Mark W. Zacher


Died October 2014,Bowen Island, BC

College: Saybrook

Widow: Mrs. Carol M. Zacher
University of British Columbia
Inst. of Intl. Relations
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
604-822-6966 (Fax)

Children: Glenn, 1966; Nicole, 1970


ZACHER, Mark (1938 – 2014)

Mark passed away peacefully on October 25, 2014 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease; his family was by his side. Mark was predeceased by his parents Frank and Ruth. He will be dearly missed by his beloved wife Carol; his children Glenn (Nuria) and Nicole (Stefan); his grandchildren Max, Henry and Sam; his sister Sue; numerous extended family, friends and colleagues and a legion of former students. Mark was born in Boston, Massachusetts and he grew up in the US northeast where he attended university (Yale and Columbia) and became afflicted (until recently) with a lifelong affection for the Boston Red Sox. It was at Columbia in New York that Mark met Carol – then a grad student at Juilliard. Never having been to Canada, upon graduation they immediately decamped to the west coast where they happily lived the next five decades in Vancouver and on Bowen Island. Mark was a professor for almost 40 years in the political science department at UBC, 20 years of which he served as the Director of the Institute, International Relations. During this time, Mark made significant contributions to the scholarship of international affairs, however, it was through interactions with his colleagues and students that he made his most meaningful impact. Mark loved fraternizing with his colleagues and above all mentoring (and fraternizing) with his students. He took no greater pride than in the personal and professional successes of his students and it is a testament that many became amongst his closest friends (and often to their chagrin, co-authors). Following his retirement, many of Mark’s friends, colleagues and former students established and endowed a program – the UBC Mark Zacher Distinguished Speaker Series – to honour his contribution to the teaching, understanding and scholarship of international affairs. Mark was lastly a devoted and caring husband, father and grandfather. He was patient, kind and modest. He loved to tease and laugh – often at himself. He is missed terribly by Carol, his children and grandchildren, who will hold dearly to and be guided by his memory. The last five years have been an enormous challenge for Mark and Carol, but this has been eased by wonderful care from Suzana and staff at Crofton Manor and extraordinary devotion by truly special friends, colleagues and students, who have selflessly ministered to Mark and Carol during their time of need. Words cannot express what you have given. A Celebration of Mark’s Life will be held at Cecil Green Park House on the UBC campus at 5:00 p.m. on December 11, 2014. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Mark Zacher Distinguished Speaker Series by going to: http:// or the Parkinson Society Canada by going to:

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An important feature of my post-Yale activities is that its geographical base has been the University of British Columbia. I never thought that I would stay there for my entire career when I went there in 1965, but the lure of the setting and my close ties with colleagues proved to be stronger than I anticipated

There are a variety of developments that stand out in my memories of my post-1965 career. (I received my PhD from Columbia in 1966.) A central development is my activities as a scholar which produced about ten books and articles on the politics of international collaboration or institutions and institutions. These books included studies on international wars, norms governing violence, international trade, international shipping, telecommunications, air transport,marine protection, and global health. As a result of these activities I was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and the Board of Editors of International Organization—the leading journal in the fields of international political economy and institutions. And the directorship of the UBC Institute of International Relations for 20 years. I was often viewed as someone who adopted a “liberal” approach to international politics—that is to say a scholar who viewed the incentives for cooperation as particularly strong. For good or for ill this is not an unfair judgment.

One thing that I should highlight about my academic and social lives is the role of linkages to Britain. These ties go back my having an English Speaking Union fellowship in the year prior to my going to Yale. Since the beginning of my university life in 1966, I have spent a considerable amount of time in Britain. This has included three sabbaticals in London, Oxford and Cambridge.

The above comments have largely focused on scholarly involvements, but I want to highlight that I have enjoyed marvelous interactions with students. About half of my writings have been with former students, and I still interact with many of my former students. I was active in developing course programs and was director of the undergraduate international relations program for ten years.

I have continued to do some scholarly work since my retirement in 2003 –- particularly with regard to global health and the territorial integrity norm, but it has been increasingly limited by medical problems that my wife and I face. We are, however, very thankful for the lives that we have had.