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Professor Joseph Wong was appointed the University of Toronto’s Vice-President, International on April 6, 2021 for a five-year term, after serving as interim Vice-President effective July 1, 2020. In his previous role as the University’s first-ever Associate Vice-President and Vice-Provost, International Student Experience, Joe opened up new avenues to international learning opportunities for U of T students.
Joe is currently a professor in the department of Political Science as well as in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Joe previously held the Roz and Ralph Halbert Professorship of Innovation at the Munk School from 2013 to 2023, as well as the Canada Research Chair in Health, Democracy, and Development for two full terms, 2006 to 2016. He was the Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School from 2005 to 2014.
Joe is the author of many academic articles and several books, including Healthy Democracies: Welfare Politics in Taiwan and South Korea (2004) and Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia’s Developmental State (2011), both published by Cornell University Press. Most recently (2022), he and Dan Slater published From Development to Democracy: the Transformations of Modern Asia, with Princeton University Press. Joe is the co-editor, with Edward Friedman, of Political Transitions in Dominant Party Systems: Learning to Lose (2006), published by Routledge, and co-edited with Dilip Soman and Janice Stein Innovating for the Global South (2013) with the University of Toronto Press. Joe’s articles have appeared in journals such as the Lancet, the Annual Review of Political Science, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Politics and Society, and Governance, among many others.
Joe has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, Oxford, and other institutions in the US, Asia, and the UK. He has worked with international organizations and governments in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Joe’s current research focuses on poverty and innovation. Joe founded the Reach Alliance at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Reach is a research-intensive initiative involving both faculty and students, which examines how development interventions reach the “hardest to reach” populations around the world. The Reach Alliance recently scaled globally, including partnerships with universities in South Africa, Ghana, the UK, Singapore, Australia and Mexico.
Joe teaches courses in the Department of Political Science, the Munk One program, and the Munk School of Global Affairs. Through his engagement with the Asian Institute and as the Co-Founder of the Global Ideas Institute, Joe works with students from select Toronto-area high schools to provide intensive research and mentoring opportunities. Students are encouraged to learn about the world, to think in a global context, and are given opportunities to tackle global challenges. Nominated by his students, Joe was the recipient of the Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Awards in 2012-2013.
Joe received a B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science from McGill University in 1995, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science, in 1996 and 2001, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.