Foreign Policy Camp

There’s a revolution going on right now in the way we think of foreign policy – it’s no longer solely what the government does, but rather what we all do to shape our role in the world. Whether they call it foreign policy or not, groups that operate outside the purview of government — from businesses to not-for-profits to artists to technologists — are creating Canada’s role in the world, acting as diplomats and cultural translators, and doing things we would traditionally think of as the responsibility and privilege of government. There’s an urgent need for these new actors to collaborate with government, and in turn for civil servants and political advisers to get the help they need in order to make the policy-making process more open and responsive to citizens.

At the same time as this has been happening in the foreign policy realm, the camp and un-conference movement has been breaking down traditional hierarchies created at conferences, reminding us of the potential of self-organizing and spontaneity.  This movement has shown us how innovative dialogue and new media can effectively come together to facilitate groundbreaking results in every sector.

Given these trends, we think it’s time for a ForeignPolicyCamp. We’ve assembled an amazing team of experienced collaborators including Daniel Savas at IPSOS Reid, Mark Leahy with Mergenta Consulting, the Canadian International Council, Liam O’Doherty with TakingITGlobal, the SFU School for International Relations, artist Vanessa Richards, and Hannah Cho with the Asia Pacific Foundation. From satellite camps in Quebec to flash mobs in cities across the country, and from foreign policy discussions on Twitter to tutorials on new interactive technologies, ForeignPolicyCamp is already connecting us as a nation.

ForeignPolicyCamp will shine a spotlight on new thinkers and doers in the Canadian foreign policy scene while creating a space for students, artists, techies and diplomats young and old to come together and share ideas as equals. We are confident that ForeignPolicyCamp’s innovative hybrid format will provide something for everyone.

Some of this camp’s interactive sessions include a forum on climate change, a session on the role of Canadian artists overseas, case studies on Afghanistan, Africa, the Arctic, Asia and US-Canada relations, a workshop on how to rethink foreign aid, a session about how to engage Diaspora communities in foreign policy, and open sessions on international urban issues and Net-based interactions. A key component of ForeignPolicyCamp is its open-space section, so if you are interested in presenting a contemporary topic to a receptive audience, please share your ideas on our site’s session-planning Wiki. Another central feature of ForeignPolicyCamp is an Interactive Media Lab featuring several forms of collaborative media technologies, from tweet clouds to video-conferencing to multimedia participation dashboards – you can start the discussion on Twitter by tweeting with the hashtag ‘#ForeignPolicyCamp’ today.

Like any collaborative event, ForeignPolicyCamp is only as great as the people who get involved. You don’t have to be a student of international relations or an experienced global traveler to attend — all we ask is that you come ready to be inspired by new ideas!

Cost for the day is $30 and includes lunch. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for this event – please register at Low on funds? We have several scholarships to give out so please don’t hesitate to email us at
We look forward to seeing you at the camp!



LOCATION: SFU Vancouver at the Harbour Centre, 515 W. Hastings St, Vancouver, BC.
There will also be satellite ForeignPolicyCamps in Edmonton and Quebec – details here.
DATE AND TIME: November 30, 2009 from 9:00am to 5:00pm, PST
COST: $30, scholarships are available. Please register in advance.