Co-edited with Taylor Owen (University of Toronto Press, 2016)

The need for an ambitious and forward-looking Canadian international strategy has never been greater. In The World Won't Wait, some of Canada's brightest thinkers respond. Covering both classic foreign policy issues such as international security, human rights, and global institutions and emerging issues like internet governance, climate change, and sustainable development, their essays offer fresh and provocative responses to today's challenges and opportunities.

Selected by the Hill Times as one of the "Top Books of 2016"

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Read the first chapter (pdf)

Co-edited with Edward Newman and Oliver Richmond (UNU/Brookings, 2009)

This volume explores and critiques the "liberal" premise of contemporary peacebuilding: the promotion of democracy, market-based economic reforms, and a range of other institutions associated with modern states as a driving force for building peace.

"A 'must read' for scholars and practitioners alike."
     --Richard Caplan, Oxford University

Publisher's website

Co-edited with Timothy D. Sisk (Routledge, 2009)
"Roland Paris and Timothy Sisk have compiled the essential guide to understanding the inherent contradictions that lie at the heart of the statebuilding enterprise. Drawing on a range of contemporary cases the volume's contributors expertly dissect the dilemmas raised by the challenges of coordination, security, political economy, institutional design, and autonomy. Students, analysts or practitioners looking to reflect on the process of statebuilding will find no better place to start their enquiry."
        --Paul D. Williams, George Washington University
Publisher's website

Cambridge University Press, 2004

Winner of the 2007 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, the 2005 Chadwick F. Alger Award (International Studies Association) and the 2004 Eugene M. Kayden Award (University of Colorado)

"Few studies of peacekeeping and peacebuilding merit the description 'breakthrough.' This is one of them." --Michael Pugh, Director, University of Plymouth and Editor of the International Peacekeeping journal

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German edition: Wenn die Waffen schweigen: Friedenskonsolidierung nach innerstaatlichen Gewaltkonf likten (Hamburg Editions, 2007)

Introduction translated into Spanish

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July 22, 2020

Canadian attitudes towards China have undergone a dramatic shift – from ambivalence to distrust – since the two countries became locked in a diplomatic dispute in late 2018. This paper argues that these hardened sentiments are unlikely to dissipate and Canada–China relations seem to have entered a new, warier phase.

Full text:

July 17, 2020

Essay published by the Public Policy Forum.

Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated developing geopolitical shifts that are unlikely to dissipate even after the pandemic's economic shock wanes. As a country long used to a more benign international environment, the future prosperity, security and well-being of Canadians will depend in no small measure on how well we navigate this unfamiliar world.

Full text: (English) (Français)

July 10, 2020

In Braver Canada: Shaping Our Destiny in a Precarious World, Derek Burney and Fen Hampson argue that Canada needs a new global strategy for a world of growing geopolitical rivalry. Although they wrote the book before the coronavirus pandemic, the longer-term political and economic shifts they analyze—including the rise of illiberal populism and “America First” nativism, an increasingly brazen and repressive China, mounting technological competition, and the weakening of international institutions and cooperation—seem to have been accentuated by the COVID-19 crisis. Geopolitical tensions, in other words, are not going away...

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March 25, 2020

Published in International Organization 74:3 (Summer 2020)

A principal theme of international relations scholarship following the Cold War was the apparent erosion of state sovereignty caused by globalization's integrative effects and the proliferation of international institutions and networks. In recent years, however, scholars have noted a reverse trend: the reassertion of traditional, or Westphalian, state sovereignty. By contrast, I highlight another recent trend that has gone largely overlooked: the reaffirmation of older “extralegal” and “organic” versions of sovereignty by three of the world's most powerful states—Russia, China, and the United States. After tracing the genealogy of these older concepts, I consider how and why they have gained prominence in the official discourse of all three countries. I also explore the implications of this shift, which not only illustrates the importance of “norm retrieval” in international affairs, but also raises questions about the founda...

June 20, 2019

Published by Chatham House, June 18, 2019

Many middle powers have been warning of the dangers inherent in the decline of the liberal international order. The time has come for these countries to translate their warnings into concerted action.

March 19, 2019

Canada has found itself in serious diplomatic disputes over the past year with Saudi Arabia and China. The Saudis took issue with the Canadian foreign minister’s call to release human rights activists from prison, whereas China was angry at Canada’s arrest of a senior Chinese executive on an extradition request from the United States. These incidents should not be viewed as isolated aberrations. Authoritarian regimes seem increasingly emboldened to lash out at countries that displease them, including allies of the United States. But Ottawa has succeeded in rallying considerable international support for its position in the China dispute, suggesting that while Canada may be exposed, it is not destined to be alone

January 25, 2019

China’s apparent use of Canadian detainees as diplomatic bargaining chips is not just a problem for Canada. It is a challenge to all countries that seek to uphold the rule of law...

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July 23, 2018

in Thomas G. Weiss and Sam Dawes, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the United Nations, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Peacebuilding – helping societies make the transition from civil violence to a durable peace – has been the United Nations’ principal security activity since the end of the Cold War. Although peacebuilding methods have been refined during years of trial and error, it remains an uncertain science, yielding mixed results. But for all its shortcomings, the international peacebuilding "project" remains one of the most remarkable exercises in collective conflict management the world has ever witnessed. This chapter identifies the principal features of the UN’s peacebuilding operations, examines the record of peacebuilding since the end of the Cold War, and describes some of the main issues and controversies surrounding these missions.

May 23, 2018

Justin Trudeau’s brand of internationalism, which blends liberal idealism and interest-based realism, has worked well for Canada in the past and stands to do so in the future. However, two perils loom.

International Journal 73:1 (March 2018), pp. 146-157

Based on the report of the Study Group on Global Education, this article explains why Canada needs a national strategy aimed at significantly increasing the number of Canadian post-secondary students going abroad for study and work-integrated learning experiences. International education may once have been viewed as an optional luxury. Now it must be seen as a vital tool to equip young Canadians – and Canada – to succeed in a more complex and competitive world.

Related document: Report of the Study Group on Global Education (Nov. 2017)

August 1, 2016

In Alex J. Bellamy and Tim Dunne, eds., Oxford Handbook on the Responsibility to Protect (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 509-523

Abstract: Policy practitioners and scholars have tended to treat the responsibility to protect (R2P) and peacebuilding as separate domains. This chapter, in contrast, argues that these two domains are more closely connected than both the policy discourse and much of the academic literature would suggest. Peacebuilding appears to be an integral part of R2P, and peacebuilding strategies aimed at reducing the risks of conflict relapse are core strategies for preventing atrocity crimes. Further, the use of coercive military force to stop an imminent or actual atrocity crime creates its own requirement for post-crisis peacebuilding. Thus, closer analysis of the relationship between peacebuilding and R2P would benefit both practitioners and scholars.

Introduction: POLICY practitioners and scholars have tended to treat the responsibility to prote...

Introductory chapter in Roland Paris and Taylor Owen, eds., The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink Its International Policies (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2015), pp. 3-19

Canada needs a more ambitious, forward-looking, and effective international strategy. Profound global changes are casting doubt on assumptions that have long underpinned Canada’s foreign policy. No longer can the United States be relied upon either to drive Canadian economic growth or to single-handedly underwrite the global trading system and international security. Competition for markets, energy, and resources is intensifying. Communications technologies are collapsing distance and hierarchies, empowering new digital actors, but also raising new concerns about intrusive surveillance, cyberattacks, and violent radicalization across borders. Rising powers and non-state actors, from philanthropic foundations to terrorist networks, are playing a larger role on the global stage. Millions of people aroun...

Concluding chapter in Roland Paris and Taylor Owen, eds., The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink Its International Policies (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2015), pp. 3-19

Canada needs an updated version of liberal internationalism, based on clear-eyed analysis of how the world is changing and how these changes will affect Canada, and in recognition of the fact that the security, prosperity, and well-being of the current and future generations of Canadians will depend, in part, on how effectively we respond to these challenges.

Info on the book

December 11, 2015

Ethics and International Affairs 29:4 (Winter 2015), pp. 407-418

Abstract: Global governance has indeed become more diversified in recent decades, and informal arrangements do sometimes provide opportunities for action when traditional multilateral bodies are stymied. But there is something important missing from this picture. The fundamental challenge of global governance today is not a shortage of cooperative mechanisms but the rapid shift in power away from the United States and the West toward emerging countries in the erstwhile periphery of the international system—countries that do not necessarily share Western assumptions about the purposes and methods of global governance.

June 1, 2015

International Relations 29:2 (June 2015), pp. 139-176

Abstract:  How do foreign actors involved in ‘regime change’ decide which kinds of domestic governance structures to promote in place of the regimes they have deposed? Most of the literature on foreign-imposed regime change assumes that interveners make such decisions based on rational calculations of expected utility. This article, by contrast, contends that interveners are predisposed to promote political arrangements that correspond to their own governance ‘schemas’, or taken-for-granted assumptions about the nature of political authority.


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Roland Paris
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

120 University Private, Room 6053

Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 3M5, Canada

+1 (613) 562-5800 x4047

© Roland Paris 2020