Stein: We should be horrified, not terrified

Despite the perception of fear all around, there has never been a better time to be alive – never in human history, Janice Stein assured graduates at the morning session of Western’s 307th Convocation.

“We should be and must be horrified by the brutality of what we see, but we should not be terrified,” Stein said.

Stein spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the Faculty of Social Science at the Tuesday, June 14, morning session of Western’s 307th Convocation.

Western conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), upon Stein in recognition of her successful career as one of Canada’s most distinguished and well-known scholars on global affairs.

Stein is a specialist in decision-making theory, strategy and the Middle East, and is the founder of the Digital Public Square, a platform for global citizen engagement. Now serving as the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Stein was the founder of the university’s Munk School of Global Affairs. She has led the way in creating a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of global challenges.

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Stein has made outstanding contributions to public debate and is a frequent commentator on ongoing political conflicts around the world. Her most recent publications include Networks of Knowledge: Innovation in International Learning, The Cult of Efficiency and Digital Diplomacy. She is a co-author of the prize-winning The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar.

In his citation, Western Political Science professor Don Abelson touted Stein’s accomplishments in the complex world of global politics, where few Canadians have helped guide our understanding of international and regional conflicts, and Canada’s role on the world stage.

“A world-renowned scholar of the Middle East and foreign policy decision-making, a committed educator and public intellectual, Dr. Stein has educated generations of students about the causes and consequences of war, and the various instruments of statecraft that can be employed to bring about the peaceful resolution of disputes,” said Abelson, Director of Western’s Canada-U.S. Institute.

“It is these, and other, talents that account for the enormous success she enjoyed in transforming the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto into the premier destination for international relations in North America.”

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Member of the Order of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario and a recipient of the Molson Prize from the Canada Council, Stein’s impressive list of achievements continues to grow. Yet, despite the stature she enjoys throughout the international community, Abelson said she has never lost sight of the importance of teaching and guiding future generations of students to think critically about the world around them and to take chances.

“As she has done for so many years, Dr. Stein continues to challenge us to speak out on world issues and to make our presence felt. This is a legacy for which she can be deeply proud,” he said.

Stein has also received honorary degrees from the University of Alberta, University of Cape Breton, McMaster University and the Hebrew University.