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Diplomatic Appointment

March 29, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced the following diplomatic appointment:

Mark McDowell becomes Ambassador to Burma.

This marks Canada’s first-ever appointment of an ambassador who will be resident in Rangoon. Canada is now in the process of establishing an embassy in the country for the first time. The official opening of the Embassy of Canada will be announced in the coming months.

On March 8, 2012, Minister Baird made a landmark visit to Burma, the first undertaken by a Canadian minister of foreign affairs. Canada will continue to work with its partners in the international community and in Burma to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in that country.

On September 3, 2012, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, travelled to Burma to discuss enhancing Canadian commercial and trade ties with his Burmese counterparts. During the visit, he announced the establishment of a permanent Canadian trade presence within the Canadian embassy.

In February 2013, Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, led a week-long Canadian multi-party parliamentary delegation to Naypyidaw and Rangoon as part of a parliamentary exchange project between the two countries. Canada looks forward to the return visit of Burmese parliamentarians to Ottawa.

Canada welcomes the positive developments that have occurred in Burma over the past two years and encourages the country’s government to pursue further reforms. Canada urges Burmese authorities to address violence between ethnic and religious communities through peaceful means while protecting the rights and safety of all residents.

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A biographical note on the appointee follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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Biographical Note

Mark McDowell (BA [History], University of Toronto, 1988; MA [East Asian Studies], University of Toronto, 1990; MPA, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2008) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1994 as a foreign service officer. In Ottawa, Mr. McDowell worked with the Caribbean and Central America Division, the South Asia Division, and the Aboriginal and Circumpolar Affairs Division. More recently, he was director of the Public Diplomacy and Domestic Outreach Division. Abroad, Mr. McDowell has served in New York City, Taipei and Bangkok. From 2008 to 2009, Mr. McDowell was a fellow at Harvard University, where he carried out research on contemporary issues in Burma. Since 2010, Mr. McDowell has been counsellor for public diplomacy at Canada’s Embassy to China.