July 11, 2019
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – The Board of Directors of the Balsillie School of International Affairs has appointed global security expert and political scientist Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald as director of the school for the next five years, beginning Aug. 1.
As director, Fitz-Gerald will be responsible for leading the Balsillie School's world-class international affairs research, as well as the day-to-day operations of the school. She has also been appointed as full professor to Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Arts, where her faculty appointment will be in the Department of Political Science.
“Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald is an internationally recognized global security expert with a wealth of experience as both an administrative leader and scholar,” said Robert Gordon, Laurier’s provost and vice-president, as well as academic and board chair at the Balsillie School. “With Ann at the helm, we are extremely confident the Balsillie School will continue to grow as a preeminent centre in global governance. We are thrilled to have her.”
Fitz-Gerald is currently a professor in Cranfield University’s School of Defence and Security at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. She holds a Chair in Security Sector Management and is the director, Defence and Security Leadership.
“I am honoured and excited to have the opportunity to lead the Balsillie School at a time of such complex and challenging dynamics in international relations,” said Fitz-Gerald. “I am also looking forward to returning to Canada, bringing my own background and international experience to bear on research and teaching in areas of exceptional importance to Canada's international policy development.”
Fitz-Gerald has degrees in commerce and political science from Queen’s University and in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. She completed her PhD at Cranfield University and joined King’s College London University’s Centre for Defence Studies. Prior to engaging in an academic career, Fitz-Gerald worked in the financial services sector, the Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Training Centre and NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 2001, she returned to Cranfield’s Department of Management and Security, where she led the Centre for Security Sector Management and served as associate dean of research from 2006 to 2009. She is currently the course director of the master’s program in Security Sector Management, which is delivered in both the UK and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Fitz-Gerald holds a number of non-executive board positions and visiting professorships. She is also a senior security and justice adviser to the UK Government. She has been engaged all over the world to facilitate strategic national security policy processes as well as internationally sponsored peace talks.
Fitz-Gerald will be replacing John Ravenhill, who has been the Balsillie School director since 2013. Prior to joining the school, Ravenhill headed the School of Politics and International Relations in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University.
“We are so grateful for the outstanding leadership Dr. Ravenhill has provided over the past six years,” said Gordon. “The Balsillie School would not be where it is today without his vision, commitment and oversight.”
“I see the Balsillie School as a unique institution that provides students and scholars with the academic and experiential foundations to lead Canadian and international organizations in pursuing the most effective paths to global security and harmony,” said Fitz-Gerald. “I look forward to continuing the effective accomplishments of Dr. Ravenhill and building on the developments he has fostered.”
As a hub in a global network of scholars, practitioners and students, the Balsillie School of International Affairs aims to develop new solutions to humanity’s critical problems, improve global governance now and in the future, and enhance the quality of people’s lives around the world. Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Jim Balsillie, the Balsillie School is an equal collaboration with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.
The Balsillie School of International Affairs currently hosts three world-class graduate programs: the Master of International Public Policy (Laurier), the Master of Arts in Global Governance (University of Waterloo) and the PhD in Global Governance (joint program between the University of Waterloo and Laurier).
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