Former Prime Minister and Leading Diplomats Welcomed at Shaping Global Summitry Conference

Posted Mar 29, 2018 12:17 pm


The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark: “We should be careful to regard summitry as an innovation and not as an institution.” 

By: International Relations Society

On March 12, 2018 the International Relations Society (IRS) held its annual conference, this year named “Shaping Global Summitry” and in collaboration with the International Relations Program (IRP) at Trinity College. The conference was held at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and brought together Canada’s leading experts on international global summitry from various professional fields. With a focus on the role of Canada in the G20 and the G7, as well as the priorities of the Argentinian G20 presidency, it explored the role and evolution of global summits, from Paris 1919 to COP23.

The conference featured speakers including former Prime Minister the Right Honourable Joe Clark and Professor Margaret MacMillan (Trinity alum and former Provost). Trinity College Provost, Professor Mayo Moran, delivered the opening remarks, and was followed by many influential speakers, such as the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and the Honourable Bill Graham (Chancellor of Trinity College), who helped start the G7 Research Group in 1988. The G7 and G20 RGs draw students from the University of Toronto community interested in international relations and political science.

The conversation was vibrant, with many influential ideas being brought forth. Afternoon keynote speaker, Japanese Consul General Takako Ito, delivered a thought provoking speech from the perspective of a practitioner who has led in the organization of summits and watched their evolution.

IRS Co-Presidents Andreas Kyriakos and Riam Kim-McLeod (both Trinity students) were delighted with the result and positive feedback: “We were thrilled to work with IRP Director Professor Kirton on organizing this important conference. Summitry is a key component of international affairs today, and one in which Trinity and the IR Program hold world-leading expertise. “It is such a pleasure to give students access to this quality of knowledge, enhancing the theory and history at the core of their studies.”

The conference also commemorated several anniversaries from the summits' policy and analytical worlds: 100 years since World War I produced Paris 1919, 90 years for the diplomatic relationship between Canada and its G7 partner Japan, 40 years for the International Relations Program and International Relations Society at Trinity College and the University of Toronto, 30 years since the 1988 G7 Toronto Summit and the founding of the G7 Research Group, 20 years for the Robert H. Catherwood Scholarship and the finance G20, ten years for the G20 summit and the G20 Research Group, and five years for the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History. These anniversaries offer a baseline for assessing how summitry has been and will be shaped, as Canada again has the opportunity to lead global summit governance.

The IRS thanks the various members of the community, the speakers, and those who came out to listen, for making the event a success, and looks forward to their next conference in the upcoming year.

This conference was enabled by the generous support of the Trinity College's International Relations Program, Global Governance Program, Robert H. Catherwood Scholarship, Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, Munk School of Global Affairs and its Centre for the Study of Global Japan and Asian Institute, Insurance Bureau of Canada, and the Arts & Science Student Union at the University of Toronto.

For more information, please visit: