International relations club event connects Western students to global challenges

Western Gazette, By Giselle D'Anna, January 30, 2024

Weldon library
Entrance to Weldon Library, September 29, 2023 photographed by Sophie Bouquillon/GAZETTE


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While it can feel intimidating to start learning about Canada’s global interests and challenges, the upcoming True North and the Global South event is here to guide the way.

True North and the Global South is organized by Western University’s Association of International Relations and will take place in the Weldon Library Community Room on Jan. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m..

“International affairs is probably the most important issue of our time and it is so little understood,” says Frank Schumacher, the international relations program director and a history professor.

The interdisciplinary, student-organized flagship event is a conference that aims to bridge the gap between Western students and ongoing international relations by featuring speakers including former Canadian diplomat Guillermo Rishchynski, Western’s Faculty of Law professor Sara Ghebremusse and Ivey Business School professor Vanessa Hasse.

Cecilia Cai, a fourth-year Ivey and international relations student, and the AIR president, says the event “focuses on the discussion of Canada's relations in the global south, namely Latin America and Africa. We’ll talk about resource extraction, environmental justice, human rights issues and any kind of corporate action in those regions.”

Rishchynski, a former Canadian diplomat and representative to the United Nations, will discuss Canada’s political global interests and his experience as a diplomat working in the global south.

Hasse, the Ivey professor, will talk about what corporations are doing in the global south and provide a business perspective to the discipline of international relations.

Finally, Law professor Ghebremusse will concentrate her discussions on African affairs, her research of mining law and governance as well as the constituents of development and transitional law in Africa.

While this event may seem catered specifically for those interested in the international political sphere, it’s relevant to all kinds of students.

“This event is meant to increase students’ understanding of the global sphere, which is an essential understanding when reading the news or when catching up with what's going on,” explains Cai. “It would make them more cognizant of the world, which is extremely important as we, the young generation, venture into it.”