Centre for International Governance Innovation

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI, pronounced "see-jee") is an independent, non-partisan think tank on global governance. CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. CIGI's interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. Until September 2014, CIGI was headquartered in the former Seagram Museum in the uptown district of Waterloo, Ontario. It is now situated in the CIGI Campus,[1] which also houses the CIGI Auditorium and the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA).[2][3]

Centre for International Governance Innovation
CIGI org logo.png
Centre for International Governance Innovation 1.jpg
The CIGI campus
TypeInternational think tank on global governance
PurposeGenerating ideas for multilateral governance improvements
Headquarters67 Erb Street West



CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry). Balsillie made an initial donation of $20 million to establish the New Economy Institute (renamed CIGI in 2002), with Mike Lazaridis, his then co-CEO at RIM, contributing an additional $10 million. The combined $30 million in funds was matched by the Government of Canada in 2003.[3]

Among CIGI's first staff was its initial executive director John English, director of public affairs John Milloy and distinguished fellows Andrew F. Cooper and Paul Heinbecker. The first CIGI International Board of Governors (IBG) meeting was held in October 2003, with early members including Jagdish Bhagwati, Joe Clark, Angel Gurria, and Anne-Marie Slaughter.[citation needed]

In 2005, CIGI published its first working paper. In 2007, CIGI partnered with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to launch the BSIA. In 2009, CIGI announced plans to house the BSIA within a "CIGI Campus" that would be built alongside its headquarters in Waterloo. The resulting $69 million complex received federal and provincial funding totalling $50 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and Ontario's 2009 budget. The City of Waterloo donated the land for the campus through a 99-year lease. Construction of the CIGI Campus was completed in November 2011.[4]

In May 2012, Rohinton P. Medhora joined CIGI as president, after having served on CIGI's International Board of Governors since 2009. Medhora is former vice president of programs at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Medhora succeeded former CIGI executive director by Thomas A. Bernes, who previously held high-level positions at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Government of Canada.

In July 2012, CIGI appointed Fen Osler Hampson as Distinguished Fellow and Director of its Global Security research program. Hampson is a former director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) and Chancellor's Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.[citation needed]

In 2014, CIGI appointed Oonagh Fitzgerald as Director of its International Law Research Program.

In 2018, CIGI appointed Robert Fay as Director of its Global Economy Program.

Research initiativesEdit

While CIGI's early research focused solely on international relations and the international economy, the centre's research now examines three themes: the global economy, global security & politics, and international law. CIGI's global economy initiative includes analysis on macroeconomic regulation, financial regulation and trade policy.[citation needed]


CIGI publishes peer-reviewed papers, special reports, policy briefs and conference reports that are outputs of its research programs. These publications are available for free download through a Creative Commons license. CIGI also publishes books under its CIGI Press imprint, which are the result of special projects and research by CIGI fellows and scholars. Titles include: Laid Low: Inside the Crisis That Overwhelmed Europe and the IMF; Look Who’s Watching: Surveillance, Treachery and Trust Online; Complexity’s Embrace: The International Law Implications of Brexit; Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law; Tug of War: Negotiating Security in Eurasia; and The Fabric of Peace in Africa: Looking beyond the State. CIGI’s books are distributed globally through McGill-Queen’s University Press, and are available via multiple e-book platforms and libraries.


Since its inception, CIGI has partnered with other think tanks and organizations from around the world. A partnership is currently underway with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, an organization founded by George Soros in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2008 to bring about ideas that will lead to lasting solutions to the world's various economic challenges.[5]


The CIGI Campus auditorium
The CIGI campus

After purchasing the former Seagram Museum from the City of Waterloo, CIGI moved into the facility in 2003. Designed by Barton Myers Associates, Inc., the Governor General Medal–winning building houses CIGI's main offices for staff and fellows, and provides a number of unique spaces for public events and workshops. Since 2010, the building also contains the CIGI Broadcast Studio, available to news organizations for television and radio interviews of CIGI experts. CIGI also hosts the CIGI Campus Library, featuring the John Holmes Collection, which began as the library of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA) in 1928.


  1. ^ [1] cambridgetimes.ca. Retrieved on 2015-02-26.
  2. ^ Intelligent Waterloo Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Intelligent Waterloo (2007-05-18). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  3. ^ a b A small place to think big | Macleans.ca - Canada - Features Archived September 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Macleans.ca (2005-04-14). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  4. ^ "The CIGI Campus". Centre for International Governance Innovation. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  5. ^ CIGI Partnership | The Institute for New Economic Thinking Archived October 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Ineteconomics.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20110713045056/http://www.intelligentwaterloo.com/en/press.shtml
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20100918082826/http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20050418_103887_103887
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20100918082826/http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20050418_103887_103887
  4. http://www.cigionline.org/person/thomas-bernes
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20120415001657/http://www.cigionline.org/cigi-at-ten
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20111014023714/http://www.ssrresourcecentre.org/ebook/
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20111027013318/http://ineteconomics.org/CIGI
  8. http://www.central-bank-communication.net/events/2013/09/walking-the-talk-challenges-for-monetary-policy-ac.../
  9. http://www.cigionline.org/events

External linksEdit