By Kristine Lee

Margaret Biggs, former president of the Canadian International Development Agency, gave a keynote address on March 18 to kick off the second annual Trends in International Affairs Conference hosted by the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA).

The theme of this year’s conference was “The Politics of Change”, something Biggs highlighted in her presentation regarding changing global development goals in order for them to fit into present day context.

“These goals don’t just apply to those other countries, they apply to us,” she said.

There were 17 goals that Biggs highlighted in her talk, but one in particular applied to the next day’s conference, she said.

“It deals with equal societies, access to justice, accountability, and governance,” she said. “I would say much of what the current government is thinking about doing in the international policy space, is going to be in this area.”

Mitchell Robitaille, an MA candidate in international development policy, was one of the presenters at the full day conference happening March 19. He presented a paper he wrote last semester on his research around “aid orphans” or countries that tend to receive less international support and aid. While his focus of study is on international development, he said the conference was an important opportunity for students to learn about the various “streams of International Affairs.”

“There’s some development, there’s some conflict, there’s some environmental policy, some security policy, law,” he explained. “They’re all so interconnected, as Margaret Biggs was sort of emphasizing in her presentation tonight.”

Heba Awad, an academic committee member in the NPSIA student association and MA candidate, organized Biggs’ talk. She said the interconnection was an important aspect of the conference, not only to International Affairs students, but for budding academics from all fields of study both at and outside of Carleton.

“I was really hoping to encourage people to be able to come and sit in on topics that they wouldn’t normally be interested in or would think would be relevant to them,” she said, “in order to give them an opportunity to really network and learn from each other.”

The conversation created with the conference, she added, helped to give students a global perspective on the “Politics of Change.”

“This reception and the presentations are all a way to engage in the dialogue that’s going on, in order to give the students a chance to really contribute to the changing world out there.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 in , , ,
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