Multilingual Léticia Villeneuve has worked in four of the world’s major languages: French, English, Spanish and Mandarin. In addition to her native French, Léticia started learning English and Spanish in school and Mandarin at CEGEP. Léticia, who is a doctoral candidate in International Relations at University College, Oxford, grew up in Laval Quebec and did her BA at the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
During her undergraduate degree Léticia spent a semester abroad doing an internship as the communications director for the Province of Quebec at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai China. The theme of the Expo was cities and urban development and Montreal was one of the cities that had been chosen to present a major project. For six months Léticia represented her home province at the World Expo in Shanghai and at the same time became almost fluent in Mandarin. The day that Léticia came back from Shanghai in October 2010, she had an interview for a Rhodes Scholarship, which she was subsequently awarded.
Léticia’s doctoral studies at Oxford explore how countries deal with issues in international law and specifically ‘soft law’ which is the term used for non-legally binding instruments in international politics, such as UN General Assembly resolutions and conference outcome declarations. Her dissertation focuses on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the four states who initially voted against its adoption, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. UNDRIP is the only UN human rights declaration to have faced formal opposition. Thus, it is a useful case study to explore how states use and commit to soft law instruments in multilateral contexts and how non-state actors use soft law to push for increased representation within international organizations and increase their influence in the development of international law.
Canada’s evolving position towards UNDRIP – the negotiations for which carried on for 20 years before it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 by a majority of 144 states – is at the heart of Léticia’s main case study which explores the international Indigenous Peoples’ rights regime.
In addition to her doctoral studies and teaching at Oxford, Léticia is working with Professor Hugo Cyr, the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and Law at UQAM, on an annotated compendium of the entrenched constitutional documents of Canada in both English and French. Such a collection is not currently available in Canada and when published it will be a unique and valuable resource in Canada and internationally.
In the future Léticia plans to eventually head back to Canada and to use her academic research and experience in the area of policy development in international relations and international law.
The CCSF is proud to have Léticia Villeneuve among our distinguished scholars. She received a CCSF scholarship sponsored by CIBC in 2016.