Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

About the Centre for International and Defence Policy

The Centre for International and Defence Policy was established in 1975 as the Queen's Centre for International Relations under the directorship of Nils Ørvik.  Its mandate, then as now, was 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. 

What We Do

Kingston Conference on International Security

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 to hold the annual Kingston Conference on International Security. Full details, presentations and briefs of past KCIS can be found on the KCIS website <queensu.ca/kcis>. Topics have included: 

  • 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
  • 2014: CBRNe: The Ongoing Challenge
  • 2013: Ethical Warriors

International and Defence Policy Seminar Series

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. For a list of past speakers, visit the IDPS Speakers page.

Workshops, Public Forums

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 supported the publication of books on a range of issues in national security and international relations.  

    • North American Strategic Defense in the 21st Century. Christian Leuprecht, Joel J. Sokolsky, Thomas Hughes, eds., (2018)
    • The Idea of Failed States. Community, Society, Nation, and Patterns of Cohesion. H. Christian Breede., (2017)
    • Going to War? Trends in Military Interventions. Stéfanie von Hlatky and H. Christian Breede eds., (2016)
    • Afghanistan in the Balance: Counterinsurgency, Comprehensive Approach, and Political Order, Hars-Georg Ehrhart, Sven Bernhard Gareis, and Charles Pentland, eds., (2012)

    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.

    For a complete list of the Centre's publications, click here.