Dr. Joanna Robinson
Welcome to the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs. I am honoured and excited to serve as Interim Director of this unique global institution which contributes to advancing public policy and international affairs in an interdisciplinary and bilingual environment. The GSPIA is a dynamic and collegial community of talented students, faculty and fellows who share a passion for shaping Canada’s future and contributing to innovative and effective public policy. I have been fortunate to be part of the school since joining Glendon as a faculty member in 2012. My research and teaching interests are in the areas of climate change, inequality, environmental and social justice. Over the past 8 years, I have been encouraged by the commitment and dedication of the MPIA students to work for an equitable, healthy and sustainable world. The GSPIA faculty is committed to providing the educational and experiential foundation for students to thrive and drive change in an increasingly complex and challenging world.
As Interim Director I will focus on strengthening our existing collaborations and relationships with policy makers and leaders in Canada and globally as well as building new relationships that enhance our ability to address and respond to key challenges facing Canada and the world, including social and environmental injustice, Indigenous reconciliation and systemic racism.
Since its founding in 2006, the GSPIA has built strong relationships with governments and policy makers at local, provincial and federal levels as well as international and non-governmental organizations so that we are well-positioned to train the next generation of policy makers and leaders. With our unique programs and events, including the dual degree program with the Université de Strasbourg, the Glendon Global Debates, and international conferences and student internships, we attract a diverse group of intellectually curious students who learn to apply tools, knowledge and skills to become leaders in Canada and the world. The wide array of courses that we offer in French and English, combined with close mentorship and expertise of the multidisciplinary GSPIA faculty and fellows, provide our students with a deep understanding of the governance policy-making process in Canada and internationally. Our alumni have succeeded as leaders in public policy, government, non-governmental organizations, education and the business sector.
This year the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to academic institutions, as we quickly moved instruction online and faced the loss of our in-person peer communities. The pandemic has also highlighted key issues and challenges facing our societies. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racialized and low-income communities has exposed how growing inequality, systemic racism and poverty interact to create deleterious outcomes for individuals, groups and societies. At the same time, the pandemic also points to the critical importance of effective public policy responses and the importance of prioritizing policies that focus on equity, well-being and resilience. The responses by governments and public health institutions around the world demonstrate the critical role that the public sector can play in supporting people and economies, from basic income, to investments in health, education and the environment.
Glendon and York University are leaders in championing social justice, equity and sustainability. Now is the time to be bold and work to implement innovative public policy on key issues including equity and inclusion, climate justice, Indigenous rights and governance and enacting policies to address and end systemic racism. We have an opportunity to actively contribute to policies, programs and social change in Canada and internationally that prioritize well-being and the rights of people and the planet. The GSPIA has much to offer this future and I look forward to working with students, faculty and staff and to address these challenges together and advance the impact of the school.
Dr. Joanna Robinson
Glendon School of Public and International Affairs