Stephen Toope
Toope in 2022
President and CEO, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
Assumed office
November 1, 2022
Preceded byAlan Bernstein
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
In office
October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2022
Preceded bySir Leszek Borysiewicz
Succeeded byAnthony Freeling (acting)
2nd Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
In office
June 1, 2015 – October 1, 2017
Preceded byJanice Stein
Succeeded byRandall Hansen (interim)
12th President of the 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 (age 65)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
SpousePaula Rosen
Alma mater
OccupationAcademic administrator
ProfessionAcademic, lawyer, legal scholar, pedagogue

Stephen John Toope OC FRSC (born February 14, 1958) is a Canadian legal scholar, academic administrator and a scholar specializing in human rights, public international law and international relations. In November 2022, he was appointed as the fifth President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). Prior to this, he served for five years as the 346th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.


Toope graduated from Harvard College in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in English Literature and European History. He then received two law degrees – in common law and civil law[1] – from the McGill University Faculty of Law in 1983, where he served as editor-in-chief of the McGill Law Journal. In 1987, he was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in arbitration law at Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]


After completing his PhD, Toope joined McGill University's faculty.[3] 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.[4]

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".[5][6]

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

He was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.[8]

On October 1, 2017,[9] he became the 346th person to serve as Vice-Chancellor at Cambridge University in England, becoming the first non-Briton to do so.[10] 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 holds a number of honorary doctorates, including from the University of Alberta, the University of British Columbia, McGill University[11] and the University of Bristol. In 2019, he received an honorary LLD from the Law Society of Ontario.[12] The same year, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.[13]

His service to the community includes serving on the boards of organizations that promote human rights and international development, including the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, the World University Service of Canada, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [14] and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

In a 2018 op-ed he criticized British politicians for "condemning UK universities as broken and in need of market discipline."[15]

During his annual university address,[16] in 2020 he announced Cambridge was removing fossil fuel investments from its portfolio.[17]

On September 20, 2021, Toope announced he would be stepping down as vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, two years short of completing his seven-year term.[18][19] His last day in the role was September 30, 2022.[20]

In May 2022, he was selected as the 5th President of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), commencing November 1, 2022.[21]


Toope took up residence in Cambridge in 2018, along with his wife, Paula Rosen, a speech-language pathologist and musical theatre composer. They have three adult children.[22]


  1. ^ Anon. (December 19, 2012). "Stephen J. Toope". Fondation Trudeau. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "Tuum est, Mr. President". Ubyssey. March 24, 2006. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2006.
  4. ^ Waldie, P., "Cambridge’s Canadian leader seeks answers and justice for its slave-trade past—and finds controversy", The Globe and Mail, December 16, 2019.
  5. ^ UBC Public Affairs (April 3, 2013). "Stephen Toope to leave UBC Presidency in June 2014". Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  6. ^ "UBC president Stephen Toope leaving post next year". Global News. April 3, 2013. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  7. ^ "Stephen J. Toope | Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  8. ^ "Four Nova Scotians among Order of Canada honourees". The Chronicle-Herald, July 1, 2015.
  9. ^ "Notices - Cambridge University Reporter 6436".
  10. ^ Jim Coyle (September 10, 2017). "A Canadian is poised to shake up Cambridge University – the first non-Briton in 800 years". The Toronto Star. The Star. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "Stephen Toope to receive honorary doctorate from McGill University". McGill University. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Law Society of Ontario (June 20, 2019). "Law Society to present honorary LLD to legal scholar, Professor Stephen Toope, O.C., on June 26". Law Society Gazette. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  13. ^ "The RSC presents the Class of 2019". Royal Society of Canada. September 10, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  14. ^ Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, CV of Stephen J. Toope, Spring 2016.
  15. ^ Rosemary Bennett (March 16, 2018). "Turning universities into businesses 'caused strikes', says Cambridge vice-chancellor Stephen Toope". The Times. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  16. ^ "Cambridge University ending fossil fuel investments". Associated Press. October 1, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  17. ^ "Cambridge University ending fossil fuel investments". Associated Press. October 1, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  18. ^ "Statement about the Vice-Chancellor". University of Cambridge. September 20, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  19. ^ Woolcock, Nicola (May 3, 2022). "Privately educated pupils to lose places at Oxbridge, vice-chancellor warns". The Times. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  20. ^ Brown, Cordelia (January 10, 2022). "An update on the search for the next Vice-Chancellor". For staff. University of Cambridge. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  21. ^ "Dr. Stephen Toope named CIFAR's next President and CEO". June 5, 2022. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  22. ^ Weglowska, Magdalena (February 23, 2015). "Professor Stephen J Toope". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
Academic offices Preceded byMartha Piper President of the University of British Columbia 2006–2014 Succeeded byArvind Gupta Preceded bySir Leszek Borysiewicz Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge 2017–2022 Succeeded byAnthony Freeling (acting)