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Media Release | Mar. 22, 2006

University of British Columbia Names New President

A scholar specializing in human rights, public international law and international relations has been appointed the 12th president and vice-chancellor of The University of British Columbia.

Stephen Toope, president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, succeeds Dr. Martha Piper, who completes her nine years' service to the university on June 30, 2006. Toope will take up his duties as president on July 1 for a five-year term. He will also hold a UBC academic position as tenured professor of Law.

The UBC Board of Governors made the appointment today following an international search and on the unanimous recommendation of a search committee chaired by UBC Chancellor Allan B. McEachern. The 21-person committee comprised faculty, staff, students, alumni, senate and board members from UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.

"His international perspective, ability to lead the academic community, background in fund-raising and philanthropy, together with his energy, make Stephen Toope the most appropriate candidate to lead this organization in its pursuit of learning, research and global service," says Brad Bennett, chair of UBC's Board of Governors.

A former dean of the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Toope’s scholarly interests cover the full range of public international law. He is currently head of the non-partisan Canadian educational foundation that honours the legacy of the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The foundation focuses on identifying outstanding talent in the social sciences and humanities and building a network to promote public debate on issues of societal importance.

"Prof. Toope's record of accomplishment in many fields including international law and human rights, student development and aboriginal rights make him exceptionally well qualified to lead the university in its mission to further the goals of a civil society," says McEachern.

The Foundation annually awards five Fellowships and up to 15 doctoral candidate scholarships to recognize outstanding achievement in the humanities and social sciences that exemplify innovative public policy approaches and a commitment to public engagement.

"Stephen's proven ability to connect academia with the broader community, and his dedication to research will strengthen UBC's reputation as an agent for positive social change," says Dr. Piper, "and he understands the importance of universities to the advancement of the values of a civil and sustainable society."

"I look forward to continuing Dr. Piper's outstanding work in positioning UBC as one of the world's top 40 research universities and its students as citizens with a global perspective," says the 48-year-old Toope. "I am eager to meet with all members of the university community as we move forward in achieving the exciting vision set out in Trek 2010."

A Canadian citizen, Toope obtained his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1979, and his law degrees from McGill University in 1983. In 1987, he earned a PhD from Cambridge University and joined the faculty at McGill in the same year. He served as dean of McGill's Faculty of Law from 1994 to 1999, the youngest person to hold the position.

During his tenure as dean, he led the then-largest capital campaign in Canadian law faculty history to build a new Law library and oversaw the renewal of the faculty’s curriculum.

Toope has consulted extensively to Canada's Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and to the Canadian International Development Agency.

He has conducted human rights seminars for government officials in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and was a member of the UN observer delegation to the first post-apartheid South African elections. He has also served as Research Director, Office of the Special Representative concerning the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People in 1991.

Toope is the first president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, established in 2002. The foundation manages an endowment of more than $140 million.

His service to the community includes serving on the boards of non-governmental organizations that promote human rights and international development, including the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, the World University Service of Canada and the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Toope is married to Paula Rosen and they have three children.

A biography is attached (see below). More information can be found at www.ubc.ca/newpresident.

Prof. Stephen J. Toope: Biography

Named the 12th President of The University of British Columbia on March 22, 2006, Prof. Stephen Toope is currently President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, a position he has held since 2002. He helped set up the Foundation, which had an initial endowment of $125 million, and created all Foundation programming in conjunction with an 18-member Board. The Foundation is an independent, private, and non-partisan organization created to promote outstanding research and interaction between researchers in the social sciences and humanities, and policymakers in government, business, and the arts.

Previously, Prof. Toope served as co-director of the Institute for European Studies, a joint University of Montreal-McGill University project, from 2000-2002 and was responsible for launching an inter-university research and teaching centre.

From 1994-1999, Prof. Toope served as the youngest dean in the history of McGill University’s Faculty of Law. As dean, he launched and managed a strategic plan to reorganize the Faculty’s undergraduate curriculum and led the successful completion of the then-largest capital campaign in Canadian law faculty history, resulting in the rebuilding of the McGill Law Library.

Prof. Toope served as the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research at McGill Faculty of Law from 1991-1994 after achieving full professorship in 1999. He became an Associate Professor in 1993 after serving as an Assistant Professor in McGill’s Faculty of Law from 1987-1993 upon completion of his PhD. He served as Law Clerk to the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1986-1987.

An accomplished public speaker in both English and French, his scholarly interests cover public international law, legal theory, human rights, international dispute resolution and family law. He continues to conduct research and teach on many aspects of international law and is currently working on issues of human rights and culture, and international human rights law.

As a former president of the Canadian Council on International Law, Prof. Toope has served as board chair and member of various non-governmental organizations promoting human rights and international development, including the Canadian Human Rights Foundation and the World University Service of Canada. He represented Western Europe and North America on the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from 2002-2005.

The recipient of academic publishing awards from the Canadian Tax Foundation and the American Society of International Law, Prof. Toope has provided extensive consultation on international human rights, international law, and legal reform to the Canadian Departments of Foreign Affairs and Justice, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He has also conducted human rights seminars for government officials in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and was a member of the UN observer delegation to the first post-apartheid South African elections.

A Canadian citizen, Prof. Toope earned his PhD from Trinity College, Cambridge, England and his undergraduate degree in common law (LLB) and civil law (BCL) with honours from McGill University (1983), and graduated magna cum laude with his AB in History and Literature from Harvard University (1979).

Stephen Toope is married to Paula Rosen and they currently live in Montreal with their three children.

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Contact

Scott Macrae
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2064
Cell: 604.764.7508
E-mail: scott.macrae@ubc.ca

Hilary Thomson
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2644
Cell: 604.209.3048
E-mail: hilary.thomson@ubc.ca

UBC Reports Special Commemorative Edition

UBC Reports Special Commemorative Edition
(PDF, 2.04 MB)

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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