Centre for the study of democracy

The Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) is a multidisciplinary policy studies research organization which enhances the study of democracy both within Canada and abroad. Founded in the mid-1990s, CSD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization affiliated with the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. CSD is chaired by Dr. Thomas Axworthy, Principal Secretary and Chief Speechwriter for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the early 1980s.

The CSD operates on the principle that building local knowledge of democratization and good governance is the most effective means of allowing countries undergoing democratic transitions to successfully manage this change over the long term, as well as being able to effectively respond to crises. CSD works extensively with local partners to provide both the pedagogical experience expertise and practical experience necessary to assist in the development of local democratic values programs as well as providing contacts to others who have succeeded in similar efforts.

The CSD focuses on research, mutual learning and executive development programming, designed to increase indigenous capacity to produce, debate and disseminate research about democracy.

The CSD is guided by three principles: to work jointly with individuals or institutions abroad on research projects of mutual interest that contributes to democratic governance, to commit to local partners to establish democratic capacity (a process which often takes years), and to use this experience to teach the lessons learned to other countries.

The CSD was founded by Dr. George Perlin, Professor Emeritus in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University, who specializes in the study of Ukraine. He initiated one of the most extensive project undertaken by the Centre, which involved the development of a Democratic Values Curriculum in Ukraine, the Canada-Ukraine Democracy Education Project, which is ongoing.

Research Pillars

  • Transitions to Democracy
  • Democratic Governance in Canada
  • Managing Emergencies and Disasters in the 21st Century

Centre Fellows

  • Kant Bhargava - Senior Advisor Ambassador (Rtd) served in the Indian Foreign Service for 34 years; former Secretary General of The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation; honorary advisor to SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, serving as International Advisor to South Asian Centre for Policy Studies
  • Leslie Campbell - Senior associate at the Washington D.C.-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
  • Mary Lou Finlay - Journalist and former host of CBC Radio's "As It Happens"
  • Nicholas Fogg - Former Head of Religious Studies at Marlborough College, Oxford University and expert on the Middle East
  • Stuart Fyfe - Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University; Former Director, Queen’s Institute of Local Government
  • Syed H. Imam - Director of South & Central Asia Democracy Project
  • Grant Kippen - Co-founder and Principal of the Hillbrooke Group; former Senior Resident Director (Afghanistan), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
  • Diana Mackay - World Bank
  • George Perlin - Founding Chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy; Director, Ukraine Education Project, Queen’s University, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University
  • Leroy Sua - Executive Director, Sua Foundation
  • Wilhelm Vossenkuhl - Professor of philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

Advisory Council

  • Keith Banting - Faculty, Queen's School of Policy Studies, Cross-Appointed Department of Political Studies, holder of the Queen's Research Chair in Public Policy
  • Kathy Brock - Associate Faculty, Queen's School of Policy Studies, Cross-Appointed Department of Political Studies
  • John McGarry - Faculty, Queen's Department of Political Studies
  • Charles Pentland - Director, Queen's Centre for International Relations
  • Arthur Sweetman - Director, Queen's School of Policy Studies
  • Sharryn Aiken - Faculty, Queen's Faculty of Law
  • Will Kymlicka - Faculty, Queen's Department of Philosophy and Political Studies
  • George Perlin - Director, Building Democracy in the Ukraine Project, Queen's University

The Centre also organizes numerous events at Queen’s University, regularly hosting guest lectures for the School of Policy Studies, and organizing periodic conferences on topics of interest. Conferences organized by the Centre have included:

  • Canadian Values and Democracy Lecture: Mary Lou Finlay (November 17, 2006)
  • Canadian Values and Democracy Lecture: Omar Samad, Afghan Ambassador to Canada (November 2, 2006)
  • Conference - Ethics and Emergencies - Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides and Why? (October 19, 2006)
  • Canadian Values and Democracy Lecture: Jason Kenney (October 13, 2006)
  • Canadian Values and Democracy Lecture: David Kilgour (October 5, 2006)
  • Canadian Values and Democracy Lecture: Gerard Kennedy - "Building a Canadian Advantage" (September 15, 2006)
  • Conference - Can a Disaster Really be Managed? – Lessons and Comparisons from the Recent Past (May 3-4, 2006)

Ongoing and Past Projects

  • Transitions to Democracy – Israel (currently underway)
  • Transitions to Democracy – Taiwan
  • Transitions to Democracy – Afghanistan
  • Transitions to Democracy – Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Transitions to Democracy – Hong Kong
  • Canada-Ukraine Democracy Education Project
  • The Al-Mashat Affair: Canada Debates Accountability
  • Addressing the Accountability Deficit: Why Paul Martin’s minority government must pay more attention to the three A’s
  • The Democracy Canada Institute: A Blueprint
  • Preparing Police Services in Democratic Regimes to Support the Electoral Process: A Survey of Leading Practice

External links

  • Centre for the Study of Democracy Homepage
  • School of Policy Studies, Queen's University
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