policy discussions, Smith is committed to engaging the public in the centre’s work on breaking deadlocks among major world powers and restructuring inefficient international institutions. He’s a frequent contributor to Op/Ed sections of prominent newspapers, appears often as a commentator on national media and delivers the centre’s research face to face, often at the request of world leaders.
The Centre organized a workshop in the United Kingdom last March attended by Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown who led the discussion for the first part of the meeting. Smith will organize a similar event for the Canadian team preparing for the 2010 G8 Summit in Ontario.
“Gordon Smith’s work tackles some of the toughest governance problems facing the world today,” says UVic President David Turpin. “Under his leadership, our Centre for Global Studies has pushed for recognition and inclusion of emerging world powers at the world’s most significant meetings while championing an invigorated role for Canada as an influential nation.”
Under the centre’s administration and support, both the Canadian Institute for Climate Studies, now the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, and the International Institute for Children’s Rights and Development have flourished and expanded their influence. Smith says his most personally satisfying achievement was seeing the creation of a G-20 leaders’ level meeting—for which the centre was a lead advocate.
Smith will receive the Vanier Medal, first presented in 1962 and named for then Governor General Georges P. Vanier, at a ceremony in Ottawa later this year.
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