Another Successful CDAI Graduate Student Symposium

By: 13987 Bryan Bailey – Executive Director – RMC Club of Canada

For the 17th consecutive year, the Royal Military College of Canada hosted the Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) Institute’s Graduate Student Symposium which was themed as “Canada’s Security & Defence Interests”. The symposium continues to attract greater interest each year and this year there were more than 100 registrants plus a high number of RMCC cadets who were able to take advantage of many of the presentations.

The CDA Institute President and former Chief of Defence Staff, S146 General (Ret’d) Ray Henault, was the consummate symposium host for the third consecutive year and did so again in a dignified and professional manner. Again, this year’s three keynote speakers did not disappoint. The lead-off address was provided by 8500 BGen (Ret’d) Chris Ford, Class of 1970, who provided practical tips on public speaking all while providing an exceptional example. The lunch keynote address was delivered by no other than CMR’s Academic Director 10966 LGen (Ret’d) Michel Maisonneuve, Class of 1976, who shared his personal philosophy on life and work which includes the enjoyment of fun!

The dinner keynote speaker was the much acclaimed international affairs journalist Matthew Fisher who succeeded in captivating and educating the entire audience. Without question, all who attended were impressed by his words, wisdom, and accomplishments. His response to a wide variety of complex subjects during a dynamic question and answer session demonstrated his incredible grasp of conflicts past and present as well as his remarkable insight. His ability to absorb and understand the military is nothing short of phenomenal and is no doubt a major reason why he has earned the trust and respect by so many in uniform. The symposium greatly appreciated the manner in which he freely shared his personal experiences as a foreign correspondent as well as his thoughts and opinions about current conflicts in Ukraine and that ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria.

RMC Alumni and College Faculty were again very high profile. The two judges were G0114 MGen (Ret’d) Daniel Gosselin and the Deputy Head of the Military Psychology and Leadership Department, Dr. Daniel Lagacé-Roy. Of the six panel moderators, RMCC was well represented by Dr. Magali Deleuze, Dr. Ali Dizboni, and Dr. Emanuele Sica along with 9918 MGen (Ret’d) Doug Dempster (Class of 1974) who is the Executive Director of the Centre for Executive Leadership for the Telfer School of Management.

It was also a great opportunity for several RMC graduate students to participate by delivering papers. For other RMC under graduate students, it was a convenient professional development opportunity as the benefited from the excellent presentations and debate.

The following three RMCC students delivered papers and presentations as part of this year’s symposium:

1. Major Paul Hook, part-time MA student and B Division Commander. His paper was entitled, “Canada’s Ongoing Contribution to Peacekeeping: More than Just Canadians in Blue Helmets”.

2. OCdt Andrew McNaughton, 4th Year Military and Strategic Studies student. He delivered his presentation on “The Role of Air Power in Peace Support Operations”.

3. OCdt Michael Finlay, Masters of War Studies candidate. He presented his thoughts on “Analysis of Parliamentary debate concerning the adoption of steam in the Royal Navy, 1805-1855”.


While a daunting task, four of the 19 presenters were singled out for praise and received prizes from the Institute and RCMI. The $1,000 CDAI prize was awarded to Rob Burroughs (Photo Left)  from the University of Ottawa.

The $500 prize was awarded to Dashiell Dronyk (Photo Centre) of Carleton University.

The $250 prize was presented to Tannuva Akbar (Photo Right) of the University of Toronto.


Last, but certainly not least, Col (Ret’d) Chris Corrigan, the Executive Director or RCMI, presented the RCMI Peter Hunter Award to Captain Kevin Klein who is a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary.

In summary, the CDAI Executive Director, M050 Colonel Tony Battista, ably supported by his exceptional team, is to be commended for the preparation and conduct of a hugely successful symposium which attracted exceptionally talented graduate students from a wide variety of academic institutions across the country as well as several from outside Canada.

Photos by Curtis Maynard – More photos Here