The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) will hold its 21st Annual Graduate Student Symposium between Sunday, 30 September and Tuesday, 2 October 2018 at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

For two days of presentations, discussions and networking, plus an afternoon of professional skills development, this impressive and well-attended Symposium draws together Canadian and international MA and PhD students; members of the Department of National Defence; members of the Regular and Reserve components of the Canadian Armed Forces, including officer cadets; as well as scholars, defence industry stakeholders, government officials and leaders from throughout Canadian society.

The overarching theme of this year’s Symposium, entitled Canada in the World: Where are we now?, is an examination of Canada’s global position following the 2017 release of the nation’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. Suggested (but by no means exhaustive) presentation/panel topics may include: future threats, challenges and opportunities; Canada and alliances; peace operations in an unstable and dangerous world – back to the future or a new approach?; the institution of defence – defence industry and procurement; defence personnel – policies for millennials and beyond; emerging operational environments – cyber, space and terrorism/radicalization; Canadian military campaigns and operations – past and present; the north and NORAD; the UN and NATO.

Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be presented to the top three presenters. The top three presenters will also be given the opportunity to work with the CDA Institute Director of Research and Senior Editor to develop their work for publication as Vimy Papers. If the papers are accepted for publication, they will receive an additional honorarium of $1,500 each. A further prize of $750, the Colonel Peter Hunter Award, will be presented by the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI). The recipient of this award will also be offered the opportunity to develop the paper into an RCMI publication.

New to this year’s Symposium is a skills development workshop to be held the Sunday afternoon (31 September) that will offer attendees advice on academic networking, as well as oral presentation skills; it will also afford an additional opportunity to network with colleagues.

Abstracts of proposed presentations (200-400 words) from Master’s and Doctoral students, including recent graduates (i.e., those who received or will receive their degree in 2018), in the realm of security and defence will be accepted until 3 September 2018. Proposals for complete panels (with 3 panelists, less a moderator) will also be entertained. Between 15 and 20 proposals will be accepted for presentation at the Symposium. Abstracts must clearly demonstrate how the proposed topic relates to Canada AND its security and defence interests broadly interpreted; those that fail to do so may not be accepted. Please send all presentation abstracts with your institutional affiliation and contact information by email to

Applicants will be notified of the result of their submission within 5 business days, but likely sooner. The final draft of complete presentation papers (maximum 4,000 words), including final PowerPoint presentations if applicable, must be submitted no later than 21 September 2018.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their abstracts as soon as practicable in order to qualify for a limited number of travel grants (amount to be determined, but $500 minimum) that will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants are asked to indicate, as part of the abstract submission, whether travel assistance is required and from where the travel will begin. Consequently, ‘the early bird has a better chance of getting the worm’.

Presenters are responsible for their own travel and accommodations; however, block booking will be made available at a Kingston hotel at a later date. More information regarding accommodations will be provided soon.