I joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 2004, and over the last 15 years I have been travelling and working around the world, with a specific focus on the Middle East. Please see my education and my work experience.
Mid-way through my career, I can look back and say that I have witnessed many historical events first hand.
2004 UKRAINIAN ORANGE REVOLUTION
My first foreign assignment for Canada was in 2004, when I was deployed as a Canadian election monitor for the 2004 Ukrainian Presidential elections during the Orange Revolution. I remember vividly standing in Maidan Square with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians celebrating the election results on December 25.
2006 LEBANON WAR
Two years later, in 2006 I spent six months as a political officer on a temporary assignment in Syria and Lebanon during the July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Over the course of the month-long conflict Canada evacuated over 15,000 Canadians from Lebanon.
2011 ARAB SPRING
In 2008, I returned to Damascus, Syria, for a three-year posting at the Canadian Embassy to Syria, with cross-accreditation to Lebanon and Iraq. In March 2011, popular protests erupted in Syria and later mutated into a violent civil conflict. It was a dramatic period in the early days of 20011 as we watched for signs to see if the Arab Spring spreading from Tunisia would reach Syria.
In 2013, I began my second posting with a four year assignment in Doha, Qatar, with the Embassy of Canada to Qatar, including cross-accreditation to Iraq, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
2014 FALL OF MOSUL
In the summer of 2014, Iraq's second largest city Mosul fell to armed fighters of Da'esh. On August 17, 2014, I arrived in Erbil to support Canada's early response to the crisis. The front line with Da'esh was only 20 km from the hotel where the office of the Canadian Embassy was located. For the following 18 months, I spent most of assignment travelling in and out of Iraq as Canada's participation in the Coalition Against Da'esh and the NATO Mission to Iraq grew.
In 2016, I deployed from Doha to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to support the Canadian High Commission following a particularly gruesome terrorist attack over the summer in a cafe located 500 meters from our diplomatic compound.
2017 GULF RIFT
In 2017, during the last few months of my time in Doha, the Gulf rift between Qatar and its neighbours (Saudi Arabia, The UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt) erupted. Food in the supermarkets disappeared over night in Doha as citizens and expats stockpiled supplies in fear of a possible escalation. The rift undermined relations within the Gulf Cooperation Council which remain today.
25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF MEDAK POCKET
In 2018, I spent eight months on a temporary assignment covering Croatia and the Western Balkans. I travelled non-stop through Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania. This is a beautiful part of Southern Europe and I had the joy seeing the region by accompanying a Wounded Warriors of Canada bike ride for Canadian peacekeeping veterans deployed in the 1990s during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Over seven days, and after 600 km we reached our destination to commemorate the 1993 Battle of Medak Pocket, which saw Canadian UN Peacekeepers come under a barrage of fire. I ended my assignment as an OSCE election observer for the 2018 October Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
2019 OCTOBER POPULAR PROTESTS IN IRAQ
In 2019, I returned to the Gulf for an assignment with the Embassy of Canada to Kuwait and with accreditation to Iraq. Once again, my overseas work brought me back to Baghdad and Erbil. My first trip to Iraq at the end of September and the beginning of October saw renewed popular protests in Baghdad and across the south of the country.
2020 PANDEMIC LOCK DOWN IN KUWAIT
One year into my Kuwait assignment has seen the rise of the 2020 global COVID 19 pandemic. After three months of a lockdown and partial curfew, life is starting to resume, but the impact is likely to change our everyday life as social distancing becomes a new way of life, as Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, WhatsApp and other social media becomes our primary mode of communication.