Introducing 2013-14 CT Fellow George Anderson

Constitutional Transitions is pleased to introduce George Anderson, one of six visiting fellows to join the Center this semester. Anderson comes to the Center with extensive governmental experience in his native Canada, and has worked around the world to improve governance in existing and emerging federal systems. Currently, he is also working with the United Nations in support of Yemen’s constitutional transition, where the future federal form of the country has been highly contentious.

Anderson held numerous senior appointments in the Canadian government, including in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he worked on the patriation of Canada’s Constitution from the United Kingdom; he also served as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and later Natural Resources. Within Intergovernmental Affairs, he was deeply involved in matters concerning the relationship between Canada’s federal and provincial governments, and the federal government’s response to Quebec’s 1995 secession referendum.

He left government in 2005 to pursue his interest in federalism as the President and CEO of the Forum of Federations, an international governance organization funded by ten federal states with programs in over twenty countries. Anderson worked on constitutional transitions in Iraq, Kenya, Nepal, Somalia, and Sudan. The Forum shares experience amongst federations and provides assistance in countries considering federalism. While at the Forum, Anderson wrote short introductory books on federalism and fiscal federalism, both of which have been widely translated, and edited volumes on oil and gas in federations and internal markets in federal systems. More recently, he co-edited a book on federal rivers, which will appear early in 2014.

In 2012–13 Anderson was a member of the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts, which took him to yet more countries engaged in constitutional transitions. Since March of this year, he has been working closely with Jamal Benomar, the U.N. Special Adviser on Yemen. Following Ali Abdullah Saleh’s removal from power, Yemen has engaged in a National Dialogue Conference (NDC) composed of over 500 representatives of political parties and diverse civil society groups, as well as the dissident groups from the South and North. The Southern issue is perhaps the most intractable, given the deep alienation of the South, which feels it has been systematically exploited since the country’s unification in 1990. Though the NDC parties have agreed in principle to some form of federalism, they have yet to reconcile their very different views on the number and definition of the states as well as the extent of the devolution of powers. Anderson was most recently in Yemen in September and will return in November, by which time it is hoped the country’s Constitutional Drafting Committee will have begun the drafting process. More information on the NDC and the Southern Issue Working Group is available here.

Constitutional Transitions is proud to host George Anderson for the entire 2013–14 academic year. While here, he will focus on one of Constitutional Transitions’ current research projects, “Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Transitions to Constitutional Democracy.” The project will bring together over a dozen case studies from states whose constitutional transitions have had to consider such options as federalism, asymmetric autonomy, consociationalism or the maintenance of unitary structures to deal with regional cleavages. A particular focus will be on the processes involved in these transitions. The project will produce an academic volume and publications aimed at practitioners. More information on that research is available here.

We hope you will join us in welcoming George Anderson to the Center. To read his full biography, please click here.


Introducing 2013-14 CT Fellow David Dyzenhaus
(12 October 2013)