Stephen Toope

Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Stephen Toope


Main bio

Stephen J. Toope OC, FRSC, LLD is President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). Previously, he served as the 346th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, the first non-UK national to hold the post. He was Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, President of the University of British Columbia, President of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Dean of Law at McGill University. 

A graduate in history and literature from Harvard, and in civil law and common law from McGill, Toope went on to complete a PhD in International Law at Trinity College, Cambridge. 

Toope’s public service includes Chairing the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, serving as Fact Finder for the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Government Officials in relation to Maher Arar, being a UN Election Observer the first Post-apartheid elections in South Africa, and sitting on the Boards of the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC). 

Not-for-profit sector contributions have included chairing or serving on the Boards of the Public Policy Forum, the Conference Board of Canada, The Royal Conservatory of Music, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund of the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (now Equitas). 

Toope has written or co-authored four books on international law, the most recent being A Rule of Law for our New Age of Anxiety (CUP, 2023). He publishes in global journals on human rights, international dispute resolution, international environmental law, the use of force, and international legal theory. He has also lectured at universities around the world. 

Awarded many honorary degrees, Toope was elected to the prestigious Institut de droit international, made an honorary Bencher of Middle Temple in London, and elected to honorary fellowships in numerous academic institutions in Canada and the UK. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2019 and an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015. 

Updated July 2023