Andrea Paras is the Interim Director of the Guelph Institute for Development Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. Prior to joining the University of Guelph in 2012, she was an Assistant Professor at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Dr. Paras is currently engaged in two major research projects. The first project, funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant (2021-2026), examines the ways in which Catholic healthcare institutions in Canada have retained their Catholic identity in the context of a religiously diverse yet publicly secular Canadian society. It also investigates how healthcare staff who work in Catholic institutions, including physicians, bioethicists, midwives, and spiritual care providers, navigate Catholic ethics in their day-to-day work. Her second project, funded through a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2021-2023), investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s foreign aid sector, with a specific focus on how Small and Medium NGOs (SMOs) have adapted to the pandemic. She has previously conducted research on the history and politics of humanitarianism, including her book Moral Obligations and Sovereignty in International Relations: A Genealogy of Humanitarianism (Routledge, 2019), as well as investigated the history and current practices of faith-based humanitarian organisations. Her research has also contributed to the field of intercultural studies, with a focus on understanding why some students are more successful than others in achieving intercultural learning outcomes while studying abroad. Her research has pioneered methods for using qualitative student reflections in combination with the Intercultural Development Inventory (a psychometric survey tool) to assess intercultural learning outcomes, which has direct pedagogical application in relation to designing inclusive curricula across multiple programs. Her research has been published in the Canadian Journal of Development Studies, The International History Review, Intercultural Education, and Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, as well as by Oxford University Press and Routledge. Her writing has also appeared in the The Conversation, National Observer, Toronto Star and NOW Magazine.
Dr. Paras teaches and supervises in the areas of international development, international relations, human rights and humanitarianism, religion and politics, community-engaged research, and intercultural competence. She has led the India Field School program, an intensive course on the ethics of international voluntourism that takes place in Guelph and Dharamsala, India. She is the recipient of several teaching and research awards, including the 2016 Award for Teaching from the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at the University of Guelph, and the 2016 Panorama Award for Outstanding International Education Program from the Canadian Bureau of International Education.