Biographical notes

Backgrounder

Lilian Chatterjee (BJ Hons [Journalism], Carleton University, 1980; MA, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, 1985) started her career as a journalist, and then worked at the House of Commons and subsequently for several international non-governmental organizations. She joined the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 2003. Ms. Chatterjee served as director general in both CIDA and Global Affairs Canada. Most recently, she served as high commissioner in Guyana, with concurrent accreditation as ambassador to Suriname and plenipotentiary representative of Canada to the Caribbean Community.

Rodger Cuzner (BA [Human Kinetics], St. Francis Xavier University) was first elected to the House of Commons in November 2000 as the member of Parliament for Bras d’or—Cape Breton. He was re-elected in 5 subsequent elections before his recent retirement in October 2019. During his 19 years in Ottawa, Mr. Cuzner served in several roles, including parliamentary secretary to former prime minister Jean Chrétien, chief opposition whip and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. In his early years in Parliament, Mr. Cuzner focused on matters surrounding both veterans affairs and fisheries and oceans. More recently, much of his attention was directed toward workforce development and national labour issues. As an elected official representing the iconic northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, he worked with community and industry to build and mature the tourism sector. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Cuzner worked in the private sector as senior adviser at Rubicon Strategy in Ottawa. A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, Rodger grew up in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.

Wendy Drukier (BA Hons [Politics, Economics], Queen’s University, 1990; MA, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, 1994) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1997. Her first posting abroad was at the embassy in Buenos Aires (1999 to 2002). She then served as political counsellor in Bogotá (2007 to 2009) and at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. (2010 to 2012), where she was also director of the department’s Hemispheric Affairs Division. From 2012 to 2015, she served as ambassador to Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. During her time at Headquarters, she has held a number of positions, including deputy director in the Stabilization and Reconstruction Programs Division and director general, international organizations. Most recently, she served as director general, economic development.

Alain Gendron (BA [Economics], Sherbrooke University, 1986) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1992. Overseas, he was assigned to the high commission in Singapore (1995 to 1998) as third secretary and trade commissioner and to the embassy in Beijing (2002 to 2005) as second secretary and trade commissioner. He served as deputy consul general and senior trade commissioner at the consulate general in Shanghai (2005 to 2008). At Headquarters, he has held several director positions, including in the Africa Commercial Relations Division (2008 to 2010), Northeast Asia Division (2010 to 2014), Systems and Analysis Division for the Trade Commissioner Service (2014 to 2016) and the Cabinet and Parliamentary Affairs Division (2016 to 2017). Most recently, Mr. Gendron was the director of the Europe Bilateral and Advocacy Division.

Benoît-Pierre Laramée (BSc [Geological Engineering], Montréal Polytechnic, 1979; DESS [Energy Sector Management], HEC Montréal, 1988; MSc [Project Management], University of Quebec at Montréal, 1990) spent nearly 10 years working as a geophysicist in Canada and Senegal before joining the City of Montréal and then, working in Guinea and Mali, the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation. He joined the Canadian International Development Agency in 2000, working until 2004 in Port-au-Prince, where he held 2 director positions. In 2004, he returned to Ottawa to become manager of the Results-Based Management Unit, a position he held until 2007, at which time he was appointed senior departmental assistant to the minister. From 2008 to 2011, he was director of the Inter-American Regional Program. He was high commissioner in Cameroon from 2011 to 2015 and served as high commissioner in Bangladesh from 2015 to 2017. Mr. Laramée served most recently as minister-counsellor in Bridgetown, where he was simultaneously senior director of the Caribbean Development Program and Canadian director at the Caribbean Development Bank.

Isabelle Valois (BA Specialist/Hons [International Development], University of Toronto, 1992) began her international career in Colombia and in Malawi; in the latter, she was program associate with UNICEF Malawi through the World University Service of Canada. She then worked for another 12 years in the non-governmental sector. In 2004, she joined the Canadian International Development Agency, where she held several positions in the Middle East and North Africa bureaus, including chief of operations, Middle East. From 2009 to 2011, she served as head of development cooperation at the Embassy to Jordan and Iraq. While there, she was also the director of the Regional Human Rights and Peacebuilding Fund (2008 to 2010). From 2011 to 2016, she served as head of development cooperation at the Embassy to Morocco. Most recently at Headquarters, in 2016, Ms. Valois became director for global citizens.

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