John Harriss

New international studies school open in September

June 14, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

With his background, John Harriss would be welcome as a faculty member at any university in the world. But he chose SFU.    

"I was at the London School of Economics for a long time and could very happily have stayed there," says the director of the arts and social science faculty’s new School of International Studies.

"But the idea of building a new institution here was a challenge that at this stage in my life and profession was very attractive."

The new school, which was in the works in a previous form for some time, will begin teaching undergraduate and graduate classes next fall at SFU’s Burnaby and Vancouver campuses respectively.

A globally acclaimed social anthropologist and author with more than 30 years experience, Harriss is a leading expert in the political economy of development, and in politics and society in South Asia. He has always taught and researched in development studies departments.

"We’ve designed our curriculum and courses within an interdisciplinary format around two major themes, one being international development and global justice, and the other being state building, state failure, and conflicts and emergencies," says Harriss.

Students will specialize in international issues through integrated, interdisciplinary training and experience concerning the complex and challenging issues that are central to global affairs.

Graduates will be prepared for careers in the private,
non-profit and public sectors, including government and civil service, international law, multi-national corporations, development-project agencies, international organizations, education and academia.

"Come September we’ll have a new undergraduate curriculum, a whole lot of new courses and a new graduate program," says Harriss. "And to teach these programs our initial team of six mostly senior professors of political science, economics and anthropology will be joined by four new and very bright young faculty members.

"So we’ll be starting with 10 people fairly evenly divided between new and enthusiastic, and old and worldly wise."

To learn more, visit www.sfu.ca/internationalstudies/.

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