The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, yesterday announced the appointment of Ken Lewis as the new Representative of Canada in Kandahar effective immediately, succeeding Elissa Golberg who has held the position since its creation in March 2008.
"We are marking an important first in the transformation of Canada's engagement in Afghanistan - the first transfer of authority from one Representative of Canada in Kandahar to another," said Minister Cannon. "The creation of this position has been vital to our contribution to this UN-mandated mission, as Canada has an unprecedented number of civilians working on the ground alongside their military colleagues."
In a ceremony held yesterday at the Kandahar Airfield, Mr. Lewis assumed the position from Elissa Golberg. Present at the ceremony was the Honourable Berverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation.
"The role of the RoCK is one that is helping build a lasting relationship between the people of Canada and the people of Afghanistan - one that works hand in hand with the Afghan government to build a secure Kandahar in a viable Afghanistan," said Minister Oda during the ceremony.
The RoCK is Canada's senior civilian representative southern Afghanistan - working on behalf of Canada's Ambassador to Afghanistan - as the principal interlocutor with provincial officials within the Afghan government, with international institutions, NGOs and military partners. The RoCK supports the implementation of Canada's strategic objectives for Afghanistan in Kandahar province by providing leadership and guidance to Canada's team of more than 75 diplomats, development officers, police and corrections officials, working in partnership with the Canadian Forces.
As the new RoCK, Mr. Lewis brings with him more than 20 years of diplomatic experience. Mr. Lewis has held many Asia related positions throughout his distinguished foreign service career. He was previously Minister (Commercial), heading the Commercial and Economic Program at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, China, as well as having played a key role in Canada's APEC participation.
Minister Cannon commented yesterday on Ms. Golberg's outstanding service and dedication, "Ms. Golberg has been a true leader for Canada and her contribution has been significant."
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A biographical note follows. Please visit Canada's engagement in Afghanistan for further information.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819 953-6534
Ken Lewis, Representative of Canada in Kandahar
In January of 2009, Ken Lewis began his time in Kandahar Province as the RoCK (Representative of Canada in Kandahar). As the most senior civilian in the South of Afghanistan, Ken leads the Government of Canada's coordinated diplomatic and reconstruction efforts in close cooperation with the Canadian Forces. Immediately prior to taking up this position, Ken was Minister (Commercial) at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, China where he headed up the Commercial and Economic Program building on his work in Ottawa as Director of the China and Mongolia Division at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Ken has had many Asia-related assignments throughout his distinguished foreign service career. He was Senior Trade Commissioner for Canada in Jakarta, Indonesia (1999-2003) and in Bangkok, Thailand (1995-1999). Earlier he served in the Canadian Embassies in Korea and Japan and the Canadian High Commission in Malaysia. In Ottawa, he has been Senior Departmental Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State (Asia Pacific); Director of the Asia Pacific Regional Coordination Division spearheading Canada's APEC participation; and Senior Policy Advisor in the Trade Negotiations Office during the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations in the latter part of the 1980's.
Ken studied political science and geography at the University of Guelph and has an MA (International Relations) from Dalhousie.