By: Liz Do
1 Nov, 2022
Stephen Toope plans to draw on his extensive global experience to inspire new directions and create breakthroughs across borders and disciplines.
Following an extensive international search, Toope was announced as the organization’s newest President and CEO this spring. He is CIFAR’s fifth president, succeeding Alan Bernstein.
“I’m looking forward to leading CIFAR and expanding its reach and networks internationally,” says Toope. “CIFAR has a global impact and a deep commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration. For 40 years, CIFAR has been a catalyst for change in industry, government and society. We bring Canada to the world and the world to Canada. I’m looking forward to engaging with our staff, researchers, donors and the broader research community in the months ahead.”
Toope previously served as Vice-Chancellor of The University of Cambridge, universally regarded as one of the best universities in the world. Prior to this, he was the Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He also served as President and Vice-Chancellor at UBC from 2006 to 2014, and was the founding president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
Toope holds an AB degree in history and literature from Harvard, two degrees in law from McGill, and a PhD in International Law from Cambridge. As a scholar, he has specialized in human rights, international dispute resolution, international environmental law and the use of force. He has published numerous articles and books on change in international law and the origins of international legal obligations. He also taught law at McGill before becoming the faculty’s youngest ever Dean of Law at the age of 34. He is currently a Board Member at Canada’s International Development Research Council (IDRC) and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.
Toope joins CIFAR at a transformative time, as the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary and expands its global visibility, especially as humanity’s greatest challenges become more complex.
“Technological advances are happening at a breath-taking pace, affecting how we live and work, and even how we understand our place in the universe. Meanwhile, looming threats of climate change, and social and economic inequality, become more apparent, more dire,” said Toope. “Our world needs organizations like CIFAR, our world needs research leadership.”
“CIFAR has an opportunity to expand its role as a leading voice in championing inclusivity, accelerating innovation and enabling impact across the world,” he added. “I am looking forward to leading this world-class organization and celebrating the research achievements that await in our future.”
Toope’s first public CIFAR event will be the organization’s Race and Research talk, taking place virtually on Nov. 23, 2022. Registration is now open and guests can join from anywhere in the world, by confirming their place online.
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.