O.D. Skelton Lectures

Inaugurated in December 1991, it honours Dr. O.D. Skelton, a prime architect of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (then Department of External Affairs) and of Canadian foreign policy. This lecture series encourages the scholarly examination of Canada’s international relations with distinguished Canadian lecturers.

The O.D. Skelton Memorial Lecture (ODSML) is given annually during the academic year. Before becoming Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King’s adviser on international relations and then his second under-secretary of state for external affairs, Skelton had been Sir John A. Macdonald Professor of Political and Economic Science and then Dean of Arts at Queen’s University. King’s choice of Skelton to succeed Sir Joseph Pope was influenced in part by an address which Skelton gave to the Canadian Club in Ottawa in 1922. As head of the Department of External Affairs for more than 15 years, Skelton helped to define a distinct Canadian foreign policy. A firm believer in appointment and promotion by merit, he was responsible for the recruitment of a remarkably able group of foreign service officers. In view of Skelton’s scholarly background and his contribution to Canadian public life, we decided to honour his memory with a public lecture series.

O.D. Skelton

O. D. Skelton Memorial Lecture – Ottawa, June 2, 2015

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Jean, is pleased to announce that the O. D. Skelton Memorial Lecture for 2015 will be given by a distinguished Canadian, Derek Burney, who has served as a public servant, diplomat and corporate executive.  Mr. Burney will draw on those varied experiences to offer his perspective on priorities and planning in Canada’s international relations.

The lecture will take place at 6 p.m. (18h00) on Tuesday, 2 June 2015, in the Marcel Cadieux Auditorium of the Lester B. Pearson Building, 125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa. A brief question period will follow the lecture. Simultaneous translation will be available throughout the proceedings.

Everyone is welcome to attend this event and there is no admission charge. Please note, however, that there are no reserved seats. The Marcel Cadieux Auditorium is wheelchair accessible. Please note that there is very little public parking at the Pearson Building. RSVP: nicole.favreau@international.gc.ca.

About the speaker

Derek Burney is a Senior Strategic Advisor with Norton Rose Fulbright.  He has served in the Canadian foreign service, including seven years in Japan and three years as Ambassador to Korea as well as senior executive positions in the Department of External Affairs.  As Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister (from 1987 to 1989), he was directly involved in the negotiation of the FTA with the United States.  While he was Canada’s Ambassador to the United States (1989 to 1993) he served as the Prime Minister’s personal representative in preparing for the G-7 Summits in 1990, 1991 and 1992.  In 1993, he left the public service to take up an appointment as Chairman and CEO of Bell Canada International.  From 1999 to 2004, he served as President and CEO of CAE Inc.  During those years and since, he also has served as director of several other firms, Chancellor of Lakehead University and a Governor of the Ottawa Hospital.  In early 2006, he headed the Conservative Transition Team and then served in 2007-8 on the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future in Afghanistan.  He is a Member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of several honorary doctorates.  Mr. Burney is the author of a memoir, Getting It Done, which was published in 2005, and the co-author (with Fen Hampson) of Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World, which was published last year by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

About the O. D. Skelton Memorial Lecture Series

This will be the sixteenth O. D. Skelton Memorial Lecture and the seventh to be held in Ottawa. This series encourages a scholarly examination of topics within the subject of Canada’s international relations. Inaugurated in December 1991, it honours Dr. O. D. Skelton, a prime architect of the Department of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada) and of Canadian foreign policy. For more information about O. D. Skelton and about the series, as well as for the texts of past lectures, please consult the website of Foreign Affairs Canada.

List of Lectures and Speaker Biographies