Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

 Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

The oldest global affairs school in Canada is dominated by individuals with ties to the very decision-making structures they study. There is a close association between Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and Global Affairs Canada. Former Canadian ambassador to the UN, president of the Security Council and director of the government-created Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, William Barton gave $3 million to establish a chair at NPSIA in 2008. Recent NPSIA faculty includes numerous former Canadian diplomats, including ambassador to Washington Derek Burney, long-time diplomat Colin Robertson and former ambassador to Jordan, Egypt and Israel Michael Dougall Bell. A former director of DND’s Directorate of History, Norman Hillmer, security analyst Stephanie Carvin and special advisor to the external minister Gerald Wright are also faculty members.

NPSIA was established in 1965 with $400,000 ($5 million today) from long-time Senator Norman Paterson, a grain-shipping magnate. During World War II his company provided vessels for Atlantic convoys and Paterson was a major player within the Liberal Party.

Twice under-secretary of External Affairs and leading architect of post-World War II Canadian foreign policy, Norman Robertson was the school’s first director. Unhappy in a diplomatic post in Geneva, External Affairs colleagues secured Robertson the NPSIA position. During his time at Carleton’s graduate program, Robertson continued to be paid as a “Senior Advisor” to External Affairs, overseeing a major review of a department concerned about growing criticism that it was acting as a U.S. “errand boy” in Vietnam.

The initial chair of Strategic Studies at NPSIA was a former deputy minister of Veterans Affairs and Canada’s principal disarmament negotiator between 1960 and 1968. Lieutenant-General Eedson L. M. Burns left government to take up the Carleton post.

Three months after stepping down as prime minister in 1968 Lester Pearson began teaching a seminar on Canadian foreign policy at NPSIA. In a foreword to Freedom and Change: Essays in Honour of Lester B. Pearson, Senator Norman Paterson wrote, “the idea of creating a School of International Affairs in Canada and thoughts on how Lester Pearson might spend part of his time after retiring from public life became intimately bound together in my mind.”

After Pearson died in 1972 his friends raised funds to establish the Lester B. Pearson Chair of International Affairs at NPSIA. A former Canadian ambassador to Egypt and the USSR, as well as secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Arnold Cantwell Smith, was the first Lester B. Pearson chair.