Stephen Toope

Stephen Toope
Toope in 2010
346th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Assumed office
October 1, 2017
Preceded by Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
In office
June 1, 2015  October 1, 2017
Preceded by Janice Stein
Succeeded by Randall Hansen (interim)
President, University of British Columbia
In office
July 1, 2006  June 30, 2014
Preceded by Martha Piper
Succeeded by Arvind Gupta
Personal details
Born Stephen John Toope
(1958-02-14) February 14, 1958
Nationality Canadian
Spouse(s) Paula Rosen
Children 3
Alma mater Harvard University (BA)
McGill University (BCL/LLB)
University of Cambridge (PhD)
Occupation Academic administrator
Profession Academic, lawyer, legal scholar, pedagogue

Stephen John Toope, OC (born 1958) is a Canadian legal scholar and academic administrator. He is the current 346th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.[1]

A scholar specializing in human rights, public international law and international relations, Toope has been the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge since October 1, 2017.[2]

He was previously the Director of the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. He assumed the position of director in January 2015.[3] Before that, he was the 12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia succeeding Martha Piper. While at UBC, 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".[4] Prior to this, he was the president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.


Toope graduated from Harvard University in 1979 with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and European History. Then, he received two law degrees[5] from McGill University in 1983, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Law Journal. In 1987, he finished his PhD at University of Cambridge.[6]


After completing his PhD, Toope joined McGill's faculty.[7] Before he became president of the University of British Columbia, Toope served as head of an independent, private, and non-partisan Canadian educational foundation, the Trudeau Foundation, named in honour of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The Foundation 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.

Earlier, Toope 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 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 conducted 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.


As of 2018, Toope currently lives in Cambridge with his wife, Paula Rosen, and they have three adult children. [8]


  1. "Four Nova Scotians among Order of Canada honourees". The Chronicle-Herald, July 1, 2015.
  3. UBC Public Affairs. "Stephen Toope to leave UBC Presidency in June 2014". Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  4. site_editor (December 19, 2012). "Stephen J. Toope". Fondation Trudeau. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  5. 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
  6. "Tuum est, Mr. President". Ubyssey. March 24, 2006. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2006.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Martha Piper
President of the University of British Columbia
Succeeded by
Arvind Gupta
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