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Au Revoir! A goodbye from director Rich Watts

Headshot of Rich Watts against a grey background. He wears a black sweater with a blue collar peeking out.

July 5, 2022

Professor Rich Watts, Department of French and Italian Studies, signs off after five years of service to the Center and Jackson School of International Studies.

As my five-year term as faculty director of the Canadian Studies Center in UW’s Jackson School of International Studies draws to a close, my thoughts are mostly with those who have made the work possible and worth pursuing in the first place: first and foremost, my colleagues Nadine Fabbi, managing director of Canadian Studies for the past 22 years and the driving force behind our rich Arctic Studies programs, and Marion Ferguson, who has contributed so much to our programming while also turning study abroad in Canada into a truly compelling option, especially for Indigenous students; the staff and leadership of JSIS, who have provided the Center with passionate and unwavering support; the Fulbright Arctic fellows who have enlivened our teaching and research in Arctic Studies and the campus partners who have made the program possible, with special thanks to the director of Fulbright Canada, Michael Hawes; all of our generous donors and most notably Gary and Consuelo Corbett, whose fellowship support has revitalized student exchanges between UBC, UVic, and UW; Consul General Mia Yen and former Consul General Brandon Lee and the entire staff of the Canadian Consulate in Seattle, with whom we have partnered on a number of important initiatives; our friends and consortium partners at WWU, with whom we share US Dept. of Education Title VI funding for Canadian Studies; and, finally, to all the faculty, students, community members, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Indigenous leaders from Old Crow, Iqaluit, Vancouver, Montréal, Seattle, and elsewhere who have presented research, offered inspiration, and otherwise helped build community among those interested in Canada.

It has been incredibly stimulating and rewarding to be a part of programs that help keep First Nations and Inuit languages in Canada alive, further develop research interests in French-speaking Canada, and make critical contributions to cross-border understanding in the areas of culture, language, politics, environment, and economics. Thank you all!

The new faculty director Patrick Christie brings a wealth of experience in transboundary resource management, especially as it impacts Indigenous communities, and will push the Center in exciting, new directions. I trust you will welcome him as warmly as you welcomed me. For my part, I am beginning a year-long sabbatical that will allow me to complete one research project and begin another. Once I return, I look forward to partnering with Canadian Studies in a “civilian” capacity for many years to come!