During Winter 2021, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, four Bishop’s students of the Department of Politics were involved in the coordination of two important events, under the supervision of Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé: the Annual Conference of the Network for Strategic Analysis and the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference.
The mission of the Network for Strategic Analysis, part of the Department of National Defense’s Mobilizing Insights in Defense and Security (MINDS) program, is to mobilize research expertise to inform main strategic challenges for Canada. The Annual Conference of the second Axis of the Network for Strategic Analysis, held on January 22, 2021 under the thematic of (Re)thinking Canada’s role in Peacekeeping, was the occasion for BU students Corinne R. Dory (Honours in International Studies) and Junru Bian (BU Alumni 2019, Master’s Candidate McGill) to dive heads on in event coordination. Undergraduate students are rarely involved in the organization of these types of high-profile events, and this was a great opportunity for them to learn about research and diplomatic relationships.
On top of the event coordination, Corinne had the chance to preside one of the panels, which focused on Canada in peacekeeping operation. This experience gave me the privilege to expand my network of specialists and experts in the field of peace and security and increase my level of understanding of peacekeeping operations. Moreover, it helped me narrow down my research interests to better choose my topic for the future of my academic career and it motivated me to apply for a thesis-based Master’s, says Corinne.
The Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference (QUSC), an annual event initiated in 2018 by Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé, was held on February 6, 2021. The conference is organized as part of the International Security in the Globalization Era project, which unites researchers from three Quebec Universities (Bishop’s, McGill, Université de Montréal) to examine the effects of globalization on international security and the security functions of the nation-state in different regions of the world. The conference gives the opportunity for undergraduate students to present their work and research on international security issues, receive feedback from experts in the field and to network with peers, practitioners, and professors. Since the conception of this conference, Bishop’s students have been continuously involved in the organization of this annual even. This year, three BU students were involved its coordination: Junru Bian, Lili Schricker (Honours in Political and International Studies) and Matthew Rainsford (Political and International Studies).
For Lili and Matthew, the training to interview the Honourable Ambassador Bob Rae was a key moment in their Bishop’s experience. In Lili’s words, it allowed [her] to acquire insight into the practical world of diplomacy and the path to realizing [her] career ambitions. By interacting with the Honourable Bob Rae, [she] also had the privilege of observing first-hand the valuable public speaking skills used by a renowned politician, which [she] aspire to apply when participating in the National Model United Nations Simulation later this semester.
Now a graduate student, Junru highlighted how he learned by being able to support participants to the conference in writing an abstract, preparing a presentation and debuting their first public speaking experience. At the end of the day, the undergraduate students always left the conference looking much more confident, certain and positive about their future than when they first arrived. This is why the QUSC is a significant initiative – it encapsulates a liberal, 21st century undergraduate pedagogy that invites students to step outside of their classroom and learn through practical, hands-on experiences.
Through those events, Bishop’s students gained valuable skills, like networking abilities, knowledge mobilization, organization, adaptation, resilience, strategic marketing, and formal writing and oral communication skills, that clearly complimented their Bishop’s degree, in both professional and academic ways. They were also able to confirm their career choice for the future. My involvement in the conference as a presenter is what inspired my future academic interests in international security, a field I had never considered beforehand. Prior to this experience, I had not yet begun to even contemplate continuing my studies at the graduate level. The process of preparing my work and presenting it to an expert in their field was a testing experience which was instrumental in me being able to live up to my ambition, says Matthew.
Corinne, Junru, Lili and Matthew wish to thank Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé for the enriching experience and for her passion. Their involvement in those events would not have been possible without her dedication to highlighting undergraduate potential.
Corinne R. Dory (Honours in International Studies)
Junru Bian (BU Alumni 2019, Master’s Candidate McGill)
Lili Schricker (Honours in Political and International Studies)
Matthew Rainsford (Political and International Studies)