On January 18th CIC National Capital Branch hosted the event, New Challenges of Consular Affairs in an Increasingly Dangerous World.
Given the sheer numbers of Canadians living overseas (2.8 million), or travelling in and out of danger zones (subject to mishap, traffic accidents, natural disaster, theft, assault, arrest by foreign governments, kidnapping or murder), consular issues, and how they are handled, are of direct concern to all of us who travel, or who have loved ones who live, work or travel abroad. Are our expectations of government consular services too high or not high enough?
Bios of the panelists:
Rick Kohler: Foreign Service veteran. Served in France, Australia, Brazil, US, Thailand, Romania. Former Chief of Protocol of Canada, and former President of the Retired Heads of Mission Association. Featured (along with Gar Pardy) in the new bestseller, Declassified, excerpts from the personal notebooks of former Canadian diplomats. Tireless world traveller and life-long student of learning (currently studying at Carleton).
Alex Neve: Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada since January 2000. Also served with numerous Amnesty International missions throughout Africa and the Americas. Globally recognized expert in human rights, refugee and immigration law. Named to the Order of Canada in 2007. Co-author with Mohamed Fahmy of 2016 proposed Charter to protect the human rights of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and others with close Canadian connections, who are imprisoned abroad.
Gar Pardy: Leading expert on government services to citizens in foreign countries. Unparalleled experience in headquarters (11 years as Canada’s Director General for Consular Services) and in the field in the US, Central America, Kenya and India. Published ‘Afterwords From a Foreign Service Odyssey’ in 2015. Last year, proposed a comprehensive policy and legislative agenda for the reform of services for Canadians overseas (available on websites of the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).
John Noble (moderator): He is deeply familiar with consular issues, having held positions as Ambassador to Switzerland, Ambassador to Greece, as Minister to France and Consul General to Monaco, and having also served Canadians abroad in Senegal, Turkey, England and Geneva. In Ottawa, he held many high level foreign relations-related positions. He is also a Past President of the CIC National Capital Branch.