John HannafordAlan Kessel, Legal Adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, calls John Hannaford, LLB 1993, a Renaissance man and a shining example of growing expertise in public international law.  There's more than legal talent required to navigate the “very complex matrix” that is Foreign Affairs, says Kessel.  “We deal in five dimensions, not just two.  So we need people who have the skills and capacities to adapt well-and John is one of them.”

Kessel points to Hannaford's expertise in trade law and dexterity at United Nations-related legal issues.  But it was Hannaford's Arctic knowledge that was key to his appointment as Canada’s Ambassador to Norway in 2009, says Kessel, because of “the issues of Arctic sovereignty, the extension of the Canadian continental shelf, the growing interest in all that the Arctic represents - not only in our domestic world, but also our in foreign policy, where it's a high-priority issue on the Canadian agenda.”  Hannaford also manages Canada's Arctic office in Oslo.

Before his appointment as Ambassador, Hannaford was Deputy Legal Adviser and Director General of the Legal Bureau of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. He has been counsel in proceedings before the International Court of Justice, and concerning the agreements of the World Trade Organisation, and has been a policy advisor in disputes under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Hannaford is co-author of Investment Disputes Under NAFTA: An Annotated Guide to NAFTA Chapter 11 published in 2006 by Kluwer International (together with Meg Kinnear and Andrea K. Bjorklund) and has been a Part-Time Professor of the Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) at the University of Ottawa.

He graduated from Queen’s University at Kingston with a Bachelor of Arts (First Class) in history.  Following receipt of a masters degree in international relations at the London School of Economics, he completed a law degree at the University of Toronto and clerked for Chief Justice Charles Dubin and the Justices of the Ontario Court of Appeal.  

Hannaford “was always interested in ideas, interested in people and interested in making a contribution - important qualities of an ambassador,” says UBC law professor Douglas Harris, LLB 1993, (and Hannaford's roommate at law school).  He has much to contribute “in terms of Canada's foreign policy, to Canada's position in international law and to Canada's presence on an international stage.”

Adapted from "John Hannaford: Arctic Circle diplomat" in Nexus, Fall/Winter 2010 .