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Catherine Bragg visits Somalia

Free Public Lecture
Friday, May 30, 2014
Reception 5:00 pm  | Welcome Remarks 5:30 pm
While RSVPs are not necessary to attend the event, they are appreciated for logistical purposes and can be sent to [email protected]
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Keynote Speaker: Catherine Bragg

Former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

Dr. Bragg is a former Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the United Nations (2008-2013). Prior to her secondment to the UN, she has spent 24 years in the federal public service of Canada. She served in seven federal departments, including the Canadian International Development Agency, where she was Director-General of the Humanitarian Assistance, Peace and Security Program from 2004-2008. She is currently Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Humanitarian Action, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. She obtained a PhD in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany, SUNY, a Master of Philosophy in Criminology from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto. A Canadian, she currently resides in Toronto.

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Kathryn White

President and CEO, United Nations Association in Canada

Kathryn White is the President and CEO of the United Nations Association in Canada. She has creatively and successfully led the Association since 2003 as it meets its important mandate across the country. For the previous twenty-five years, Kate White had been the head of Black & White Inc. an Ottawa-based international consultancy specializing in policy research, education and citizen engagement, integrating risk management and risk perception into initiatives and solutions. She has been recognized nationally and internationally for her leadership in issues ranging from youth-at-risk, climate change, disaster and crisis response and mitigation, corporate social responsibility, international peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Her policy and public engagement work included initiatives on the use of civil dissent in multilateralism (“Integrating Dissent” Foreign Policy); on the role of third party facilitators in peace negotiations; and on the role of civil society in solution-seeking in Cyprus, which led to the Annan Accord.

Kate White currently serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA).

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Rohinton Medhora

President, Center for International Governance Innovation

Rohinton P. Medhora is President of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, joining in 2012. He served on CIGI’s International Board of Directors since 2009. Previously, he was vice president of programs at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).  At IDRC, Rohinton led the Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic and Adjustment Policies and Trade, Employment and Competitiveness initiatives. He is also a former director of IDRC’s social and economic policy programs.

Rohinton received his doctorate in economics in 1988 from the University of Toronto, where he also subsequently taught for a number of years. In addition to his Ph.D., Rohinton earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Toronto, where he majored in economics. His fields of expertise are monetary and trade policy, international economic relations, aid effectiveness and development economics. He has published extensively on these issues in professional and non-technical journals, and has produced two books: Finance and Competitiveness in Developing Countries (Routledge, 2001); and Financial Reform in Developing Countries (Macmillan, 1998), which he co-edited with José Fanelli. In 2013, he was co-editor with Yiagadeesen Samy of Canada-Africa Relations: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, which is volume 27 in the highly influential Canada Among Nations book series.  In 2014, he co-edited International Development: Ideas, Experience, and Prospects (Oxford University Press).

Rohinton serves on the boards of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research and the science and environment organization START International.


George Somerwill

Former Director of Public Information, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN Mission in Sudan

George Somerwill worked as a journalist for the BBC African Service in the early seventies, and joined the CBC in 1976. During his journalism career, George traveled frequently to Africa to cover political and humanitarian stories.

Following a brief stint with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), in the early nineties, George joined CARE Canada, working in emergency programming in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Rwanda. It was while working with CARE in Angola in 1995, that he was recruited by the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

In 1998, while taking up a humanitarian post with the UN Oil-For-Food Programme (OFFP) in Saddam’s Iraq, George took over as Baghdad spokesperson for the OFFP. It was a fascinating three years, trying to deal with the world’s media, while both the UN Security Council and the UN senior management were themselves far from agreement about how to deal with Iraq.

In 2002, as the West hunted for Osama bin Laden and Afghan refugees poured into Pakistan, George served with UNICEF Pakistan. In 2003, he returned to United Nations peacekeeping and to the Horn of Africa, to serve in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

From 2004 to 2007, as the UN struggled to bring peace to North and South Sudan, George joined the fledgling UN peacekeeping mission in Khartoum as the Chief of Public Information, UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). It was a challenging assignment, as the host government did not appreciate the UN’s attempts to bring peace and to encourage freedom of information.

George ended his UN career with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), where he served as Director of Communications from 2007 to 2011. The government of Africa’s first elected woman president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had welcomed the UN since 2003, and she challenged the UN to use as many communications initiatives as possible to promote peace and the development in her country.

George Somerwill has an MA in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, from the University of York (UK).

Public Lecture and Workshop Location

67 Erb Street West, Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2
Balsillie School of International Affairs
CIGI Campus, Waterloo, Ontario

Photo Credit: UN Photo
Event jointly hosted by the United Nations Association Canada, WLU Office of the Vice-President: Academic and Provost, ACUNS