About Us

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is Canada’s foreign relations council. It is an independent, non-partisan membership organization and think tank dedicated to advancing constructive dialogue on Canada’s place in the world and providing an incubator for innovative ideas on how to address the world’s most pressing problems.


The non-profit CIC integrates the voices of a diverse and multidisciplinary group of societal actors from academia, business, civil society, government and the media, and endeavours to inform and develop the capacity of the country’s next generation of foreign policy leaders.

Founded in 1928 as the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA), and renamed the CIC in 2006, the organization uses its deep historical roots, cross-country network and active research program to identify Canadian foreign policy priorities and explore them across academic disciplines, political party lines and economic sectors. The national office of the CIC, located in Toronto, runs the council’s research program, disseminating an array of publications and featuring original and in-depth analysis on its interactive website. The CIC is rooted to the conviction that the application of evidence-based research to complex policy issues is an essential foundation of effective foreign policy.

However, the CIC is not a conventional think tank. Its research arm is complemented by a network of 15 branches from across Canada. The branches incorporate the voices and feedback of citizens; engage local communities with programs that involve speakers, seminars, round table discussions and conferences; and organize study groups that generate citizen dialogue and involvement in international affairs. In this way, the CIC reflects the ideas and interests of a broad constituency of Canadians who believe that a country’s foreign policy is not an esoteric concern of experts, but directly affects the lives and prosperity of its citizens.

“The CIC has a proud history of engaging Canadians in international affairs through its extensive national network of branches, research initiatives, conferences, publications and, more recently, internet-based information. That engagement is more important than ever in today’s highly complex and volatile international environment, one that influences Canada and the well-being of Canadians in ever increasing ways.”
– Hon. William C. Graham, Chair, CIC

Good policy is developed by talking to people who have their fingers on the pulse of the world. To that end, the CIC regularly convenes corporate, government, academic and media leaders to discuss and debate international developments and their implications for Canadian foreign policy. High-level meetings, off-the-record briefings, workshops and special events bring together multiple sectors and communities to amplify the Canadian voice. With the connection between Canada’s domestic and foreign policy never more clear, the CIC seeks to generate research, thought and discussion on the most challenging issues shaping our future, from developing an effective climate-change policy to managing our increasingly complex relationship with the United States.

One of Canada’s oldest and most respected think tanks, the CIC is not only dedicated to nurturing dialogue on Canadian foreign policy domestically, but also in projecting a Canadian perspective on the international stage. In our rapidly changing world, this effort to promote greater understanding and foster meaningful debate on critical challenges is more important than ever.

What is the CIC?

We are:

  • a forum for ideas and dialogue
  • independent and non-partisan
  • privately funded
  • member-based
  • research-driven
  • multidisciplinary
  • countrywide
  • dedicated to innovation


An independent, non-partisan membership organization and think tank, the mission of the CIC  is to nurture awareness and understanding of critical international affairs challenges and to advance constructive discourse and debate on how to address them. The CIC owes no allegiance to any government or political party and does not take institutional positions on policy issues. The council provides an open forum where a diversity of viewpoints can be expressed.

  • convening events across Canada that inform and engage a wide range of actors — including government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives, academics, journalists and concerned citizens — on pressing international affairs issues;
  • maintaining a rigorous research program that produces accessible and policy-relevant material analyzing priority areas of Canadian foreign policy;
  • providing ongoing analysis and a diverse array of viewpoints on current world events and Canadian foreign policy decisions on its website, thecic.org;
  • publishing International Journal, Canada’s premier international affairs academic journal, and Behind the Headlines, one of the country’s oldest foreign policy paper series; and
  • offering learning and professional development opportunities for future Canadian foreign policy leaders.

The CIC believes that efforts to foster greater awareness and understanding of the world in Canada will amplify Canada’s voice and influence on the global stage.