The Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences of Canada has settled on the sitting public affairs chief of the Canadian Cancer Society as the federation’s new permanent executive director. Gabriel Miller, described as “an experienced not-for-profit leader with an extensive track record in member relations, advocacy, stakeholder engagement and public policy development,” will start his five-year appointment on May 1.
Miller succeeds Christine Tausig Ford, who has served as the interim executive director since mid-October 2016, when Jean-Marc Magnin left the position. The federation announced Miller’s appointment on March 1.
The federation is in a national umbrella organization of more than 160 scholarly associations and universities that promotes their joint interests and missions to improve society. The federation organizes the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canada’s largest academic gathering which draws more than 8,000 participants every year.
“This community, through its teachings, discoveries, and its commitment to informed debate, is indispensable to our future, and I’m grateful for the chance to serve it,” a release quoted Miller.
He is currently vice-president of public issues, policy and cancer information at the Canadian Cancer Society, where he oversees 21 people. He was credited with leading an effort to increase the society’s role as an advocate, and in turn was named one of Canada’s “top 100 lobbyists” by The Hill Times four times since 2013.
Prior to joining the Cancer Society, he was government and media relations director for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, whose members include big city mayors and municipal governments from across the country.
“What impressed the search committee greatly was his ability to listen carefully to the needs of members, and to communicate in fresh and compelling ways the excitement and potential of the social sciences and humanities,” a release from the federation quoted Guy Laforest, a political scientist at Université Laval and president-elect of the federation. That search committee included the current president, Stephen Toope, director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs; Lisa Philipps, professor of law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School; and Lisa Young, vice-provost and dean of the faculty of graduate studies at the University of Calgary.