In a pilot project, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers is getting a full-time president. OpenCanada spoke with Pamela Isfeld, the longtime Canadian diplomat who has taken on the role, about her to-do list, the ‘Havana Syndrome’ crisis, and more.
Catherine Tsalikis / @CatTsalikis
Senior Editor, OpenCanada.org
Catherine Tsalikis is the senior editor for OpenCanada.org. Previously, she worked as a producer for the CBC’s fifth estate and CTV News Channel. She also worked as a politics producer for London’s Sky News, and as an editorial assistant for The World Today magazine, published by Chatham House.
Catherine holds a Master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from the University of Toronto (Trinity College).
Most Recent Posts
Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy discusses a new report from the World Refugee Council, which calls for a ‘major overhaul’ of how the international system is responding to the worst displacement crisis since World War II.
As leaders meet in Argentina for the annual G20 summit, the architects of the international forum reflect on “one of the great Canadian inventions.”
At the first official Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Canada provided a window for activists to shape ideas about what a feminist foreign policy should look like. Those present tell OpenCanada what they’ll be watching for from the ministers at the UN General Assembly and going forward.
Last week, members of Trudeau’s G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council met for the first time to discuss ‘bold’ ideas. While the prime minister’s approach has been lauded by many feminist activists, others are calling for more measurable action, as Catherine Tsalikis reports from Ottawa.
OpenCanada speaks with Elizabeth Spehar, head of the UN’s peacekeeping force in Cyprus, about a ‘burgeoning sisterhood’ of women leaders, the importance of the Elsie Initiative and why more women are needed in peace operations.
Payam Akhavan, this year’s CBC Massey lecturer, on what is needed to guard against the ‘catastrophic toll’ of ignoring global injustices — from a strengthened ICC to more political risk-taking on crimes against the Rohingya people.
Ahead of next year’s summit in Quebec, Trudeau’s G7 sherpa, Peter Boehm, lays out Canada’s progressive agenda, which will include a focus on gender equality and climate change.
In advance of Sunday’s election, German Consul General Peter Fahrenholtz sits down with OpenCanada to talk voter priorities, Merkel’s appeal and what the most pressing issues will be for the next German government.
Stepping into struggle: Hina Jilani on the pull of human rights work and how to improve global refugee policy
Internationally renowned human rights activist Hina Jilani speaks to OpenCanada about her new focus on the global refugee crisis and her upcoming trip to Jordan.
When Abdulwahab Tahhan arrived in the UK from Syria, he didn’t anticipate how much he would need personal connections to work in journalism. But, as he asked when sharing his story with OpenCanada, “Where do you get these connections, if you’re a refugee?”
Somewhere between ‘golden age’ and ‘culture of complaint’ lies the state of Canada’s foreign service. OpenCanada’s Catherine Tsalikis interviewed nearly two dozen diplomats and experts to discover a gradual tarnishing of the diplomatic corps over the years — but many are rooting for its restoration.
‘They’ll put on the Canadian pin, because it helps and creates less confusion.’ Three young public servants share their personal stories, views on diversity in government and thoughts on how to attract young Canadians into a similar line of work.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland used a major foreign policy speech this week to underscore Canada's deep commitment to the international order and to outline its priorities, from global trade to feminism.
If a serious rift between the U.S. and Europe were to develop, “Canada might potentially play a bridge-building role,” Achim Hurrelmann says in an interview.
When it comes to refugees, journalists could do more to debunk misconceptions, put Canada’s contribution in perspective and tell stories of other crises outside of Europe, a group of panelists said this week.
Candid and concerned: What former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman thinks of Trump, Trudeau staffers
On his first trip back to Canada since leaving his Ottawa post, Heyman sits down with OpenCanada, speaking openly on the “genius” of the Trudeau team and what worries him about the state of U.S. politics.
At a talk in Toronto, Mexican and Canadian ministers came together for the first time since Trump was elected to remind the world that updating NAFTA is a good thing, and that free trade isn’t going anywhere.
While no concrete steps were taken on NAFTA, Freeland’s meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set a friendly but firm tone with her U.S. counterpart.
While interactions with the new administration have so far been positive ‘for the most part,’ Canada must now work to shape decisions on hot files before the White House commits to actions that could damage both countries, says diplomat David MacNaughton.
A new collection of essays looks at how Stephen Harper conducted foreign policy under both minority and majority governments. Catherine Tsalikis speaks to one of its editors to find out what they learned.
The former journalist,
who found success with CETA as trade minister and is barred from Russia, replaced Stéphane Dion
this week. Here are five things to know about her.
With the release of his new book, Fahmy speaks to OpenCanada on the many shades of the word ‘terrorist,’ how Al Jazeera kept him in the dark and why he is calling for a ‘Protection Charter’ for Canadians abroad.
Donald Trump’s surprise win this week has many wondering what the impact will be on trade, regional politics and even political science as we know it. OpenCanada rounds up some of this week's best reactions.
In her award-winning book, Deborah Campbell recounts the months she spent looking for her missing fixer in Damascus. She speaks with OpenCanada about her search, the Syrian conflict and the problems plaguing today’s foreign news coverage.
From improved relations with the U.S. to the “black eye” the Saudi arms deal represents, we take a comprehensive look at the Trudeau government’s foreign policy challenges and successes over the past 12 months.
The Australian Institute of International Affairs’ National Executive Director reflects on the role of think tanks, the importance of addressing inequality in society, and what lessons other countries should take from the Canadian and Australian responses to the refugee crisis.
As pockets of discontent flourish around the world and information is shared at a rapid pace, what is the role of think tanks today? OpenCanada’s Catherine Tsalikis reports from the Global Think Tank Summit in Montreal.
Filmmaker and author Alexandre Trudeau on his family’s fascination with China, the state of Chinese-Canadian relations under his brother’s government, and why, when it comes to human rights, his hardest demands are reserved for his own country.
Former UN Special Adviser Jennifer Welsh on the importance of refugee burden-sharing, how pluralism and equality go hand in hand, and how Francis Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ may not have been the end, after all.
International human rights lawyer and activist Georgette Gagnon spent five years in Afghanistan and saw first-hand the contribution made by Canadians. Here she shares her takeaways from her time as director of human rights for the UN in Afghanistan.
‘We will continue to build relationships with both parties,’ Trudeau responds, as referendum results prompt predictions of dramatic regional change.
As Graham releases his political memoir, The Call of the World, he reflects on the 2003 decision not to join the U.S. in Iraq, what he learned from Libya and how today’s world poses different challenges for the current Canadian government.
The Arab Spring didn’t birth the political revolution many had hoped for. But as Bessma Momani discovered while researching her new book, youth in the Middle East are now spurring a social and cultural shift.
Toronto-based Khan discusses next steps following the WHO's emergency declaration, whether the virus could eventually head north and lessons from the Ebola outbreak.
As the UN Sustainable Development Goals come into effect, the authors of a new CIPS report on “global sustainable development” explain how the world’s challenges are truly global and what Canada can do to tackle them.
OpenCanada speaks with the New York Times correspondent
ahead of his visit to Canada this week: “When I’m on an assignment, I try and
do description, not prescription.”
With a change of government and a wave of global events, this was a significant year for Canada. Here are 10 moments you won’t want to forget.
The Canadian filmmaker discusses the inspiration behind her latest project, Beeba Boys, and how far gangsters will go to fit in and "be seen."
With real problems plaguing lower income Canadians, why has this election campaign focused so much on the middle class?