Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer was born in Newfoundland in 1943. After studying at universities in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, he received his PhD in military and Middle Eastern history from the University of London.

Dyer served in the Canadian, American and British navies. He taught military history and war studies for two years at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto and for four years at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

Since he left teaching in 1973, Dyer has worked as a freelance journalist, broadcaster and lecturer. His syndicated columns on international affairs appear in a dozen languages in nearly 200 newspapers published in more than 40 countries around the world.

In 1980, Gwynne Dyer and Tina Viljoen collaborated on a seven-part television series for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB): War first telecast in Canada in 1983. Eventually, War was shown in 45 countries and one episode, “The Profession of Arms”, was nominated for an Academy Award. With Viljoen, Dyer wrote a book based on the series: War, published in 1985. For the NFB and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Dyer and Viljoen again collaborated on Defence of Canada, a three-part series aired in 1986. Their book The Defence of Canada: In the Arms of the Empire was published in 1990.

In 1994 Dyer completed a four-part series, The Human Race, which looked at the roots, nature and future of human politics. In 1995, his three-part series on peacekeeping in Bosnia, Protection Force, first aired. Dyer has also made several radio documentaries, including a seven-hour series, The Gorbachev Revolution, and a six-hour series entitled Millennium, which aired on the CBC in the spring of 1996.

Gwynne Dyer is frequent lecturer. His reflections on Globalization and the Nation-State were published in 1996 by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs in its series Behind the Headlines.

Gwynne Dyer was the O.D. Skelton Memorial lecturer on March 23, 1998, in St. John's. Dyer is a freelance journalist, broadcaster and lecturer. In his speech, he suggests that the world may not be as dangerous as media reports of negative issues, problems and disasters convey, likely intentionally. There is certainly no shortage of bad news to fill the headlines. But Dyer contends that the world is becoming a better place in which to live and arguably a more democratic one.

He provides several detailed descriptions of demonstrations in the past couple of decades, such as the ones in Manila, Beijing and Berlin, and describes the remarkable impact and example of these non-violent revolutions. Regimes that we never imagined could democratize have done exactly that. Yet which image is more accurate - the dangerous world of the longer term, or the possibly ephemeral, happier world of the recent past? In his view, human nature is egalitarian and peaceful and Dyer tries to demonstrate this through a brief history of human development, emphasizing particularly the development of government and communications, including the growth of democracy. For international relations, the implications are profound, as democratic societies do not tend to go to war with one another.

Dyer explains that even the UN is bending its own rules to support democracy rather than sovereignty. In his view, Canada can take advantage of these changes; for example, it initiated the signing of an international treaty banning the production, possession, sale or use of anti-personnel mines. Thus, Dyer feels that it is time to be optimistic about foreign policy.