APF Canada Congratulates Distinguished Fellow Emeritus Pitman Potter on His Order of Canada Appointment

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) congratulates Pitman B. Potter, Distinguished Fellow Emeritus, APF Canada, and Emeritus Professor, Allard School of Law, University of B.C., on his appointment to the Order of Canada.

Dr. Potter, whose research explores law and policy related to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, including human rights, foreign trade and investment, business regulation, and dispute settlement, was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada “for his precedent-setting scholarship in the field of Chinese legal studies, and for his dedication and service to his community.” Dr. Potter was one of 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada made by Her Excellency the Right Hon. Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, on December 29, 2022.

Ptiman Potter headshotPrior to his retirement from the University of B.C. in 2020, Dr. Potter served in various roles at UBC’s Allard School of Law, including as Director of Chinese Legal Studies, Director of Asian Legal Studies, Director of the Graduate Program, and Associate Dean. Dr. Potter also served as Director of UBC’s Institute of Asian Research (1999-2008) and held its HSBC Chair in Asian Research (1999- 2016). 

“On behalf of our entire Board and staff at the Foundation, I extend my sincerest congratulations to our long-time friend Pitman Potter on his well-deserved appointment to the Order of Canada,” said Jeff Nankivell, President and CEO of APF Canada. “Dr. Potter’s thoughtful, balanced, and collaborative approach to some of the most challenging legal issues and policy dilemmas of our times – including those related to the rapid rise and transformation of China – has informed the development of laws and policies that balance principles with practicality and ultimately advance our national interests in a changing world. We thank Dr. Potter for his contributions and service to Canada and Canadians.”  

An internationally acclaimed expert whose work has led to significant legal reform and policy advancements in Canada and throughout Asia, Dr. Potter’s research at home has supported integrated approaches to trade and human rights; in Asia, it has touched on issues ranging from food-security law and education systems in rural India to housing policies in urban China.

Dr. Potter has published numerous books and essays on China law and policy, including his latest book, Exporting Virtue? China’s International Human Rights Activism in the Age of Xi Jinping (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2021), which examines the challenges that China’s human rights doctrine poses to international norms and institutions and makes recommendations for effective policy responses.

Outside of academia, Dr. Potter has served as a business law consultant, chartered trade and investment dispute arbitrator, and director of the Canada-China Business Council. He is an ordained Deacon (ret.) in the Anglican Church and is active in local service ministries to the homeless and needy in Metro Vancouver.

“I am of course delighted, but also humbled to be invited into the company of prominent Canadians that comprise the Order of Canada,” said Dr. Potter, in a shared statement issued through Allard Law. “Such recognition is tremendously gratifying, but at the end of the day my work has been its own reward. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to devote my academic career to the study of China – particularly China law and policy – and have been particularly privileged to collaborate with a wonderful community of colleagues at UBC, across Canada, and internationally.”

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Click here to view the full list of new appointments.

With additional biographical information from the Peter A. Allard School of Law (UBC)