On October 25, The Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History hosted the Canadian launch of the Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy. The centre received a landmark donation last year when Trinity College Chancellor and former Foreign Minister Bill Graham donated $5 million to the school. The event featured a talk between Graham, Lloyd Axworthy, and former Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Handbook co-authors professor Jorge Heine and professor Andrew Cooper were present, though their third colleague, Ramesh Thakur, could not be. The professors opened the conversation by addressing the perceived, “crisis of diplomacy,” highlighting the goal of their book to “bring the perspective of practitioners” to the study of diplomacy.
After hearing from the authors, Graham mediated a conversation between the panel’s diplomatic heavyweights. Martin and Axworthy spoke about the chapters they authored in the handbook, and moved on to discuss a range of topics in modern diplomacy, from the relationship between foreign affairs ministers and prime ministers to the responsibility to protect (R2P) and Canada’s role in Africa. Chancellor Graham kept the conversation moving and humorous before opening the floor to questions.
Asked about the handbook launch, as well as upcoming Bill Graham Centre events, Graham emphasized the importance of facilitating opportunities for students and faculty to “meet face-to-face” with “practitioners of foreign affairs and politics.” The event had limited admission and tickets sold out almost immediately.
Cooper was pleased with the event and the “wealth and depth of talent and experience” of the panel. In terms of diplomacy, Axworthy was optimistic stating that the book and the event highlight the important role Canada has to play domestically and internationally: “In the rule of law and the protection of people.”