As Canada’s premier forum for global affairs, the CIC has 16 branches coast-to-coast.
Role of the Branches
The CIC, Canada’s premier forum for global affairs, operates a network of 16 branches from coast-to-coast.
One of the unique features of the CIC, as compared to other think tanks worldwide, is its network of branches across the country. As one of the founders of the organization, John Nelson, explained in 1930: “Unlike similar organizations in Great Britain and the United States, the Canadian Institute has taken the form of widely separated units rather than of one central organization.” Foreshadowing the rise of civil society and new media later in the century, the founders believed that governments would come to rely increasingly on the support of their citizens in the conduct of world affairs. This sentiment was best expressed by former CIIA President R. M. Fowler, who explained in 1946 that Canadian leadership in international affairs required “more than action by our political leaders”; it must be “supported by the informed and thoughtful public opinion of Canadians generally.” Consistent with this vision, the CIC’s national branch network empowers citizens across the country to participate in discussions and debates on important foreign policy issues.
Even as the national office of the CIC has grown in size and stature, the branches have remained an indispensable part of the organization. Situated in small and large cities alike, the branches provide the CIC a critical connection to the grassroots. They offer an invaluable vehicle to raise awareness among a wider cross-section of Canadians than merely the foreign policy and business establishments in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as a platform for citizens to express their foreign policy views and concerns to a national audience. Locally led by volunteer executive councils under the oversight of the national office, the branches enjoy the autonomy necessary to develop programming tailored to the interests of their local members. While 15 branches are in operation today, up to 40 branches have been operational at different times since the founding of the institution in 1928, including branches of ex-pat Canadians in Boston and New York. The CIC is always open to the establishment of new branches. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the council’s mission where you are.