Globally, the liberal world order is facing unprecedented challenges driven by a new era of ideological conflict and competition. Illiberal states are developing sustained campaigns to upend once settled norms and values such as democracy and multilateral cooperation. Canada is not immune to this phenomenon.
Common Law professors Jennifer Bond and John Packer have teamed up with researchers from a variety of fields to study these challenges. As part of a new project that brings together leading research centres and institutes at the University of Ottawa, they are seeking to reveal the fundamental dynamics underlying today’s governance and human rights issues. The project, entitled “Changing Orders: Shaping the Future and Securing Rights in a World in Transformation,” will mobilize cutting-edge research and networks of decision-makers to analyze governance and human rights questions and produce effective solutions to address them. It will also build upon and amplify innovative public interest legal interventions being conducted by project partners both domestically and internationally aimed at securing rights in a changing world order.
Changing Orders, made possible through funding from the University’s Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue, is led by four uOttawa researchers: Rita Abrahamsen, director of the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS); Jennifer Bond, director of the Refugee Hub; Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP); and John Packer, director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC). All bring support from their respective centres and institutes. With possible additional partners both in and outside the University as well, this is an exceptionally broad and interdisciplinary collaborative effort.
As part of the project, the HRREC and the Refugee Hub have jointly recruited a new postdoctoral fellow, who will work under the supervision of professors Bond and Packer. David Hughes, who holds a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School, will work with the Changing Orders team, among other projects, to study how to secure rights for the forcibly displaced in a changing international order. In addition to undertaking original legal scholarship on these issues, Dr. Hughes will work with the HRREC and the Refugee Hub to develop policy recommendations and thematic reports aimed at increasing the practical impact of the Changing Orders research on real-world problems.
Dr. Hughes was previously a Grotius Research Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School, where he wrote about various topics in international law. The resulting publications have appeared or are forthcoming in several international legal journals including the Melbourne Journal of International Law, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law and the British Yearbook of International Law. Hughes also worked at the Council of Europe, for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (in various roles), and with a coalition of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs in East Jerusalem. His postdoctoral fellowship is funded by the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue.
Speaking of the Changing Orders initiative as a whole, Professor Abrahamsen says, “We developed this project before the COVID-19 pandemic, but its importance has been cruelly illustrated by the rapid spread of the virus and its enormous political and economic impacts both globally and domestically. The pandemic has underlined the interconnectedness of the world, the need for multilateral cooperation and the close link between energy and climate. At the same time, the liberal world order is under unprecedented threat and international cooperation is at an all-time low, with potentially significant implications for Canada and Canadians.”
The Common Law Section is proud of the researchers taking part in this important work and wishes success to all members of the Changing Orders team.
Endowed by a $5 million gift from distinguished alumnus Alex Trebek, the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue is firmly rooted in the research mission of the University, helping to expand uOttawa’s global reach and impact in all areas of public policy.