Promoting Democracy Abroad – Massey College at The DemocracyXChange Festival

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Promoting Democracy Abroad – Massey College at The DemocracyXChange Festival

Thursday, October 22 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Registration is now closed to attend this virtual Webinar. Please click here to watch Promoting Democracy Abroad on the Massey College YouTube channel.


Massey College is pleased to be partnering with Open Democracy in DemocracyXChange 2020, the annual summit for Canada’s emerging democracy sector to connect, learn and share. This year, Canada’s Democracy Summit is convening in two parts – the DemocracyXChange Summit (Oct 13-15) and a week-long DemocracyXChange Festival (Oct 16 – 22).


Our event Promoting Democracy Abroad—a DemocracyXChange Festival virtual session hosted and organized by Massey College—brings together leading Canadian experts with extensive experience in the field of democracy promotion – on the ground, in government and in research. Our Panelists will be:

Grant Kippen – Chief Electoral Advisor for United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Jennifer Welsh – Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security, Director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, McGill University.

Tom Axworthy – Public Policy Chair, Massey College.

The conversation will be moderated by Margaret Biggs – Matthews Fellow in Global Public Policy, Queen’s University.


The context for the 2020 DemocracyXChange is the growing threat to democratic forces, norms and institutions around the world. Successive Canadian governments, parliamentary committees and task forces abroad have championed democracy promotion; however Canada has yet to mount a major foreign policy thrust in this area.

  1. With democratic norms under threat around the world is now the time for Canada to step up? Should democracy promotion figure more prominently in Canadian international policy?
  2. What roles could Canada and Canadians play?
    a) Should Canada focus on certain geographies or issues?
    b) Should Canada work in alliance with other democracies? With civil society actors?
  3. How best can Canada’s democracy promotion efforts be advanced?


For more information about the virtual workshops, events and creative sessions from community partners across Canada as part of the DemocracyXChange Festival, please visit the Festival website.

To register to attend this event, Promoting Democracy Abroad, please do so by clicking here.



Margaret Biggs is the the Matthews Fellow in Global Public Policy at Queen’s University and was the 2019/2020 Massey College / Bill Graham Centre Visiting Fellow in Foreign and Defence Policy Affairs. Ms. Biggs is Chair of the International Development Research Centre’s Board of Governors as well as Chair of World University Services Canada, a member of the Advisory Council for FinDevCanada and Vice Chair of the Canadian Partnership on Women and Children’s Health.

From 2008-2013 Ms. Biggs was President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), responsible for overseeing Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance efforts worldwide. She previously served as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in the Privy Council Office. Ms. Biggs has represented Canada in numerous international fora including on the World Bank’s Board of Governors and as International Executive Co-Chair of the China Council on International Cooperation on Environment and Development. In 2018 she co-authored A Canadian North Star: Crafting an advanced economy approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (Brookings Institution) and in 2017 she authored Inclusive Trade, Inclusive Development: Opportunities for Canadian Leadership (IRPP) and co-chaired the Study Group on Global Education’s report Equipping the Next Generation of Canadians to Succeed in a Complex World.


Grant Kippen has spent the past 35 years involved in electoral politics and democracy strengthening activities internationally as well as in Canada. He is currently Chief Electoral Advisor for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) based in Kabul since March 2018. Prior to this position he was working in Mogadishu, Somalia as Senior Electoral Management Advisor to the National Independent Electoral Commission, and from November 2015 to June 2016 as Senior Elections Advisor to the British Embassy in Skopje, North Macedonia. From December 2011 to June 2015 he was the Chief of Party for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) based in San

Internationally, Grant has worked in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan (in support of the 2005 Iraq elections), Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Libya, Moldova, Nepal, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Timor Leste, Ukraine and Yemen. During this time he has been employed by the United Nations, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Creative Associates International, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Elections Canada and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. He was the Chairman of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) in Afghanistan for the 2009 Presidential and Provincial Council elections and the 2005 Wolesi Jirga and Provincial Council elections, as well as Country Director for NDI in Afghanistan from 2003-2004.

In Canada, Mr. Kippen worked as an Officer within the Prime Minister’s Office (Rt. Hon. P. E. Trudeau), as an Advisor to a federal Cabinet Minister, a Special Assistant to a Member of Parliament, as well as Director of Organization for the Liberal Party of Canada (Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien). He has written a number of published articles on such issues as e-democracy, electoral dispute resolution, electoral financing within post-conflict countries, the impact of information technology on electoral campaigns as well as on elections and democracy in Afghanistan.

Mr. Kippen has a B.A. from The University of Western Ontario and an M.B.A. from the University of Ottawa.


Jennifer M. Welsh is the incoming Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). She was previously Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and Professor in International Relations at the University of Oxford, where she co-founded the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. From 2013-2016, she served as the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the Responsibility to Protect.

Professor Welsh is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on humanitarian intervention, the evolution of the notion of the ‘responsibility to protect’ in international society, the UN Security Council, and Canadian foreign policy. Her most recent books include The Return of History: Conflict, Migration and Geopolitics in the 21st century (2016), which was based on her CBC Massey Lectures, and The Responsibility to Prevent: Overcoming the Challenges of Atrocity Prevention (2015). She was a former recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship and a Trudeau Fellowship, and from 2014-2019 has directed a five-year European Research Council-funded project called “The Individualisation of War: Reconfiguring the Ethics, Law and Politics of Armed Conflict”. She is also a frequent media commentator on international affairs and Canadian foreign policy.

Professor Welsh sits on the editorial boards of the journals Global Responsibility to Protect, International Journal, and Ethics and International Affairs, and on the Advisory Boards of the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt, The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. She has a BA from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), and a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Oxford (where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar).

Notably, Professor Welsh delivered the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, with which she explores how pronouncements about the “end of history” may have been premature, in The Return of History.


Thomas S. Axworthy is Chair of Public Policy at Massey College, University of Toronto. He has had a distinguished career in government, academia, and philanthropy. He served as the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and he was a key strategist on repatriation of the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. From 2009 to 2015, Dr. Axworthy was president and CEO of The Gordon Foundation, an institution known for its partnership with Northern indigenous leaders in helping to create the Arctic Council.



Thursday, October 22
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT


4 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2E1 Canada


Massey College