Ian Wood, Former Canadian Ambassador

 
Guest Speaker:  Friday November 4, 2016
Location:  Fairmont Upper Canada Room, 18 fl.
Topic:  Reflections on a Career in Canada's Foreign Service
 
Ian Wood is an outstanding Canadian who, within the ‘Department of External Affairs’, has served his country well. His work included many international appointments with a number of years as Canada’s ambassador to several countries in the Middle East.
 
Ian was born in Quebec City and attended school in Quebec and later at Ridley College and then to the University of Western Ontario studying History and Political Science. He joined the Canadian Officers Training Corps and later served in Germany. He was nominated by the university as a Rhodes Scholar candidate for Ontario. Following competitive Public Service exams and interviews Ian accepted an offer in 1957 to join Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service.
 
His marriage to Barbara came shortly after and this was followed by special permission from Ottawa to take up a year’s Graduate Fellowship awarded by the Commonwealth Studies Center at Duke University in North Carolina.
Returning to Ottawa in 1958, Ian completed an accelerated in-house training program and was posted to the Canadian Consulate General in New York City. This was the first of eight offshore assignments with the Trade Commissioner Service and later the Department of External Affairs (now Global Affairs Canada). This found him travelling and working in more than 25 countries over the next 33 years.
His marriage to Barbara came shortly after and this was followed by special permission from Ottawa to take up a year’s Graduate Fellowship awarded by the Commonwealth Studies Center at Duke University in North Carolina.
 
Returning to Ottawa in 1958, Ian completed an accelerated in-house training program and was posted to the Canadian Consulate General in New York City. This was the first of eight offshore assignments with the Trade Commissioner Service and later the Department of External Affairs (now Global Affairs Canada). This found him travelling and working in more than 25 countries over the next 33 years.
 
In 1979, after serving a two-year posting as Minister ( Commercial) in Moscow, Ian chose to take  a leave of absence (without pay) to join an international oil and gas conglomerate headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. As the position of Vice President (Development) demanded constant travel and absence from family a call to return to the Foreign Service after two years was welcomed. He was assignment as Ambassador to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman was offered shortly after.
 
Returning to Ottawa after four years in the Arabian Gulf area Ian was seconded to the Corporate Higher-Education Forum, a group of some 30 leading CEOs and university Presidents dedicated to bringing business and higher education closer together under a “Going Global” theme. The result of Ian’s collaboration was a report entitled “Educating for International Business”. This report proposed a number of initiatives geared to preparing both university business schools and businesses generally to meet global competition.
 
 Assignment to the Department of External Affairs as General-Director Commercial Communications with responsibility for, among other areas, international expositions came next.
 
Ian’s final posting abroad was as Consul-General at Seattle with responsibility covering the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.
 
Sponsors