Representing 60 countries, more than 135 newly arrived Ambassadors, High Commissioners, deputy heads of mission, military attaches and other members of the diplomatic community registered for the 6th Annual Orientation for Newly Arrived Diplomats at Carleton University’s River Building on Thursday September 22, 2016.

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.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Geoff Regan, opened the session on Understanding Canada’s Parliamentary System with a discussion of his role as Speaker and of parliamentary diplomacy, including his relationship with the diplomatic community. Diplomats particularly praised the session on Canada’s parliamentary system presented by the Clerk Assistant of the House of Commons, Beverley Isles.

Maureen Boyd, Director of the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement, moderated a panel with three Members of Parliament: Andrew Leslie, M.P. for Orleans and Chief Government Whip, Randy Hoback, M.P. for Prince Albert and vice-chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade, and Hélène Laverdière, M.P. for Laurier–Sainte-Marie and NDP critic for foreign affairs.

The panel moderated by Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute with participants James Baxter, publisher of Ipolitics; Susan Delacourt, author, columnist and instructor with the Carleton School of Journalism; and Kristen Shane, managing editor of The Hill Times offered practical advice on dealing with parliamentarians, media, and lobbyists as well as their suggestions for good sources of information.

The CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty, delivered a presentation on the Canadian economy and investing in Canada as well as how to engage with Canadian businesses.

His Excellency Naif Bin Bandir AlSudairy, Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and President of the Ottawa Diplomatic Association, informed the new diplomats of the role that the Association plays in the diplomatic community and invited them to join.

Rosemary Thompson, Director of Communications for the National Arts Centre, spoke of the NAC’s relations with the diplomatic community and offered diplomats a preview of the coming year, including the NAC’s plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

His Worship Maxime Pedneaud-Joboin, Mayor of Gatineau, and His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, also discussed plans to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Dr. André Plourde, Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs, opened the orientation and Carleton President Dr. Roseann Runte 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, the National Capital Commission, Rideau Hall, Volunteer Ottawa, Canadian Federation of University Women, the Hill Times 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 complements a November 4, 2016 session at Global Affairs Canada organized to provide information on Canadian governance and structure and access points of government departments and agencies.

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