The McGill Centre for Developing-Area Studies recently hired political activist Joe Clark, who will begin teaching Oct. 1. He will be taking the position of Professor of Practice for Public-Private Sector Partnerships and will be responsible for helping build bridges between academic, public sector, private sector and NGOs to real world issues. His position will help enable a greater exchange of information between what CDAS and similar faculties in other universities are doing throughout Canada.
In addition to being a professor for Canadian foreign policy courses at the graduate level, Clark will be travelling frequently throughout the world to address development issues, conflict resolution and democratization of African nations.
Clark, Progressive Conservative Prime Minister from 1979 to 1980, was the youngest man ever to hold the office in Canada. He came to prominence again as Secretary of State for External Affairs in the early 1990s and again as the leader of the former Progressive Conservative party in 2003. CBC polls show that at the time of his retirement, he was the most trusted political personality in Canada.
Students’ Society Council Arts Representative and former Conservative McGill leader Daniel King is thrilled by Clark’s new position in McGill’s Faculty.
“He is an accomplished man with incredible experiences,” King said. “It is certainly advantageous for McGill to have someone with international stature or to have any former head of state teach. His experiences will make for a nice departure from the conventional lecture of other professors, through his use of stories and anecdotes, to add colour to his teachings and engage his students.”
Clark’s appointment is part of CDAS’s attempts to push to the forefront of the field of developing area studies, according to CDAS leader Philip Oxhorn.
Oxhorn had first met Clark in June of 2006, where CDAS co-sponsored a panel with the Canadian International Development Agency on Democratic Governance, known as the Conference du Montréal. Clark, after meeting Provost Anthony Masi and Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, began communicating with Oxhorn about a potential position at CDAS.
Alongside the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Clark will also be working to build and improve relations with numerous English-speaking Caribbean nations. However, Clark’s demanding duties may prevent him from leaving impacts on McGill’s political culture.
“With all the duties and the great deal of travelling for him, it is unlikely that his presence will have any effect on Conservative McGill, or any other political club. I don’t think you will see him on campus very often,” King said.