Michael Small


Michael is a Fellow at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, where he teaches, researches and speaks on climate change and renewable energy issues as well as on issues of global governance. In the summer of 2018, he was co-designer and co-instructor of an intensive experiential course on Urban Energy Futures in the Centre’s innovative Semester in Dialogue program. He will be the lead instructor in a new course on Climate Futures in the same program in the Fall term of 2019. 

Michael joined the Centre in January 2015 as the first Executive Director of Renewable Cities - a program of the Centre that promotes action at the local government level in promoting a transition to renewable energy. He hosted Renewable Cities two Global Learning Forums in Vancouver in May 2015 and May 2017.  He organized SFU’s accreditation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and convened parallel events at COP21 in Paris and COP23 in Bonn. He helped launch the North American Dialogue on Cities and 100% Renewable Energy in San Francisco in July 2016. 

Michael is concurrently an Adjunct Professor at UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and is co-teaching a course on Global Governance in the Winter term of 2019. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada. He is also Chair of the International Advisory Committee of U.N. University’s Institute of Water, Environment and Health in Hamilton, Ontario. 

Prior to joining the Centre, Michael spent thirty-three years as a career diplomat and senior executive in the Canadian Foreign service. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1981 and had postings to Malaysia, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico. From 2000 to 2003 he was Canada's Ambassador to Cuba. He went on to serve in Ottawa as Director-General of Human Rights and Human Security, Assistant Deputy Minister of Global Issues, and as Assistant Deputy Minister of Human Resources. He was Canada's foreign affairs sous-sherpa for the 2007 and 2008 G8 Summits and was responsible for the co-ordination of Canada's participation in a wide range of multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Arctic Council, the OECD, and the G8. Michael's concluding diplomatic assignment was as Canada's High Commissioner to Australia from 2010 to 2014, with concurrent accreditation to seven Pacific Island countries.  

Michael is a Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs at Harvard University and was in residence at the Centre from 2003-4. He has degrees from Princeton University, the University of Toronto and Cambridge University. He is the author of The Forgotten Peace: Mediation at Niagara Falls, 1914.