Margaret MacMillan

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Margaret MacMillan, CC
Margaret MacMillan at IHR Creighton Lecture 2015, University of London.png
Margaret MacMillan at IHR Creighton Lecture 2015 University of London
Born Margaret Olwen MacMillan
(1943-12-23) 23 December 1943 (age 78)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater Oxford University (DPhil)
University of Toronto (BA)
Occupation Academic, historian
Notable work Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War
Awards Companion of the Order of Canada

Margaret Olwen MacMillan, CC (born 23 December 1943) is a Canadian historian and professor at the University of Oxford, where she is Warden of St Antony's College. She is former provost of Trinity College and professor of history at the University of Toronto and previously at Ryerson University. A leading expert on history and international relations, MacMillan is a commentator in the media.[1] She is a great-granddaughter of former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.


Margaret MacMillan was born to Dr. Robert MacMillan and Eluned Carey Evans. Her maternal grandfather was Maj. Sir Thomas J. Carey Evans, Kt., M.C., F.E.C.S., of the Indian Medical Service. The senior Evans served as personal physician to Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading during the latter's term as Viceroy of India (1921–26). Her maternal grandmother, Olwen Elizabeth, Lady Carey Evans, DBE, was a daughter of David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and his first wife, Margaret (née Owen).[2][3]

Her sister Ann served as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)'s London correspondent for almost 40 years, retiring in 2013;[4] Ann is married to British journalist Peter Snow, making Margaret the aunt of historian Dan Snow.


MacMillan received an Honours B.A. in history from the University of Toronto (attending Trinity College, where she would later become Provost 2002-2007) and a B.Phil. in Politics and D.Phil. (1974) at Oxford University (attending St Hilda's College and later St Antony's College, where she became Warden in 2007[1]). Her doctoral dissertation was on the social and political perspectives of the British in India. From 1975 to 2002, she was a professor of history at Ryerson University in Toronto, including five years as department chair.[5] She is the author of Women of the Raj, a selection of the "History Book Club". In addition to numerous articles and reviews on a variety of Canadian and world affairs, MacMillan has co-edited books dealing with Canada's international relations, including with NATO, and with Canadian-Australian relations.

From 1995 to 2003, MacMillan co-edited the International Journal, published by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. Since 1995, she has served as a member of the National Board of Directors of the CIIA. She was the Young Memorial Visitor at Royal Military College of Canada in 2004 and delivered the J.D. Young Memorial Lecture on November 24, 2004.[6]

MacMillan's research has focused on the British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and on international relations in the 20th century. Over the course of her career, she has taught a range of courses on the history of international relations. She sits on the European Advisory Board of Princeton University Press[7] and the Advisory Board of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation.

Recognition and honours

Her most successful work is Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War, also published as Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World. Peacemakers won the Duff Cooper Prize for outstanding literary work in the field of history, biography or politics; the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History; the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize for the best work of non-fiction published in the United Kingdom and the 2003 Governor General's Literary Award in Canada. MacMillan has served on the boards of the Canadian Institute for International Affairs, the Atlantic Council of Canada, the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Historica and the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy (Canada). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford and a Senior Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto. She has honorary degrees from the University of King's College, the Royal Military College of Canada and Ryerson University, Toronto.

She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in February 2006.[8] It was later upgraded to Companion of the Order of Canada on December 30, 2015, the highest grade of the honour.[9]

Articles and other media

MacMillan often appears in the popular and literary press, with a focus on events surrounding the First World War. Examples in 2014 include her retrospective trip to Sarajevo on the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand,[10][11] and interview wherein she saw similarities between then and 100 years before, remarked on the 2014 Crimean crisis and her perception that Vladimir Putin deplored Russia's place in contemporary politics, mentioned Iraq and the contention between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands, and promoted the diplomatic corps.[12]

In September 2013, she was interviewed upon the release of her book The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914,[13] and was invited to lecture at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History on "How Wars Start: The Outbreak of the First World War" near when she received an honorary doctorate from Huron College at the University of Western Ontario.[13] She perceived similar tensions then with the Syrian civil war and the events in Sarajevo.

MacMillan has written several op-eds for the New York Times. In December 2013, they abridged an essay of hers from the Brookings Institution,[14] in which she wrote that "Globalization can have the paradoxical effect of fostering intense localism and nativism, frightening people into taking refuge in small like-minded groups. Globalization also makes possible the widespread transmission of radical ideologies and the bringing together of fanatics who will stop at nothing in their quest for the perfect society", and urged Western leaders to "build a stable international order" based on "a moment of real danger" which would unite the population in "coalitions able and willing to act".[15]

On the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York, MacMillan wrote an essay on the consequences of the acts, in which she dismissed the power of Osama bin Laden and stressed the secular nature of the Arab Spring revolutions that deposed Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. She concluded with the sentence "We should not let that horror distract us from what did not happen afterward."[16]

In August 2014, MacMillan was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[17]


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 St Antony's College, University of Oxford, The Warden, retrieved 21 February 2008<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. University affairs: "The making of a best-seller" (January 2004),; accessed 2 April 2016.
  3. Profile of "David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor",; accessed 2 April 2016.
  4. MacMillan, Ann. "Why Mark Carney is Canada's 'Ryan Gosling' in the U.K." CBC. Retrieved 30 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Biography of Margaret Olwen MacMillan. Retrieved: 2007-07-14
  6. National Defence Canada. Prestigious author to be honoured at RMC. DND press release. Retrieved on: January 22, 2008
  7. Princeton University Press, European Advisory Board
  8. Governor General announces new appointments to the Order of Canada. Governor General of Canada. Retrieved: September 9, 2006
  9. "Order of Canada Appointments". The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. MacMillan, Margaret (27 June 2014). "Margaret MacMillan in Sarajevo, 100 years later". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. MacMillan, Margaret (27 June 2014). "The Archduke's assassination came close to being just another killing". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Scowen, Peter (22 March 2014). "Margaret MacMillan: How today is like the period before the First World War". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 Martin, Sandra (7 Sep 2013). "Historian Margaret MacMillan on what the 'war to end wars' can teach us". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. MacMillan, Margaret (14 Dec 2013). "The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 2015-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. MacMillan, Margaret (14 December 2013). "The Great War's Ominous Echoes". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Carter, Graydon; MacMillan, Margaret; Clarkson, Stephen; Stein, Janice; Graham, Bill (11 Sep 2011). "Essays on the unexpected consequences of 9/11". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
William Thomas Delworth
Provost of the University of Trinity College
Succeeded by
Andy Orchard
Preceded by
Sir Marrack Goulding
Warden of St Antony's College, Oxford