Distinguished Fellows

Distinguished Fellows are prominent members of the community who have significantly contributed to the operations of the Centre and helped improve its standing, financially, publicly and reputationally. Distinguished Fellows are members of the Centre for a two-year term (renewable).

Annie Demirjian

Annie Demirjian has 20 years of senior management experience, in policy and programming, with the Federal Government of Canada, for the United Nations and the World Bank. In 2010, she was seconded to Haiti to lead the Post Disaster Needs Assessment for the UNDP/World Bank after the earthquake in Haiti. From 2004-2013, working with the UN Missions in the field, she headed UNDP’s Democratic Governance portfolio in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Eastern European countries & Central Asia. From 2014-2015, she was the Director of Political Affairs & Mediation Group at the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Recently, she was the Director of Glendon School of Public and International Affairs York University. Multilingual (English, French, Arabic), she holds an M.Sc. (Université du Québec à Montréal), a B.A. (Glendon College, York University), and an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Diploma.

Lorna Marsden

C.M., O.M. (FRG), O.Ont, PhD (hon), PhD

Marsden is a sociologist whose research has focussed on Canadian social change in labour markets, women’s status and population studies. She graduated from the University of Toronto (1968) and received the PhD from Princeton University (1972). She was on the faculty of U of Toronto for twenty years before becoming president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University (1992-97) and then York University (1997-2007). She has published six books and many book chapters and refereed articles. She served as the third president of NAC, on many volunteer and corporate boards and committees both Canadian and international, Senator for over eight years. Since leaving York’s presidency she has taught and carried out research from Glendon campus. She is a Continuing Senior Fellow at Massey College. She has been recognized with six honorary degrees, the Order of Canada and by the Order of Merit of Germany.

Jai Parasram


Jai Parasram is a journalist, author, and communications and media specialist, who worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) until his retirement in 2013. He was the Line-up Editor on the pioneering team that inaugurated the CBC’s 24-hour cable news service in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1989, and was privileged to edit the first newscast to air on the service. Jai’s career began in his native Trinidad and Tobago in 1972 and spanned more than four decades, mostly in television, during which he worked as a reporter, editor, producer, interviewer, news anchor, news director and executive producer. He has worked with clients in Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States in program development for radio and television, corporate communications, event management and political communication. He has also trained journalists in Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. He has also served as a political and communication adviser to two Prime Ministers of Trinidad and Tobago. Jai has won several prestigious awards for excellence in journalism. He holds a Master of Journalism degree (MJ) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Jai is the author of Far from the Mountain (2013), a series of notes and commentaries on the politics of Trinidad and Tobago between 2007and 2012, and Beyond Survival: Indians in Trinidad and Tobago 1845-2017 (2017), a narrative about a people who blended the best of East and West to preserve for themselves and future generations, some of India.

Irvin Studin

Irvin Studin is the President of the Institute for 21st Century Questions, and Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of Global Brief magazine. He is one of Canada’s leading policy thinkers and strategists, and has been called one of the leading international policy thinkers of his generation. Studin is with the Chaire Raoul-Dandurand at the Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM), and has been a professor in leading universities in North America, Asia and Europe. Studin is the co-founder of Ukraine’s Higher School of Public Administration (Kiev). His latest book is Russia – Strategy, Policy and Administration (Palgrave-MacMillan), and his upcoming book is Ten Theses on Canada in the 21st Century. He worked for a number of years in the Privy Council Office (Prime Minister’s department) in Ottawa, as well as in the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra.

The first ever recruit of the Canadian government’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders programme, he was a member of the team that wrote Canada’s 2004 national security policy, and he principal-authored Australia’s 2006 national counter-terrorism policy. He holds degrees from the Schulich School of Business (York University), the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford, where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. His PhD is from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he was a Trudeau Scholar and won the Governor-General’s Gold Medal.