The Centre’s mandate is to support research and education on two inter-related but distinct sets of issues. One focuses on the institutions, processes, policies and conditions necessary to develop and sustain systems of governance based on liberal-democratic values. The other is organized around the question “How can societies respond to the opportunities and challenges raised by ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and do so in ways that promote democracy, social justice, peace and stability?”
The Centre's objectives are:
Faculty associates have an outstanding record of individual and collective achievement in research about the issues encompassed by the Centre’s mandate. Particularly notable has been their leadership of the SSHRC-funded partnership project on ethnicity and democratic governance, which engaged researchers from eight countries, produced more than 200 working papers, held 15 workshops and two international conferences, and has published two special-theme issues of journals and five of a projected 11 books.
Faculty associates also contribute to graduate and undergraduate teaching on related issues in their respective disciplines.
The Centre has organized several research projects on these issues, supported civic education projects, and engaged in public education through the use of social media and televised conferences.
Faculty associated with the Centre have also been consultants to the UN, other multi-lateral institutions, bilateral aid agencies, private foundations, and partner-country governments in the delivery of support to democratization and political integration in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and central and eastern Europe.
The Centre also managed a major international assistance project, funded by CIDA, to establish a curriculum in education about democracy in the universities and secondary schools of Ukraine. The project has established a foundation course on democracy in more than 200 universities, a compulsory curriculum on democracy and human rights in institutions training law enforcement personnel, distance learning courses on democracy for public servants, courses to train secondary school teachers to teach civic education in the country’s pedagogical universities, and a compulsory course on democratic citizenship in the final-year curriculum of all secondary schools throughout the country.
The Centre is housed in the School of Policy Studies and engages faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines across the University. It is administered by a Director who reports to the Director of the School and to the Associate Vice-Principal of Graduate Studies.