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More than 100 diplomats registered for the 3rd Annual Welcome to Ottawa Orientation at Carleton University that provided information to facilitate professional and social integration of newly arrived diplomats and their families.  The orientation consisted of sessions on Canada’s parliamentary system; Canadian business and the private sector; the media and other sources of information and influence; and social and family Integration.

3rd Annual Orientation For Newly Arrived Diplomats – Event Summary

Paul Dewar, M.P., offered welcoming remarks in his role as Official Opposition Critic for International Affairs as well as a Member of Parliament for Ottawa. Diplomats particularly praised the session on Canada’s parliamentary system presented by the Clerk of the House of Commons, Audrey O’Brien, and Jean-Paul Ruszkowski, CEO of the Parliamentary Centre.  The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Andrew Scheer, spoke about his role as Speaker and parliamentary diplomacy, including his relationships with the diplomatic community.

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, offered insights into the Canadian economy and how to engage with Canadian businesses.

The panel moderated by Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute with participants Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa Vanier and director of the Parliamentary Centre; Anne McGrath, former chief of staff to NDP leaders Layton, Turmel and Mulcair; and James Baxter, publisher of Ipolitics offered practical advice on dealing with the media as well as their suggestions for good sources of information.

Dr. John Osborne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences opened the orientation and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson offered closing remarks.

Following the sessions, there was a lunch and resource fair that featured government and private organizations that provide services to diplomats in areas such as education, tourism, culture, recreation, social clubs, publications, volunteering and children’s issues. Participants included the City of Ottawa and City of Gatineau, Library of Parliament, Parent Resource Centre, National Arts Centre, the Ottawa Diplomatic Association, Rideau Hall, Volunteer Ottawa, Canadian Federation of University Women, Embassy Magazine and others.

The orientation was presented by the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement in association with the Ottawa Diplomatic Association and the Parliamentary Centre. It was free and open to newly arrived diplomats, diplomats who may have missed earlier orientation and spouses.

The program complemented an October 24, 2013 session at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development organized to provide information on Canadian governance and structure and access points of government departments and agencies.

PROGRAM

8:00    Registration and Coffee with the Deans of Carleton University

8:45    Introduction and Welcome on behalf of Carleton University

  • Dr. John Osborne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Maureen Boyd, Director, Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement

9:00    Session One: Canada’s Parliamentary System
Remarks:

  • Paul Dewar, M.P., Official Opposition Critic for International Affairs
  • Honourable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons

Presentation:

  • Audrey O’Brien, Clerk of the House of Commons
  • Jean-Paul Ruszkowski, CEO, Parliamentary Centre

Subjects:
Canadian government and parliamentary system; tracking of legislation
10:30    Coffee Break
11:00    Session Two: Effective Diplomacy in Ottawa – Best Practices
Moderator:

  • Colin Robertson, Vice President, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute

Panelists:

  • James Baxter, Publisher, Ipolitics
  • Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa Vanier and Director, Parliamentary Centre
  • Anne McGrath, former Chief of Staff to Official Opposition NDP leaders Layton, Turmel and Mulcair

Subjects:
diplomatic access points; media, provinces and other sources of influence; information resources; and public diplomacy goals
11:55    Session Three: Canadian Business

  • Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Subjects:
direction of the Canadian economy and challenges/opportunities for the coming year
12:20    Session Four: Social and Family Integration

  • His Excellency Bobby Samakai, High Commissioner of Zambia and President of Ottawa Diplomatic Association
  • Claire Marshall, Volunteer Ottawa

12:40    Orientation Closing Remarks:

  • Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
  • Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University

1:00    Buffet Lunch and Resource Fair
Resource Fair participants include the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau and other government and private organizations that provide services to diplomats in areas such as education, tourism, culture, recreation, public policy information, volunteering, and children’s issues
2:00    Orientation Ends

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