Canada Program

Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University


The Canada Program, made possible by the William Lyon Mackenzie King Endowment, presents rich intellectual opportunities for Canadian studies at Harvard: graduate and undergraduate courses offered by distinguished visiting Canadianist scholars across the social sciences and professional schools, dissertation research grants for Harvard graduate students, thesis research and travel funding for Harvard undergraduates, funding for Harvard faculty-hosted Canadian studies specialists, a vibrant seminar series of esteemed Canadianist guest speakers, and an annual faculty conference.

Who We Are

Dr. Antonia Maioni joins us as the 2023-2024 William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professors of Canadian Studies. Professor Maioni, Professor in the Department of Equity, Ethics and Policy, School of Population and Global Health at McGill University, is appointed through Harvard's Department of Government, and will teach "The Politics of Health Care in Canada and the US" (fall, 2023), and "Political Life in Canada" (spring, 2024).

Judith Brunton and Daniel Manulak return as our 2023–2024 William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellows. Professor Brunton joins us from the University of Toronto. Professor Manulak joins us from Western University.

Since 2008, the Canada Program has granted more than $1,600,000 in dissertation research funding to more than one hundred graduate students—some of whom are engaged in research concerning government, law, sociology, history, music, education, public health, and urban design—and thesis support for undergraduate students, all of whom are known as Canada Research Fellows.

Fifteen student Canada Research Fellows join the Program in 2023–2024, with fellows representing the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Divinity School, the Graduate School of Education, and  the T. H. Chan School of Public Health. 

Our History

The endowment was established in 1967 following a campaign spearheaded by David Rockefeller, who wished to honor William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874–1950), a friend of his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. A Harvard graduate, Mackenzie King was deputy minister of labour in Canada when, in 1914, he was recruited as an industrial consultant tasked with brokering an agreement between management and labor workers at the Rockefeller-controlled Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. According to Harvard's Directory of Named Chairs, a dispute between management and labor had resulted in “a long, bitter and bloody strike against the company.” And, “[w]hile Rockefeller hoped King would help extricate his company from a labor dilemma which he believed had been badly handled, he had a larger purpose in urging the Rockefeller Foundation to use the Colorado situation as a means of recommending a plan of broad application to industrial relations generally.” King managed the situation, helped amend public perception of Rockefeller, and produced a book for the Foundation, Industry and Humanity (1918). After a time as industrial adviser to a number of American utility and extraction firms, King returned to Canadian politics, took leadership of the Liberal Party, and went on to serve Canada as prime minister for a collective twenty-two years.

In 1967, the president of the University of Toronto, Professor Claude T. Bissell, was named the first William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies. Bissell’s research assistant at the time was Michael Bliss, a distinguished Canadian historian, author, and former University of Toronto professor. Their time at Harvard was, Bliss has noted, “one of the happiest years of our lives.”

The Canada Seminar

The Canada Seminar, chaired by the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor, offers presentations by public figures, scholars, artists, and experts in various fields, and provides a forum for the lively exchange of ideas on a wide range of issues. Guest speakers of the seminar have included former Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien, Hall of Fame hockey player and former Toronto Maple Leaf President Ken Dryden, Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, political philosopher Charles Taylor, and film director and producer Norman Jewison.


The Canada Program at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is guided by a Faculty Advisory Committee chaired by Professor Michael Szonyi. The Faculty Advisory Committee comprises a group of scholars drawn from Harvard’s different schools, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education, and the Harvard Law School. The committee oversees the Program, which fosters and supports Canadian studies at Harvard both through existing programs and new innovations. The Committee is responsible for the selection of the William Lyon Mackenzie King visiting professorship, for the Program’s postdoctoral fellowship program, and for providing funding opportunities for student and faculty research on topics related to Canada. Helen Clayton is the program administrator.

America : United States (New England)
Institution type
Non French Institutions : University or university institute

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