CIC Montreal Branch Leadership Biographies

Marie Lamensch

Branch President

Marie Lamensch is the project coordinator at The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University.

Born in Belgium, Marie has lived in Germany, France, Canada and the UK. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in History (specialization Genocide studies) at Montreal’s Concordia University, Marie volunteered in Ghana and Rwanda for several months where she also conducted research on reconciliation in Rwanda. She has Master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development at King’s College London.

Marie started collaborating with MIGS in 2008, monitoring domestic media for hate. As a project coordinator she co-manages MIGS’ numerous activities and projects, and she is in charge of the institute’s communication. She regularly participates in national and international conferences and gives interviews to the media.

Her interests are mass atrocity prevention, foreign affairs, national and international security, and violent extremism. More particularly, she conducts research on women, violent extremism, and the role of women in non-state armed groups.
Marie also writes for the Huffington Post Quebec and is the Foreign Affairs Editor at The Mantle. She is also the president of the Canadian International Council’s Montreal Branch.

Kyle Matthews

Director-at-Large

Kyle Matthews is the Executive Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University. He joined MIGS as Lead Researcher of the Will to Intervene Project in 2008 and was appointed Senior Deputy Director in 2011. At Concordia he founded the Raoul Wallenberg Legacy of Leadership project as well as the Digital Mass Atrocity Preventing Lab, which works to counter online extremism and study how social media platforms are being used as a weapon of war.

His work focuses on human rights, international security, the Responsibility to Protect, global threats, and social media and technology, and global cities. He works closely with the Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and has advised Members of Parliament on issues related to international peace and security. He previously worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where he was posted to the Southern Caucasus (Tbilisi), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and Switzerland (Geneva). Prior to that he worked for CARE Canada in Albania and later at its headquarters in Ottawa, where he managed various humanitarian response initiatives and peace-building projects in Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

In 2011 he joined the New Leaders program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab, a member of the BMW Foundation’s Global Responsible Leaders, and recently joined the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s advisory board on transatlantic cooperation for atrocity prevention. He is active member of the University Club of Montreal, the Montreal Press Club, the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, the Canadian International Council and the Federal Idea, a think tank devoted to federalism. He is currently a Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Global Affairs and a Research Fellow at the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crises and Aid.

Kent Hovey Smith

Director-at-Large

Kent is a founder and the Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Tidal Health Solutions, a medical cannabis company. He is a communications specialist with over 25 years’ experience in marketing and communications.

Kent is member of the Board of  Directors of Chez Doris, a woman’s shelter in Montreal, Quebec. He also serves on the Council of the University Club of Montreal and as an advisor to a number of charitable organizations and causes.

Kent served as Senior Director of Public Affairs and member of the executive team for Japan, Australia and Emerging Markets with Biogen, one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. He was previously Managing Director of FTI Consulting Strategic Communications for Canada, and also served as Director of Communications and a member of the Executive Committee at Schering-Plough Canada.

Mr. Hovey-Smith has a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and a Master’s degree in European Public Relations from Leeds Beckett University, in Leeds, UK.

Throughout his career Mr. Hovey-Smith has served with numerous community organizations, including as Chair of Network Canada in the UK, a member of the Board of Directors of West Island Community Shares on Montreal’s West Island and on the Advisory Board for the Department of Communications Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Mélanie Devirieux

Director-at-Large

Mélanie Devirieux is a Director, in Consulting for the Technology Strategy and Architecture practice at Deloitte. Perfectly bilingual, she specializes in IT strategy, IT audit, IT process optimization and project management. Prior to joining Deloitte, she was Senior Policy Advisor for provincial ministries such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Transportation and Metropolitan region Secretariat. She began her career as an economic analyst at the National Assembly in Quebec and as a research assistant at McGill University and the Université de Montréal. Mélanie graduated from McGill University and the London School of Economics. Based in Montreal, she is involved on the board of directors or as a volunteer in several organizations related to international and Canadian politics, the place of women in society and culture.

Diana Nicholson

Director-at-Large

After graduating from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Diana joined USIA (the United States Information Agency – not to be confused with the CIA -) as a journalist and assistant editor for the French Africa Press Division. In one way or another, she has ever since devoted her professional career and personal activities to aspects of communications in multi-lingual, multi-cultural and international environments.

From Expo 67 to Transport Canada’s Mirabel Airport Project Office, and throughout her subsequent consulting career, she has revelled in highly focused and often controversial projects of international significance.

Since 1999, she has held a series of contracts with IATA, the International Air Transport Association. Starting in the Corporate Communications office, she moved to the Aviation Training and Development Institute (ATDI) as Communications Consultant. In November 2001, she was named Content Manager for the new IATA Web site, which was successfully launched at the IATA Annual General Assembly in Shanghai in June 2002.

Along the way, Diana has carried out highly varied consulting assignments. Meanwhile, for more than 20 years, Diana has co-hosted the Wednesday Night Salon, which she co-founded with her husband, David. The weekly gathering of individuals from all professional backgrounds is devoted to informed discussion, blending wit and wisdom, devoted to understanding and sometimes resolution of public affairs issues.

Malcolm Olafson

Director-at-Large

Malcolm Olafson is a long time member of the CIC and the CIIA in Toronto and Montréal. He is retired from Bell in a career information technology. In the 1990s he worked in Sierra Leone with the WFP and UNHCR.