Research Spotlight: Paul Meyer

November 22, 2021

Getting to Know Paul

In this week’s research spotlight, we’re featuring Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor of International Studies and Fellow in International Security at Simon Fraser University, Senior Advisor to ICT4Peace. and a Fellow, Outer Space Institute. Since 2013, Paul has also been a Director of the Canadian Pugwash Group (CPG), a civil society organization that highlights the need to harness science broadly understood to counter the existential threats of nuclear weapons and climate change. The Canadian Pugwash Group is affiliated with the International Pugwash movement which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for its contribution to global peace and security.

Meyer has combined the experience of working within civil society, with an earlier career as a member of Canada’s Foreign Service. He served abroad in six diplomatic assignments, the last serving as Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Conference of Disarmament in Geneva from 2003 to 2007. Meyer is an active writer and speaker on issues pertaining to Canadian diplomacy, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, outer space security and international cyber security. Meyer continues to be a faculty member of the SFU School for International Studies where he teaches a course on diplomacy.


Recent Research Contributions: Feminist Foreign Policy and Nuclear Disarmament

Meyer has spent the past few years advocating for progressive foreign policies, including suggestions for the Government’s Feminist Foreign Policy through measures of conflict prevention, disarmament, peace- keeping and the promotion of human security. According to Meyer, a Feminist Foreign Policy should not only look to increase the participation of women in conflict resolution; but also, devise and enact policies that promote sustainable peace and security. This conceptual understanding is essential for informing programs and best practices.

In addition to this recent work, Meyer has spent decades providing expertise on nuclear disarmament which continues to be a complex and ever-evolving issue and one that Meyer is able to make accessible, while relaying the multi-faceted nature of nuclear diplomacy. Meyer recently wrote an article on Canada’s lack of action in progressing towards the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. Meyer highlights the Canadian government’s failure to participate in — and support — the UN General Assembly-mandated negotiation that produced in 2017 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Moreover, Meyer has been adamant that it is not simply the proliferation of WMDs, but their very existence that pose a threat to humanity. In a paper published by the Toda Peace Institute, Meyer argues that Canada should sign the TPNW and put Canada on the “right side of history” both nationally and within NATO. He has examined the problems of the UN’s disarmament machinery and has highlighted the dysfunction of a forum in which he had a personal involvement: “Does the Conference on Disarmament have a future?”

“Feminist Foreign Policy should not only look to increase the participation of women in conflict resolution; but also, devise and enact policies that promote sustainable peace and security.” — Paul Meyer


Other Recent Publications

Meyer actively writes and speaks about arms control in outer space, specifically the diplomatic dimension of this international security issue. In a recent paper written by Meyer, and published by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Meyer outlines Canada’s lack of involvement in its approach to addressing space security. He has also published a Proposal to supplement the 1967 Outer Space Treaty with an Optional Protocol to preclude weaponization of this increasingly important environment.

Paul Meyer’s research and contributions to the field of international relations continue to be influential in current debates on international security. As one of the leading figures on the diplomacy of nuclear disarmament, security in outer space and cyberspace, we look forward to hearing more about his future research. In the meantime, we’re grateful to have him as a member of the SFU community.