Michael Donnelly

Michael Wade Donnelly

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto
Dr. David Chu Professor Emeritus of Asia Pacific Studies, University of Toronto




Professor Donnelly first visited Japan in 1958 as a sailor aboard a U.S naval attack transport ship. His sea life continued for two years. Subsequently, after another two years of shore duty as a Navy journalist at the Headquarters of the Commander Naval Forces in Yokosuka, he began his university education at the University of Missouri.  He completed his undergraduate studies at the School of General Studies of Columbia University with honours in political science in 1966.

He continued at Columbia in graduate school as a Fellow of the Faculty.  He earned an MA in Political Science and a Certificate from the East Asian Institute. Following four years of dissertation research in Tokyo as a Foreign Area Fellow of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies, he joined SSRC as a staff member. He received his PhD from Columbia in 1978.

Professor Donnelly has spent his entire teaching career since 1975 in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.  His publications cover a wide range of academic topics, many concerning the political economy of contemporary Japan: Japanese politics, agricultural policy, elections, nuclear power development, Japanese trade and foreign policy, Canada-Japan relations and Japan-American relations.  He has been a visiting researcher at Tsukuba University and the Institute of Developing Economies and visiting professor at four Japanese universities: Keio University, Meiji University, Japan Women’s University and Kwansei Gakuin University.

His research has been supported by the University of Toronto, the Japan Foundation, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, Meiji University, the Yoshida Foundation, the Asia Pacific Foundation, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council and Columbia University among other academic institutions and agencies. For many years he has been involved in national academic studies of Japan and appointed to a number of government advisory committees.

He served as Secretary and later as Vice President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association.   Subsequently, he served as Director of the Joint University of Toronto and York University Center for Asia Pacific Studies. Later, he was Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto including responsibilities in the areas of social sciences, international studies and advancement. As Associate Dean, he helped establish what has become the Munk School of Global Affairs. He also took the lead in founding the Asian Institute and an undergraduate program in Asia Pacific Studies.

He is the recipient of an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Faculty of Arts and Science. A graduate fellowship in his name was endowed by the University and a former student. Professor Donnelly was the founding Director of the Asian Institute and the first holder of an endowed professorship, the David Chu Professorship of Asia Pacific Studies. In 2014 the Government of Japan conferred on Professor Donnelly the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for his contributions to teaching, scholarship, academic program development, and cultural exchanges linking Canada and Japan. He is currently studying Japanese literature.

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