Barbadian-born armed conflict expert Dr. Andy Knight has been named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).
The University of Alberta political science professor, who is a world leader in the study of international organizations, global governance and human security, joins the distinguished national academy of scholars, artists and scientists based on an extra-ordinary academic career distinguished by prolific and innovative research and a remarkable record of public engagement in Canada and overseas.
Knight says it’s an honour to be inducted into the RSC which was founded in 1882.
“I almost feel like a baseball player being inducted into the Hall of Fame, except that this RSC honour recognizes excellence in learning and research and a lifetime of academic accomplishments,” Knight told Share. “I am touched and humbled by this recognition of my academic work. What it says to me is that I must have been doing something right over these years of pursuing my research agenda and that my work must have had some impact on people. To be elected by your peers to this august body is a special honour indeed.
“It seems to me that the more Fellows this university has, the higher will be its profile across Canada and the globe. My induction contributes to that profile-raising and it says to those on the outside that the University of Alberta is a happening place when it comes to excellence in research because that is what the society honours.”
Arriving in Canada in 1977, Knight completed his final year of high school here before embarking on an artistic career encompassing painting and sculpting. When his parents objected to his career choice because they felt artists were financially undercompensated, he turned to political science.
Knight graduated from McMaster University in 1983 with an honours degree, Dalhousie University three years later with a Masters degree and York University in 1995 with a Ph.D. He taught at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec for five years up until 1998 before moving to the University of Alberta where he served as an associate professor for two years prior to being elevated to full professor 11 years ago.
“I knew at the time that if I wanted my research to flourish, I would have to be in a larger institution and preferably a comprehensive university,” said Knight who served as the first executive director of the New York-based United Nations Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protest. “As luck would have it, I was offered the job here.
“Being at the University of Alberta has allowed me to attract a major international journal (Global Governance) to this institution which I edited for five years. Being at this university also provided me with the support base for a number of my research projects, from Children and War and Remapping the Americas to understanding the plight of refugees and displaced persons and the responsibility to protect norm. This university has provided me with the environment, the stimulation, supportive colleagues and mentors like Dr. Janine Brodie and Dr. Pat Clements, the research facilities, graduate students and the encouragement of senior administrators to help me reach that next level.”
Knight and the other 2011 Fellows will be inducted into the RSC on November 26 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
Two years ago, he was presented with a Harry Jerome Trailblazer Award.