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CIC Saskatoon: How Democracy Dies: Lessons Canadians Can Draw from Venezuela and the United States

May 23, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm EDT

Free – $30

As Ambassador to Venezuela from 2014 to 2017, Ben Rowswell witnessed the unravelling of the constitutional order in that country. While less advanced, similar trends are now observable in the U.S. Rowswell will draw his experiences in both countries to identify warning signs for the health of Canadian democracy and what individual citizens can do can prevent the onset of populist misrule, whether of the left or the right.

Speaker’s Biography
Ben Rowswell has 25 years of experience as a practitioner of international relations. He earned his expertise in international security serving with the United Nations in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993, as Canada’s first diplomatic envoy to Baghdad, Iraq, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and as the head of the NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar at the height of Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan.vic

Ben has advised top levels of government on international strategy in the Privy Council Office during the tenures of Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper, and at the Washington DC Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2003 to 2004.

But his abiding passion is the defence of human rights and democracy. He established the Democracy Unit of Global Affairs Canada, worked closely with human rights movements as a political officer in the Canadian Embassy to Egypt, and most recently as Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela from 2014 to 2017.

Throughout his career, Ben has sought to engage citizens in the practice of international relations. After a fellowship at Stanford University that introduced him to the powerful role that individuals can play in global affairs, he pioneered the practice of digital diplomacy at Global Affairs Canada. This same passion led him to join Farhaan Ladhani in founding software startup called Betterplace, which tailors opportunities for citizens to engage in civic action through a mobile app.

Ben was appointed President and Research Director of the Canadian International Council on November 19, 2018.


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CIC Saskatoon Branch