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Queen's University

SNID - March 21

Nikolas Barry-Shaw
Queen's University, History

Paved With Good Intentions: Canada's
Development NGOs from Idealism to Imperialism

1-2.30pm, Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D214

Abstract: NGOs are as Canadian as hockey," declared a 1988 Parliamentary report. Few institutions embody the image of Canada's international benevolence like non-governmental organizations devoted to development abroad. But do the actions of Canadian NGOs genuinely match this perception? On the contrary, the "NGO boom" that began in the 1980s was closely connected to the onset of the neoliberal era, when NGOs served to soften the blow of structural adjustment while co-opting dissent. More generally, this talk will critically examine the history of the relationships between NGOs, the Canadian government and social movements, in both the North and South, and raise important questions about these organizations and their development projects: Just how "non-governmental" are organizations that get most of their funding from government agencies? What impact do these funding ties have on NGOs' ability to support popular demands for democratic reforms and wealth redistribution? And what happens when NGOs bite the hand that feeds them?.

About the Speaker: Nikolas Barry-Shaw is a Master's student in History and author of Paved with Good Intentions: Canada's development NGOs from idealism to imperialism, published by Fernwood Publishing (2012). Prior to coming to Queen's, he was an independent researcher affliated with the Canada-Haiti Action Network. He is currently researching the history of Quebec labour solidarity with Chile following the Sept. 11, 1973 coup d'etat and is known for his stellar defensive play on the basketball court. He is still working on his jumpshot. More information about the book can be found here: .

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