Today (7 October), international law scholar and university leader Professor Stephen Toope was appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Professor Toope will take over from Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz on 1 October 2017.

I am thrilled to be returning to this great university. I look forward to working with staff and students in the pursuit of academic excellence and tremendous international engagement – the very mark of Cambridge.

Professor Stephen Toope

Professor Toope is Director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and formerly served as president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia.

He is a scholar specialising in human rights, international dispute resolution, international environmental law, the use of force, and international legal theory with degrees in common law (LLB) and civil law (BCL) with honours from McGill University (1983). Professor Toope is also an alumnus of Trinity College Cambridge, where he completed his PhD in 1987.

He graduated from Harvard with a degree (AB) in history and literature in 1979. He has published articles and books on change in international law, and the origins of international obligation in international society.

Professor Toope also represented Western Europe and North America on the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from 2002-2007. 

Cambridge has carried out an international search for the position of Vice-Chancellor and the Search Committee was headed up by the Master of Jesus College, Professor Ian White.

Professor White said: “This appointment builds on seven years of Sir Leszek’s visionary leadership. Professor Toope has impeccable academic credentials, a longstanding involvement with higher education, strong leadership experience and an excellent research background.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz says, “We are delighted to be welcoming a distinguished leader with such an outstanding record as a scholar and educator to lead Cambridge.”

Professor Toope says, “I am thrilled to be returning to this great university. I look forward to working with staff and students in the pursuit of academic excellence and tremendous international engagement – the very mark of Cambridge.”

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz will continue to lead the University until Professor Toope takes up his post on 1 October 2017.


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