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Putting the X in External Affairs. Again.

Putting the X in External Affairs. A revised list of top Canadian women in honour of International Women’s Day.

By: /
8 March, 2012
By: Anouk Dey
Former deputy editor of

In honour of International Women’s Day, I re-posted a list I wrote in November of the top Canadian women in international affairs. Shortly thereafter, I was reminded that foreign policy in Canada has more hips than I had admitted. Thanks to all those who tweeted recommendations. The revised list is still an awkward number, though – so please continue to tweet suggestions to @anoukdey.

  • Sally Armstrong, journalist and member of the UN’s International Women’s Commission: If Thatcher made feminist foreign policy unpopular, Armstrong is bringing it back.

  • Louise Arbour, International Crisis Group: The Canadian with the biggest impact on human rights is not a bachelor.  

  • Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Former president of Google’s Asia-Pacific and Latin America operations, Singh Cassidy is Canada’s Sheryl Sandberg. 

  • Lyse Doucet, BBC: The Canadian government may have had little role in the Egyptian Revolution, but, for many people around the world, the voice of the Arab Spring had a Canadian accent.

Watch OpenCanada’s interview with Lyse Doucet about reporting from Tahrir.

  • Chrystia Freeland, Thomson-Reuters: If you buy Freeland’s argument that Bill Gates and Peter Munk have more power than Stephen Harper and John Baird, then don’t underestimate the power of the woman who keeps the pulse of the global elite.

Watch Chrystia Freeland’s interview with CIC Globalist of the Year Naguib Sawiris.

  • Elissa Golberg, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations: A Canadian woman has Ban Ki-moon’s ear.

  • Moya Greene, Royal Mail: Delivering Canada’s message to her international audience.

  • Naomi Klein, author: Occupy Wall Street has a Bay Street (Dundas West?) leader.

  • Margaret MacMillan, University of Oxford: One woman changed the way we think about the three men who shaped the post-WWI peace.

Read Margaret MacMillan’s answer to the question, “Can Diplomacy be Transparent?”

  • Barbara McDougall, International Development Research Centre: The woman with the most influence on Canada’s international development efforts would not let “not” slip by her.

  • Marie-Lucie Morin, World Bank: In the war between the U.S. dollar and the yuan, Morin holds the loonie.

  • Stephanie NolenThe Globe and Mail: Whether in Afghanistan, the Congo, Iraq, Rwanda, or South Africa, Nolen keeps Canada’s internationalist brand alive.

  • Samantha Nutt, War Child Canada: For too long, three baritone voices have dominated the global conversation about development. With Damned Nations, a Canadian soprano joins the ranks of Easterly, Sachs, and Collier.

  • Michelle Shephard, author: Perhaps the only Canadian to fly to Gitmo more than 24 times is a woman. 

  • Janice Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs: When something happens in the world, it’s pretty neat that Steve Paikin and Peter Mansbridge look to the Munk School’s leading lady for answers.  

See Janice Stein’s Rapid Response on John Baird’s priorities.

  • Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University: The first woman to hold the post of President at Princeton – and Canada’s favourite tiger.

  • Jennifer Welsh, The University of Oxford: Showing Canadian women how to be at home in the world.

Read Jennifer Welsh’s latest contribution to the Roundtable blog.

Photo courtesy Reuters.

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Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

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