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IMPRIMER

Member Profile November-December 2016

CoDev

 

CFGB
CASID President Ian Smillie, at the 2015 International Cooperation Days
 

This month, CCIC met with Ian Smillie, President of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID), to discuss the unique role of CASID, the upcoming 2017 Conference and the new project between CASID and CCIC, among other things! CASID is CCIC’s first Associate Member.

CCIC - When was CASID founded, and to respond to which needs? 

Ian Smillie - The Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID), founded in the 1980s, is a national, bilingual, interdisciplinary and pluralistic association devoted to the promotion of new knowledge in the broad field of international development. CASID is a membership-based organization.  Roughly a quarter of our members are students, and another 25% are development practitioners.

To accomplish its mission to promote and support international development studies in Canada and abroad, CASID maintains a listserv to enhance communication and the sharing of information among interested and engaged IDS people worldwide. CASID organizes an annual conference and sponsors various regional events each year to share opinions, experiences and research findings, to enhance networking and communication in the IDS community, and to facilitate the emergence of new development researchers and practitioners.

 

CCIC - The field of international development has grown a lot in the past decade, with more and more universities and colleges offering programs. How easy or how difficult is it for graduate students to find work in their field?

Ian Smillie - International development is one of the most popular fields of study in Canada today. There are some two dozen IDS programs at Canadian universities and thousands of graduates every year. Many students are undergraduates but there are now several masters and three doctoral programs.

Development studies on a CV will help graduates find work in the field, but there are many more IDS graduates than there are jobs in the field. That is perhaps as it should be, with Africans, for example, now taking more of the development jobs in Africa than foreigners. One might ask a similar question about jobs for students of sociology, economics or history: how many history graduates will find work as historians? Many of those who persist will, but for those who do not, the importance of studying history is not diminished. That said, the majority if IDS students consider the IDS degrees as important to shaping world views that affect their career paths, even if they don't end up doing what we think of as international development work. Many use IDS as an undergraduate degree to foster critical thinking and global understanding and then move on to specialized graduate programs in public health, law, business and other fields.

 

CCIC - The Canadian Journal for Development Studies is CASID’s flagship publication; who can submit articles and how is the journal disseminated?

Ian Smillie - Founded in 1980, CJDS is the only Canadian scholarly journal devoted exclusively to the study of international development. It is published quarterly by CASID in partnership with Routledge. Membership in CASID includes a subscription to the CJDS. The CJDS is edited at Trent University and editorial administration is housed at Simon Fraser University. CJDS is the number three-rated interdisciplinary social science journal in Canadas. Print and electronic subscriptions are available and in 2015 there were 33,358 full-text downloads, important in themselves, and as an income-earner for the Journal. Anyone can submit an article to the Journal. Its aims, scope and peer review policy are available on the Journal website.

 

CCIC - Each year CASID organizes an Annual Conference; can you give us a glimpse of the 2017 edition, in terms of themes and speakers?

Ian Smillie - CASID’s annual conference brings together scholars, practitioners and students interested in international development and global studies from across the country and around the world. Everyone is welcome. It will take place May 31-June 3, 2017 at Ryerson University in Toronto, in partnership with CCIC. This year’s theme is Scholar/Practitioner Collaborations:  Next Generation Leadership for the New Development Paradigm. The conference will showcase scholar/practitioner collaborations across a range of themes from migrant rights to extractive industries. There will be two keynote speakers (to be announced) and over 150 paper presentations on 28 panel themes. One of these will deal with “Career Paths and Employment Outcomes of IDS Graduates in Canada” – the result of a major study of 1900 IDS graduates, with support from alumni offices at 14 post-secondary institutions across the country.

 

CCIC - CCIC and CASID will soon be starting a joint project, which aims to enhance the collaboration between academia and practitioners. Can you tell us more about the project and the expected outcomes?

Ian Smillie - It is odd, despite the great interest in development studies, that there has been little crossover between the Canadian academic and practitioner worlds. The practical synergies that one sees in Britain and other countries are largely absent here. The CASID-CCIC project aims to remedy that over the next three years, getting practitioners into the classroom and academics out into the dirty-fingernail world of Canadian NGOs. This will be done through secondments, regional events and conferences, and specific programs of practical research that we hope will demonstrate what is possible when the two worlds interact on a level playing field.

 

 

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