NPSIA turns 40

The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. An interdisciplinary, professional program, NPSIA offers the oldest Master of Arts degree program in International Affairs in Canada.

The School was founded in 1965 by a donation from the late Senator Norman Paterson, and now boasts more than 2,000 alumni.

“(Paterson’s) conception was to create an institution that would create world leaders,” says the School’s Director, Fen Hampson, who first joined the faculty in 1986. “The first director was Norman Robertson (1966-68), one of the chief architects of Canadian foreign policy after World War II, who served twice as Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs and was also Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. Robertson’s vision for the School was to train practitioners who had a very solid understanding of international affairs.”

One way they’ve trained some of the best, has been by bringing in top academics and world leaders from a variety of disciplines to teach some of the core courses. In the School’s early days, this impressive roster included such notables as former prime minister, the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson and Lieutenant-General E.L.M. Burns, both of whom were significant figures in the development of international peacekeeping. Today, the School hosts distinguished figures like Derek Burney, Canada’s former ambassador to Washington, and Michael Hart, who was Senior Trade Policy Adviser in the Department of External Affairs during the Canada-U.S. free trade negotiations.

Brenda Sutherland has seen many of these faces come and go, having been the School’s Administrator for almost 30 years. She’s also seen a lot of growth, both in the number of students and the number of faculty.

“In the faculty, we’ve gone from two half-time positions; now we have 15 full-time faculty,” she says. The number of students in the program now tops 100.

Her enthusiasm for the School is ever-present, despite being only two years away from retirement. “I always said, the day I don’t want to come to this place, is when I look for another job.” So far, she hasn’t yet.

“I love the place. I love the students, the faculty, the alumni,” she says. “It’s like a big family.”

And, says Hampson, it’s a family that will continue to grow beyond its 40 years, as it changes to meet the needs of an constantly evolving world. “We’re seeing young Canadians who are very internationally minded,” he says. “The School cannot rest on its laurels. We have to work hard to continue to meet the needs and professional challenges of the world today.”

NPSIA’s 40th anniversary celebrations recently kicked off at the annual Student Association International Soirée and Alumni Cocktail. Allan Rock, Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, was this year’s keynote speaker.

Anne-Marie Schryer-Roy, one of the five student co-ordinators of the Soirée, says the night was a great opportunity for students to meet with alumni as well as ambassadors and members of the political community. With an already solid reputation both in Ottawa and around the world, she says the event helps increase the School’s visibility even further.

Check the NPSIA Web site at: to find out more about the history of the School and for news on other upcoming anniversary festivities.

From –

This entry was written by Suzanne Jordan and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Be a part of the Carleton Now community

Carleton Now strives to be an inclusive, relevant and informative publication focused on building and fostering an engaged campus community. You can be a part of our community by: sharing or voting for this article (below), joining in the conversation, or by sending a submission/letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

Current issue