Welcoming new faces to Max Bell

Three new and three returning faces add to our faculty of policy practitioners this fall.

Fall is an exciting time of welcoming not only our new cohort of MPPs, but welcoming back our core faculty and experienced policy practitioners teaching another year at Max Bell. We are thrilled this year to welcome several new faces to our faculty for 2023-2024, and celebrating returning visiting appointments as well. Joining the core faculty are Rees Kassen from the University of Ottawa, now the director of McGill's Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy, and Vincent Rigby, formerly the McConnell Professor of Practice for 2022-2023 but now in a new appointment as the Slater Family Professor of Practice. Ian Scott is our 2023-2024 McConnell Professor of Practice and Barbara Koremenos joins Olivia Smith, returning for a second year, as our McConnell Visiting Scholars. And, assisting our MPPs with writing policy briefs and making connections with the federal government is Neil Bouwer as a Visiting Professor of Practice.

Rees Kassen is the incoming Director of the Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy at McGill and will be joining Max Bell as a core faculty member, with a joint appointment in the Department of Biology. Rees is a Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Scientific Director of the Coronavirus in the Urban Environment (CUBE) initiative. After completing his PhD in 2001, Rees did postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford, then joined the University of Ottawa in 2003. He moved to McGill in 2023 and is specialized at the interface between science, society, and policy.

Vincent RigbyVincent Rigby is returning to Max Bell this year as a new member of the core faculty, the Slater Family Professor of Practice. In the past year as the McConnell Professor of Practice, Vincent collaborated with the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. to enrich the study of the Canada-US relationship through conferences, workshops, and expert visits. To initiate their collaboration, the Wilson Center and Max Bell organized a conference entitled "Canada, the United States, and Emerging Security Challenges in the Arctic" and Vincent published his takeaways from that event. Apart from his collaborative work with the Wilson Center, Vincent coached one of the 2023 Policy Lab groups who were tasked by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to find recommendations to ensure the right to adequate housing for veterans across Canada. Additionally, Vincent published four articles in MAX Policy this past year with topics including Canada's National Security in the 21st Century, creation of the new National Security council, the Chinese spy balloons saga, and the Canadian membership in AUKUS.

Ian Scott, our new McConnell Professor of Practice, is an expert on policy and regulation in broadcasting and telecommunications and held senior roles in the private sector with the Canadian Cable Television Association, Call-Net Enterprises, Telus and Telesat Canada. Most recently, Ian served as the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Ian was appointed by the Governor-in-Council on July 14, 2017 and led the organization from September 2017 to January 2023. Earlier in his career Ian worked at the Competition Bureau and CRTC. Throughout his career, he has served on various boards, including Women in Communications and Technology, the International Institute of Communications, Canadian Aerospace Association and Ski Quebec Alpin. Ian is bringing his 25 years of policy and experience to Max Bell to help our students connect with the public and private sector, and will be designing and teaching a new case study on Bill C-11.

Barbara Koremenos, our new McConnell Visiting Scholar, is a Political Science Professor at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Barbara won a National Science Foundation CAREER Award – the first such winner to study international relations and law. Her book, The Continent of International Law: Explaining Agreement Design (Cambridge University Press), focuses on how international law can be structured to make international cooperation most successful given harsh international political realities. Barbara has served on two National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees and one American Academy of Arts and Sciences panel using her expertise to shed light on international law and norms frameworks, medicine regulation, and international health cooperation for future pandemics. She regularly consults for the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. Barbara has given seminars at numerous academic and governmental institutions in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Olivia SmithOlivia Smith is returning to Max Bell as the McConnell Visiting Scholar to continue her work in human trafficking, labour migration and human rights. Olivia has been conducting research in her fields and has published MAX Policy articles on labour trafficking in Canada and human traffickers and the digital divide. During the 2022-23 academic year, Olivia designed and taught a case study on human trafficking which explores the international and national legal frameworks governing human trafficking. She also was a Policy Lab coach for the Bank of Canada team exploring social policy implications for a "less-cash" society and its potential impacts on different population groups. 

Neil Bouwer is also returning to Max Bell for another year as Visiting Professor of Practice and will continue to bring his many years of public service experience to his work at Max Bell. Last year, Neil assisted with the MPP trip to Ottawa, provided career counseling and connections, and wrote a MAX Policy article on the major upgrades needed for Canada's policy ecosystem. Neil also served as a coach for the Policy Lab and worked with a team to identify solutions to the challenge posed by Interac on how to ensure digital inclusion and control of data.


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