Jeremy Kinsman

Jeremy Kinsman

Former Ambassador to the European Union and High Commissioner to Britain

Distinguished Visiting Diplomat at Ryerson since 2010, Jeremy Kinsman left the Canadian Foreign Service in 2006, after 40 years. He had served as a Canadian Ambassador for 15 years, in Moscow (1992-96), in Rome (1996-2000) as High Commissioner in London (2000-2002), and as Ambassador to the EU in Brussels (2002-2006). Earlier postings were in Brussels and in Algeria before going to New York in 1975 where he became Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN. He was then Chairman of Policy Planning in Ottawa before becoming Minister for Political Affairs in Washington (1981-85). From 1985-99, he was on loan as Assistant Deputy Minister of Communications responsible for the cultural affairs portfolio of the federal government and for broadcasting. Recalled to Foreign Affairs in 1989 as the Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security Affairs and Political Director, he notably served as chair and interdepartmental coordinator for Canada’s political engagement in the Gulf War 1990-91. After leaving government service, Jeremy Kinsman transferred his energies to civil society, heading from 2007 an international project for the Community of Democracies which has recently produced the Third Edition of A Diplomat’s Handbook on Democracy Development Support ( He leads the project’s workshops which train professional personnel from participating countries and civil society representatives in democracy and human rights support. A frequent speaker and lecturer in Europe and North America, in 2007-2008 he was Diplomat in Residence at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. Kinsman was then appointed 2009-10 Regents’ Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and joined Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies as Resident International Scholar.

Most Recent Posts


The end of Britain as we know it?

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January 30, 2019

Internal divisions are tearing both the US and the UK apart. But while the US will likely swing back to its moderate ways once Trump is gone, the UK will be forever changed post-Brexit, writes Jeremy Kinsman.

NAFTA talks

NAFTA lessons: What I've learned negotiating with the US

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September 1, 2017

As a Canadian ambassador once said, negotiating with the US means coping with ‘a country of a thousand players who can deliver a thousand wounds.’ As NAFTA talks continue, veteran diplomat Jeremy Kinsman reflects on his own experience and cautions against appearing too eager for an accord.


Life After Brexit: Is anything now possible?

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September 9, 2016

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has asserted that "there will be no second referendum” following Britain’s vote to leave the EU on June 23. But what if the European model changes in the meantime? As veteran diplomat Jeremy Kinsman writes, in a follow up to his open letter to David Cameron, when nothing is clear, anything may be possible. 


A European unravelling

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June 16, 2016

On the eve of the UK’s referendum over EU membership, Canada’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Jeremy Kinsman, looks at how the debate got this far and what to expect next week, and beyond.


Why Europe will survive this mega storm

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May 4, 2016

The European Project was meant to ward against the 20th century nationalistic passions that led to two world wars. But a financial meltdown, refugee crisis and now unnecessary referendum have blown a perfect storm into a hurricane. Is the EU just too big to fail? 


Understanding the recent road to crisis in the Middle East

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April 1, 2016


Why have Arab states failed? Within borders drawn by outsiders, most are institutionally weak, archaic, corrupt and inert, riven by sectarian hostilities. The epicentre of failure is Syria. Jeremy Kinsman on how the region fell into chaos, and how it will get itself out.