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U of C launches "U.S. Strategy", Creation of Institute for United States Policy Research


March 22, 2006, The University of Calgary today announced the establishment of the Institute for United States Policy Research, an initiative dedicated to enhancing Canadian understanding of the main political, economic and social currents in U.S. society.

“The United States occupies a critical position for Alberta, Canada and Canadians,” said Dr. Dennis Salahub, Vice-President (Research and International). “The two nations enjoy the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world and, for Albertans in particular, the linkages in the energy sector with U.S. markets make it essential that current security, political, economic and cultural developments in the United States are effectively understood.”

The Institute for U.S. Policy Research is an integral part of the University of Calgary’s “United States strategy,” added Salahub. It involves creating new partnerships with leading U.S. academic institutions as well as enhanced research and student recruitment. Partnerships in development include with Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, Stanford University and others. The Institute will also work closely with other Institutes at the University of Calgary, in particular the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy and the Institute for Advanced Policy Research.

“Alberta is the only provincial government that has representation in Washington, D.C., and Calgary is one of only two non-provincial capital cities in the country with a U.S. consulate general,” noted Dr. Stephen Randall, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the first director of the Institute. “Clearly Alberta’s role in the global arena is increasing in importance and it is essential to know the implications of a host of issues and opportunities.”

Added Dr. David Bercuson, director of the U of C’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies: “There is a tremendous need for this sort of centre at the University, when you consider Calgary’s importance as a centre of trade with the U.S., the fact it has been a major destination for American capital investment for the past 50 years, and its large expatriate population.”

Recent examples of issues of mutual concern include the U.S. ban on beef imports from Canada during the BSE crisis, and the Canadian softwood lumber dispute. There are also enormous opportunities – and responsibilities – associated with development of the oil sands and its impact on Canada’s relationship with the U.S. with respect to energy.

“We are extremely excited by this initiative taken by the University of Calgary to create an institute of this nature,” says Judith Romanchuk, a veteran investment banker, community leader and chair of the Business Advisory Board of the U of C’s Faculty of Social Sciences. “The American influences on Canada are many, the economic ties are deep, and while the cultural influences in many instances override the boundaries of our two nations, Canadians are proud and determined to maintain their own identity. This new Institute can and will go a long way to fostering a better understanding of our neighbour to the south.”

The Institute will draw together scholars from across the University, including from the humanities, social sciences, business, engineering and the sciences. The Centre will facilitate collaborative research at the University on U.S. issues and encourage collaboration with other experts in U.S. relations across the country and with their counterparts in the United States. It will also engage the business community and government at the provincial and national levels.

“This is a relationship we must understand,” Randall said. “The first steps in the institute’s activities will be to build on our particular strengths in energy, public policy and security issues.”

Randall, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was the inaugural holder of the Imperial Oil-Lincoln McKay Chair in American Studies. He is a specialist in United States foreign policy. His most recent publication is United States Foreign Oil Policy Since World War I (McGill-Queen’s, 2005)

To arrange an interview with either Dr. Dennis Salahub or Dr. Stephen Randall, contact Greg Harris, U of C media relations, at (403) 220-3506 or cell, (403) 540-7306.


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