The Decade Dozen

From the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of Nexus.

John Hannaford

An ambassadorship requires the ultimate in diplomacy, but after a year in Oslo, John Hannaford, LLB 1993, states unequivocally that when it comes to salmon, he still prefers the Canadian version.  Looking after Canada's interests abroad, after all, is key to his diplomatic work as Canada's ambassador to Norway.

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

Alan Kessel, assistant deputy minister for legal affairs in the department of foreign affairs and international trade, calls Hannaford a renaissance man, and doesn't hesitate to explain why.  "He is one of the shining examples of growing expertise in public international law."

Kessel points to Hannaford's expertise in trade law, "which is extremely important for Canada in terms of litigation with respect to NAFTA and the World Trade Organization," and dexterity at United Nations-related legal issues.

But it was Hannaford's Arctic knowledge that was key to his appointment 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," explains Kessel.  "He is also managing Canada's Arctic office in Oslo, which provides an eye on the Arctic from the Nordic countries."
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."

Story: Lucianna Ciccocioppo

Photo: Jeff Kirk

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