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The Philosopher Helping Countries Protect Minority Rights – The Walrus

Dec. 20, 2023

From Nepal to Bolivia, Will Kymlicka is reshaping global policy

What is Canada’s leading intellectual export? Much evidence suggests it is the philosophy of Will Kymlicka.

Over twenty years ago, the Wall Street Journal called Kymlicka a “global guru” due to his impact on lawmakers around the world, particularly in Europe. Since then, the influence of the Queen’s University philosopher has only grown. When Nepal went through an acrimonious debate about a new constitution, for example, the country’s largest English-language newspaper, the Kathmandu Post, editorialized in favour of incorporating Kymlicka’s framework of minority rights.

His influence has also been felt in Bolivia, where Indigenous people make up a majority of the population yet are underrepresented in the military, and where Kymlicka was called in to address Bolivia’s president and other dignitaries on how to make the army more inclusive. When the United Nations sponsored a workshop on African multiculturalism in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, the organizers urged attendees to show up having read books written or edited by Kymlicka. Kymlicka has spoken to audiences at over 100 universities, and his work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

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