Introducing Alejandro Reyes

by | Oct 9, 2020

I am honoured to be among the inaugural Canadian International Council (CIC) fellows. I thank the selection committee and the CIC leadership for this opportunity to contribute to the conversation among the Canadian public about Canada’s role in the world. As we struggle to surmount the pandemic, a deep think is especially important. “The rules-based international order is now over,” CIC President Ben Rowswell wrote In a compelling opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail in June. Canada, he added, “needs a foreign policy that takes full account of power to secure the international cooperation our citizens need.” As a CIC fellow, I plan to explore the changing global power dynamics by continuing research in Asia-Pacific affairs – the shift of the geopolitical, economic and technological centres of gravity to the region, particularly the impact of China’s more robust foreign policy – and exploring what a renewed rules-based international order might look like. The two endeavours are linked. Better understanding between Canada and other Western nations – the liberal like-minded, if you will – and countries in the Asia Pacific will allow the coding of a more effective global operating system. I will bring together people in Canada and Asia who are at the forefront of dealing with the key global challenges, both affected individuals and groups and practitioners working to find solutions. The goal: to set out a portfolio of issues such as global health and climate that constitute “essential multilateralism” and articulate a “responsibility to connect”, the idea that states must enable citizens to be part of globalization, while ensuring that they maximize the benefits and minimize the disadvantages of their participation. As a Canadian global affairs specialist in Asia, I am thrilled to have the chance to contribute to the exchange of ideas about our country’s future in the world. While I have been Canadian since 1977 (having immigrated with my family from the Philippines), I did all my studies and have spent most of my professional life outside Canada. I am currently a director and associate professor at the Asia Global Institute (AGI), a think tank at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), where I manage AsiaGlobal Online, a digital journal, and the AsiaGlobal Podcasts. Prior to joining AGI in 2019, I was for two years senior policy adviser to the assistant deputy minister for Asia Pacific at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa. I spent nearly a year in the policy planning division of the department in 2002. Before my more recent stint in Ottawa, I taught part time at HKU and was an independent consultant, working with several foundations and international organizations including the G20, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the World Economic Forum, as well as corporate clients. I started that phase of my career after working for 13 years as a journalist In Hong Kong and Singapore with Asiaweek magazine, which was owned by Time Inc.
Author
Alejandro Reyes Alejandro Reyes is a CIC Fellow and the current director and associate professor at the Asia Global Institute (AGI), a think tank at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), where he manages AsiaGlobal Online, a digital journal, and the AsiaGlobal Podcasts. As part of his CIC Fellowship, Alejandro plans to explore the changing global power dynamics by continuing research in Asia-Pacific affairs and exploring what a renewed rules-based international order might look like.