The Centre for International and Defence Policy, established in 1975 as the Queen's Centre for International Relations under the directorship of Nils Ørvik, has a mandate to conduct research in matters of national and international security and other aspects of international relations. It supports teaching in the field of security and defence and, through its publications and activities of its members, contributes to public debate on Canadian foreign and defence policy, and on issues of international peace and security. In 2011, the Centre's name was changed to reflect more clearly the range of its interests as a research unit in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University.


Who We Are

The Centre's significant strengths in research come from the rich diversity of the Fellows attached to the Centre.  Most are drawn from units of Kingston's two universities: Policy Studies, Political Studies, and History at Queen's, and War Studies, History, and Politics and Economics at the Royal Military College of Canada.  The Centre has a number of External Fellows, and regularly hosts a number of post-doctoral fellows.  Among our Fellows are retired ambassadors, former senior government officials, and retired senior officers in the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Centre also hosts Visiting Defence Fellows from the Canadian Armed Forces, the U.S. Army, and the Bundeswehr, the German defence force.  These officers bring a fresh, practical and international perspective to the work of the Centre.

Our Mission

The CIDP is a leading Canadian research organization that bridges the gap between academic research and policy on matters related to military and defence. The Centre’s vision is to be a trusted voice on defence and military affairs both in Canada and internationally. The Centre has been the go-to source for matters of military and defence policy for more than 40 years. Leveraging the centre’s proximity to Canadian Forces Base Kingston, the Royal Military College of Canada, the Department of National Defence and a number of Canadian Armed Forces organizations, we draw on the expertise of more than 50 research fellows, including students, civilian and military experts, former government officials, diplomats and active-duty military officers.

The Centre’s goal is to be among the best research centres in Canada working on questions of international and defence policy issues, and to continue to be recognized for

  • the provision of a conducive environment for research, analysis, reflection and discussion of international and defence policy issues by a diverse group of Centre Fellows, including faculty members of Queen’s University and Royal Military College of Canada; Visiting Defence Fellows who are routinely seconded to the Centre from the Canadian Armed Forces, the U.S. Army, and the German Bundeswehr; post-doctoral fellows; and former government officials;
  • high-quality research and publication on international security and defence policy issues;
  • its contribution to education, including the supervision of post-doctoral fellows, the supervision of research projects related to national and international security undertaken by graduate students, and the teaching of undergraduate and graduate students at Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada; and
  • service to Canadian society, locally and nationally, in engaging the public, debating issues of foreign and defence policy, and fostering networks among research institutions and other non-governmental organizations in the field of national and international security.

What We Do

The Centre partners with the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre, the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, and the NATO Defence College in the Kingston Consortium on International Security.  A main event of the consortium is the annual Kingston Conference on International Security. Topics have included:

  • 2021: In Case of Emergency. The Military's Role in the Pandemic and Future Crises
  • 2019: A Changing International Order? Implications for the Security Environment
  • 2018: The Return of Deterrence
  • 2017: Developing the Super Soldier: Enhancing Military Performance
  • 2016: Engagement in Peace and War: How Soldiers and Military Institutions Adapt
  • 2015: Robotics and Military Operations

The Centre's lunchtime International and Defence Policy Seminars provide an opportunity to exchange ideas with visiting speakers.  Visitors have included government officials, visiting scholars, and Centre Fellows. See here for a list of upcoming and past IDPS Speakers.

Other events sponsored or co-sponsored by the Centre include:

  • the annual Sheila Skelton Menzies Lecture, co-sponsored with the Department of Political Studies
  • the Kingston International Lecture series, co-sponsored with the Royal Military College of Canada
  • intensive one to two-day seminars of specialists on international security issues to bring policy-makers and scholars together to discuss recent research on critical areas of international conflict
  • expert panels of Centre Fellows, who debate current international issues in forums attended by Queen's and RMC students and members of the Kingston community.

Publications are the most important and enduring way that the Centre contributes to public understanding of Canada's foreign and defence policies, and on issues of international peace and security.

Human Dimensions in Foreign Policy, Military Studies, and Security Studies Series

Books published in the Human Dimensions in Foreign Policy, Military Studies, and Security Studies series offer fresh perspectives on foreign affairs and global governance. Titles in the series illuminate critical issues of global security in the twenty-first century and emphasize the human dimensions of war such as the health and well-being of soldiers, the factors that influence operational effectiveness, the civil-military relations and decisions on the use of force, as well as the ethical, moral, and legal ramifications of ongoing conflicts and wars. Foreign policy is also analyzed both in terms of its impact of human rights and the role the public plays in shaping policy directions. 

With a strong focus on definitions of security, the series encourages discussion of contemporary security challenges and welcomes works that focus on issues including human security, violent conflict, terrorism, military cooperation, and foreign and defence policy. This series is published through McGill-Queen's University Press in collaboration with Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada with the Centre for International and Defence Policy, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, and the Centre for Security, Armed Forces, and Society. 

Over the years, the Centre has slam supported the publication of books on a range of issues in national security and international relations.

In addition, the Centre publishes two monograph series. Martello Papers focus on security studies, and cover a wide range of contemporary international issues. Claxton Papers focus on defence policy and defence management.

The Centre's Occasional Papers are article-length works directed at the policy community and the broader public.