Biographical notes


Rajani Alexander (BA Hons [History], University of Delhi; MA [History], University of Notre Dame; PhD [History and Government], University of Notre Dame), was a researcher, a university instructor in Pacific, Asian and Gender Studies, an independent consultant and a manager of cooperative education programs before joining the public service of Canada in 1994. At the Canadian International Development Agency, Ms. Alexander was a senior adviser in the Gender Equality Division, a senior analyst in the Caribbean Program, and the director of results and accountability in the Geographic Programs Branch. At Global Affairs Canada’s Headquarters, she was senior director for the Pan-Africa Regional program. Abroad, Ms. Alexander served in Santiago, Dhaka, Tegucigalpa, and Chandigarh, India. Most recently, she was senior director and minister-counsellor (development) in Addis Ababa.

Nadia Burger (BA Hons [Political Science], McGill University, 1994; DES [International Relations], Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 1996) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1998. In Ottawa, among other assignments, she served as a policy adviser to the deputy minister of foreign affairs and as deputy director of the China and Mongolia Division. In 2007, she was appointed director of Cabinet and Parliamentary Affairs and subsequently served as director of Southeast Asia and Oceania Relations, director of Defence and Security Relations and director of European Union and European Free Trade Association Commercial Relations. Overseas, she was posted to the embassy in France in 1999, as part of the Moncton Francophonie Summit preparations, and to the embassy in China in 2002. In 2017, she became minister and deputy head of mission at the embassy in Japan.

Michael Callan (BA Hons [Political Studies], Queen’s University, 2000; MSc Econ [International Security], University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2002). Prior to joining Global Affairs Canada, Michael Callan served in the Canadian Armed Forces, and worked with the Aga Khan Foundation in Bangladesh, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Moscow. Upon joining the Canadian International Development Agency in 2004, Mr. Callan took on assignments with the Humanitarian Assistance Division and the Afghanistan Task Force. Abroad, Mr. Callan was Canada’s first civilian deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he served as director, development, for Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (2005 to 2006). His subsequent deployments included assignments as head of aid in Khartoum (2008 to 2010) and director, development, for the Middle East and North Africa in Cairo and Amman (2012 to 2016). He was seconded to the Privy Council Office (2016 to 2017) before taking up a fellowship with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University (2018). Most recently, Mr. Callan served as director of conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding (2019 to 2021).  In 2016 Mr. Callan was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for service rendered in Afghanistan.

Mark Fletcher (BA Hons [Political Studies], Trent University, 1989; MA [International Affairs], Carleton University, 1991) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1992. During his time at Headquarters, he was director of common services abroad (2004 to 2008), director general of the Representation Abroad Secretariat (2008 to 2010), executive director of the Assignments and Pool Management Division (2014 to 2017) and director general of the Locally Engaged Staff Bureau (2017 to 2021). From 1997 to 2001, he served in Halifax as a trade commissioner in the joint office of Industry Canada. His positions overseas have included a regional role based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where he served as regional counsellor and consul (1994 to 1996), and regional counsellor and consul, based in Budapest (2001 to 2004). His most recent assignment abroad was as minister-counsellor and consul-general in London.

Gregory Galligan (BA Hons [Political Studies and History], Queen’s University, 2002; MA [International Relations], King’s College London, 2004) joined Foreign Affairs Canada in 2005. At Headquarters, he has filled many roles, including deputy director responsible for Iran and Iraq in the Gulf States Relations Division (2014 to 2015) and acting director general for public affairs (2017 to 2018). Overseas, he has served as deputy director with the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar, Afghanistan, (2010 to 2011) and as Canada’s exchange officer to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2011 to 2013). Most recently, he served as Canada’s executive coordinator for Syria, based in Beirut.

Alan W. Hamson (BA Hons [Political Science], McGill University, 2004; LLM [International Law], University of London, 2012; MPA [Public Administration], Royal Military College, 2014) joined Foreign Affairs Canada in 2004. In Ottawa, he has worked in the Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs, and International Gender Equality Division (2004 to 2005), in the National Security Branch of the Privy Council Office (2013 to 2015) and as director of strategic planning and coordination in the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (2016 to 2021). His overseas assignments have included postings in Beijing (2006 to 2009), at the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar, Afghanistan, (2009 to 2010) and in Kabul, Afghanistan (2010 to 2012). He was also Canada’s ambassador to South Sudan (2016 to 2018). Additionally, he undertook a short assignment at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York (2005) and served with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Cali, Colombia (2015 to 2016). He is a graduate of the National Security Programme at Canadian Forces College.

Patrick Hébert (BA [Political Science], Laval University, 1994; MA [Political Science], Laval University, 1996) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1998. At Headquarters, he was acting director of the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response Group; he was deputy director in this unit from 2010 to 2011, when it was coordinating Canada’s responses to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and the tsunami in Japan in 2011. He worked in the Defence and Security Relations Division from 2003 to 2006 and was responsible for Asia and the Americas. He first served abroad at the Embassy to France from 2000 to 2003. He served as political counsellor at the Embassy to Serbia from 2006 to 2009 and at the Embassy to Sweden from 2011 to 2016. Most recently, Mr. Hébert served as political, economic and public affairs counsellor at the Embassy to South Korea.

Lee-Anne Hermann (BCom Hons [Finance], Queen’s University, 1990; MBA [International Business], Vienna University of Economics and Business, 1993; Post-graduate Diploma [International Relations], Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, 1994) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1994. During her time at Headquarters, Ms. Hermann has been deputy director responsible for such diverse files as circumpolar affairs, international education and Eastern and Southeastern European commercial relations, as well as chief of staff for the 2010 G8 and G20 summits. Ms. Hermann was posted as second secretary in Zimbabwe (1997 to 1999); first secretary, investment, in Germany (1999 to 2003); and political counsellor in Côte d’Ivoire (2006 to 2008). She also opened Canada’s first permanent representation in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (2015 to 2018) as chargé d’affaires and head of office. Most recently, she served as consul and senior trade commissioner in Düsseldorf, Germany (2019 to 2021).

Diedrah Kelly (BA Hons [Political Science and Central, Eastern European and Russian Area Studies], Carleton University, 2001), joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2001. In Ottawa, she has worked as head of the Policy and Programming Unit in the Threat Assessment and Intelligence Services Division, as senior nuclear adviser and program manager in the Global Partnership Program and as chief of staff to the assistant deputy minister for international security and global affairs. She has served abroad in various positions, including, from 2004 to 2007, consul and political counsellor at the Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina and, from 2007 to 2010, as head of the embassy office in Astana. From 2011 to 2014, she was the political counsellor at the High Commission in Ghana. In 2018, she was appointed ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Troy Lulashnyk (BA [Political Science], University of Winnipeg, 1992; MA [Political Studies], University of Manitoba, 1995) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1999. At Headquarters, he has held the position of director of the Global Partnership Program, where he helped manage the Cold War legacy of weapons and materials of mass destruction and related expertise in the former Soviet Union (2002 to 2006). He has also served as director general of the Non-Proliferation and Security Threat Reduction Bureau, responsible for international security programming related to threat reduction, counterterrorism and combatting international criminal activity (2006 to 2011) and as director general of the Israel, West Bank and Gaza, Egypt and Maghreb Bureau (2017 to 2021). Abroad, he served as Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine from 2011 to 2014. From 2014 to 2017, he served as Canada’s ambassador to Egypt.

Cameron MacKay (BA [Economics and Industrial Relations], McGill University, 1990; MES, York University, 1996) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1995. At Headquarters, he served as director of regional trade policy from 2008 to 2010, director general for China trade policy from 2012 to 2013, director general of the Trade Negotiations Bureau from 2013 to 2015 and director general of the Trade Sectors Bureau from 2015 to 2017. Most recently in Ottawa, he served as director of operations at the Privy Council Office’s Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat. Abroad, he served at Canada’s permanent mission in Geneva from 2001 to 2006, as Canada’s ambassador to Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua from 2010 to 2012 and as Canada’s ambassador to Indonesia and Timor-Leste from 2019 to 2021.

Lilly Nicholls (BA Hons [Political Science and Sociology], Carleton University, 1987; MA [International Political Economy], York University, 1989; PhD [International Development], London School of Economics, 1998) has 30 years of experience in international affairs. Her career has spanned 6 continents and includes leadership roles in government, international organizations and civil society. She has worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Central America and in New York, and she advised civil society networks on global poverty reduction and gender equality before joining the Canadian International Development Agency as a senior economist in 1999. She was a deputy director in the Andes Division (2001 to 2005), head of cooperation in Cuba (2005 to 2007), director of planning in the Afghanistan Task Force (2007 to 2010), and director of Mainland Southeast Asia (2010 to 2013). From 2015 to 2018, she contributed to the consultations on, and the formulation of, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. She served as ambassador of Canada to Panama from 2018 to 2021.

Benoit Préfontaine (BSc [Economics], University of Montréal, 1983; MA [Economics], University of Ottawa, 1985) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1987. At Headquarters, Mr. Préfontaine worked in the Defence Programs Bureau, Overseas Division (1987 to 1988) and the Export Finance Division (1991 to 1993); and he was deputy director of the South Asia Division (1999 to 2001); director of the Aerospace, Automotive, Defence and Information and Communications Technologies Division (2008 to 2011); and deputy inspector general and director of the Mission Inspection Division (2014 to 2017). Abroad, he worked in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, (1988 to 1991) and served as consul and trade commissioner in Fukuoka, Japan (1995 to 1999); senior trade commissioner responsible for India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka in New Delhi (2001 to 2004); counsellor (commercial-economic) in Tokyo (2004 to 2008); and senior trade commissioner for Brazil, based in São Paulo (2011 to 2014). Most recently, he was high commissioner in Bangladesh (2017 to 2021).

Wayne Robson (BA, University of British Columbia, 1989; MComLaw, Deakin University, 2013; Graduate Diploma, University of London, 2015) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1991. In Canada, Mr. Robson has held a number of positions, including executive director of the Multi-Sectors Division and director of the International Trade Finance Division, both in Ottawa, and regional director of the Vancouver Regional Office. He has served abroad in Tokyo and Canberra and as minister-counsellor and senior trade commissioner in Seoul and Mexico City. Mr. Robson has also served as consul general in Ho Chi Minh City. Most recently, Mr. Robson was consul and senior trade commissioner in Chicago.

Reid Sirrs (BA, University of Western Ontario, 1985) joined the federal government in 1998. He held several positions at the Canadian International Development Agency, initially serving in the Industrial Cooperation Program, then as director of decentralization and director general of international operations. At Global Affairs Canada, he has been director general of security and emergency management, chief security officer and acting assistant deputy minister of the Consular, Security and Emergency Management Branch. Overseas, he has served as head of office and head of cooperation in Honduras (2002 to 2006); as director and head of cooperation in Tanzania, the Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles (2006 to 2009); and as deputy head of mission in Afghanistan (2014 to 2015), where he became ambassador in 2020. Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. Sirrs worked on trade and investment matters with Nova Scotia’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism, at the Canadian Exporters Association, at the Alliance of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and in the private sector.

Christopher Thornley (BA, University of Victoria, 1983; MPA, Dalhousie University, 1985) began his career with the Government of Nova Scotia in the field of international market development before joining the Canadian foreign service. At Headquarters, he has served in numerous assignments, including as deputy director responsible for bilateral relations with India, director of the Southeast Asia and Pacific Division and director of foreign service assignments. He has also served as a director and acting director general in the Markets and Industry Services Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. His first posting overseas was to Stockholm, followed by an assignment to the Consulate General in Boston. From 1999 to 2002, he headed the Consulate General in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He was ambassador to the Philippines from 2010 to 2013 and high commissioner in Ghana from 2013 to 2016 and in Nigeria from 2016 to 2018. Most recently, in Ottawa, he was director general, regional trade operations and intergovernmental relations.

Patrick Wittmann (BA Hons [History and Political Science], University of Toronto, 1989; MPhil [International Relations], University of Oxford, 1991) worked as a special assistant to the head of the UN peacekeeping operation in Mozambique before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1995. During his time at Headquarters, he was the director of the UN and Commonwealth Affairs Division and of the International Defence Relations Division. He also served as the first Canadian political adviser at the North American Aerospace Defence Command in Colorado. Most recently, he was assistant secretary to the Cabinet, foreign and defence policy, at the Privy Council Office.

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