Monday, October 8, 2018

Canadian Thanksgiving: Canadian Academia Rocks!

A Semi-Spewful tradition has been to enumerate what I am thankful for on Thanskgiving--whether it is in October or November.  This year, I want to be a bit more focused.  While I am still very thankful for much about Canada, I am going to focus on the academic side this year.  Why?  Because I have spent much of 2018 working on an effort connect the Canadian defence and security community--the Canadian Defence and Security Network.  The big grant is due later this month, so I have been nagging many partners and participants to do their part in this effort--mostly fighting an online form process.  The upside of this effort has been several-fold:
  • I have worked with a small team of academics who serve as co-leaders/partners-in-crime.  These folks are smart, dedicated and fun. Not only did we get together to hash things out in August, but I have been in constant contact with them.  I will forever be indebted to them for tolerating my flood of emails, the requests to review drafts of many documents, the requests to help with institutions they brought to the network, and their patience and endurance as they waged battles within their institutions to get the necessary approvals and commitments.
  • This grant effort has compelled me to reach out across Canada to a variety actors interested in the issues at stake.  I am very thankful for their enthusiasm for this project and their willingness to do the necessary steps to get this thing to work.
  • I am very, very grateful for the support of my institution.  From the VP for Research to the Dean  of the Faculty of Public Affairs to the grant facilitator to the Director of my school to my colleagues, I have received incredible amounts of support and encouragement.
  • I am very thank for the research assistance I have received along the way: undergrads, MA students and now a Phd student have all played key roles. I am learning better how to delegate, and they are doing an excellent job making sure I provide clearer instructions.  
 And if it is not, well, I will have benefited greatly anyway, as I am now better connected with Canada's defence and security community.  They have much expertise to give. They have helped me greatly understand not just Canada and its role in the world, but how to think comparatively about civil-military relations and alliance politics.

So, on this Thanksgiving, I am very, very thankful to those near and far who are helping me and making TeamCDSN an insightful, engaging, and fun endeavor.

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