Professor Gordon Houlden is the Director of the China Institute, Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, and attended the University of Calgary where he received his B.A., and subsequently did graduate work at Carleton University in Ottawa, and at the University Nacional in Lima, Peru.
Professor Houlden joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1976. Abroad he has been posted to Havana, Hong Kong (twice), Warsaw, Beijing (twice - most recently as Minister 2001-2004), and as Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (2004-2006). While a Foreign Service officer, Prof. Houlden studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1981-1983), and at the National Defence College in Kingston (1992-1993). Twenty-two of his years in the Canadian foreign service were spent working on Chinese affairs for the Government of Canada. His last assignment before joining the University of Alberta in 2008 was as Director General of the East Asian Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. During his time as CIUA’s Director, he served as a Board Member for the Province of Alberta Asia Pacific Advisory Council (2012-2014) and Governor and Human Resources Committee Chair for the International Development Research Centre’s (IDRC) (2013-2016).
Under Professor Houlden’s leadership, the China Institute has focused on contemporary China studies, with an emphasis on Canada’s trade, investment and energy linkages with the People’s Republic of China.
While at the China Institute, Professor Houlden has led 8 courses on China for officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), as well as courses on China and Japan for the International and Intergovernmental Relations department of the Government of Alberta.
Professor Houlden has lectured at international conferences in Canada, the United States (including the U.S. State Department) and China (including the National Defence University PLA China). He has been interviewed by many Canadian, Chinese and other international media on Asian economic, trade and investment issues.