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Paul Heinbecker

  • Alumni
  • Mentor 2005
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Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations
Government of Canada

    Paul Heinbecker is the inaugural director of the Centre for Global Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Distinguished Fellow at the independent Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo.

    These appointments follow a lengthy career with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Heinbecker served, for example, as Minister in Washington, as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Chief Foreign Policy Advisor and speech writer and as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Foreign and Defence Policy. In 1992, he was named Ambassador to Germany. In 1996, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, Global and Security Policy, and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Mr. Heinbecker led the interdepartmental task force on Kosovo and helped to negotiate the UN resolution ending that war. He was also head of the delegation for the negotiation of the Kyoto Climate Change Convention. He helped to develop Canada's human security agenda, making the protection of people rather than states a focus of Canadian foreign policy. In the summer of 2000, Mr. Heinbecker was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, where he was a leading advocate of the International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect as well as a proponent of compromise on Iraq to try to avoid a catastrophic war.

    Mr. Heinbecker has edited and authored numerous articles, book chapters and, books including his most recent work with Professor Fen Hampson entitled As Others See Us: Canada Among Nations 2009-10. He is a frequent op-ed contributor to Canadian newspapers, and a radio and television commentator on international developments generally, on Canadian and American foreign policy, on the United Nations and the G20. He has attended a dozen summits.

    Mr. Heinbecker received his Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1965, an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the same institution in 1993 and an Honorary Ph.D. from St. Thomas University in 2007.