Stephen Toope

Stephen John Toope OC (born in 1958 in Montréal, Québec, Canada) is a Canadian legal scholar, academic administrator and a scholar specializing in human rights, public international law and international relations.

Stephen Toope

346th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Assumed office
October 1, 2017
Preceded bySir Leszek Borysiewicz
Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
In office
June 1, 2015  October 1, 2017
Preceded byJanice Stein
Succeeded byRandall Hansen (interim)
President, University of British Columbia
In office
July 1, 2006  June 30, 2014
Preceded byMartha Piper
Succeeded byArvind Gupta
Personal details
Stephen John Toope

(1958-02-14) February 14, 1958
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Spouse(s)Paula Rosen
Alma mater
OccupationAcademic administrator
ProfessionAcademic, lawyer, legal scholar, pedagogue

He was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.[1] and, on 1 October 2017, he became the 346th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.[2].


Toope graduated from Harvard University in 1979 with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and European History. He then received two law degrees[3] from McGill University in 1983, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Law Journal. In 1987, he finished his PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge.[4]


After completing his PhD, Toope joined McGill University's faculty.[5]

He served as dean of McGill University Faculty of Law from 1994 to 1999. He is the youngest person to have held the position. During his tenure as dean, he led the then-largest capital campaign in Canadian law faculty history to build a new Law library, and oversaw the renewal of the faculty's curriculum.

Toope then headed the Trudeau Foundation, named in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The Foundation is an independent, private, and non-partisan Canadian educational foundation that focuses on identifying outstanding talent in the social sciences and humanities, thereby building a network to promote public debate on issues of societal importance. The Foundation awards five fellowships and 15 doctoral candidate scholarships annually to recognize outstanding achievement in the humanities and social sciences that exemplify innovative public policy approaches and a commitment to public engagement. Established in 2002, the Foundation manages an endowment of more than C$140 million.

In 2006, Toope became the 12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia succeeding Martha Piper. He also held an academic position at the university as a tenured professor of law. He assumed the presidential post on July 1, 2006, and held the position for eight years, until June 30, 2014. On April 3, 2013, it was announced that Toope would leave the UBC presidency effective June 2014 to "pursue academic and professional interests in international law and international relations".[6]

In January 2015, Toope became the Director of the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. [7]

He is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge since 2017, the first Canadian to occupy this prestigious post. He is concurrently Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, a Professorial Fellow of Clare Hall, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College.

Toope has consulted extensively to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and to the Canadian International Development Agency. He has won publishing awards from the American Society of International Law and the Canadian Tax Foundation.

He has also conducted various human rights seminars for government officials in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and was a member of the UN observer delegation to the first post-apartheid South African elections. He has also served as Research Director, Office of the Special Representative concerning the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People in 1991.

His service to the community includes serving on the boards of non-governmental organizations that promote human rights and international development, including the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, the World University Service of Canada and the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.[8]


As of 2018, Toope has been living in Cambridge with his wife, Paula Rosen, a speech therapist and musical theatre composer. They have three adult children.[9]


  1. "Four Nova Scotians among Order of Canada honourees". The Chronicle-Herald, July 1, 2015.
  2. site_editor (December 19, 2012). "Stephen J. Toope". Fondation Trudeau. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  3. Toope, Stephen John (1986). Arbitrations involving states and foreign private parties : A study in contemporary legal process. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 499910996. EThOS
  4. "Tuum est, Mr. President". Ubyssey. March 24, 2006. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2006.
  5. UBC Public Affairs. "Stephen Toope to leave UBC Presidency in June 2014". Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  6. "Stephen J. Toope | Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  7. Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, CV of Stephen J. Toope, Spring 2016.
  8. Weglowska, Magdalena (February 23, 2015). "Professor Stephen J Toope". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Martha Piper
President of the University of British Columbia
Succeeded by
Arvind Gupta
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