Stéfanie von Hlatky

Political Studies professor wins prestigious national Fellowship

Faculty of Arts and Science Associate Dean (Research) Stéfanie von Hlatky has earned a coveted Trudeau Fellowship, one of only four researchers across Canada to earn this honour in 2024. The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation selected the honourees this year for their research excellence, their leadership as engaged educators, and their solid skills in academic teaching and mentoring.

“I am very committed to research leadership so receiving this honour is particularly meaningful for me personally, but also very relevant for my role as Associate Dean (Research) in FAS. I’m joining an incredible community of scholars, and I am particularly keen on the mentorship component with students holding the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship.”

Only three Queen’s University faculty members have previously won this award (Will Kymlicka, John McGarry, Norman Vorano) - Dr. von Hlatky is the first woman.

A professor in the Department of Political Studies, Dr. von Hlatky says her contribution to the scientific theme of the next three years is to highlight the link between gender equality and international peace and security, tied to her Canada Research Chair in Gender, Security, and the Armed Forces. The themes this year are Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People and Their Natural Environment.

“Canada is poised to increase its defence budget substantially over the coming years and it is imperative that we have a national dialogue on the country’s role in the world,” Dr. von Hlatky says. “This is in line with some of the guiding themes of the Trudeau Foundation, namely Canada & the World. Canada’s feminist foreign policy needs an update so the general public can see and understand how taxpayer dollars support the pursuit of its interest and values globally, in a context where the rules-based international order is being severely undermined.”

She adds that the international security environment has changed dramatically since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Crimea. It is not only Canada’s interests that are threatened by such acts of aggression, but also its values, including its commitment to gender equality.

“I’ve seen this most clearly with my research, as gender-based disinformation and anti-gender extremist rhetoric has proliferated online and in the political arena,” Dr. von Hlatky says. “On the battlefield, sexual violence and torture are being used systematically by state and non-state actors alike. Democratic governments, international organizations and national armed forces are countering such trends and drawing from academic expertise in the process, in a quickly evolving security landscape. My research translates into direct policy and military impact through expert testimony provided to NATO, in parliamentary committees, and by providing input into the development of military doctrine and training to better respond to these challenges.”

Looking to the future, Dr. von Hlatky says she would like to focus on strengthening international institutions in a time of intensifying near peer competition. Researchers have a key role to play here in terms of disseminating their findings to make sure international programming is evidence based.

“This is something we used to take for granted, but in this post-truth era, where institutions (including universities) are losing public trust, I see a great need to be more present and engaged in policy conversations at the national and international levels. Connecting my research interests to these broader policy challenges feels purposeful and provides an opportunity for my students to think about the practical applications of their projects.”

She says fostering leadership and engagement in the research community is critical, especially after the pandemic, and that she will certainly draw inspiration from this experience to bring new ideas and proposals about how we can enhance research engagement within FAS and at Queen’s.

“Dr. von Hlatky is one of the Faculty of Arts and Science leading researchers and this honour recognizes her groundbreaking research,” says Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “She has made a significant contribution to research within our faculty and, through her work as Associate Dean (Research) and as a professor in the Department of Political Studies, provides inspiration and motivation to faculty members and students in all disciplines.”

Learn more about the award on the Pierre Elliot Trudeau website.