Welcome to the FOCAL archive

The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Board of Directors

Kathryn_Hewlett_JobesEDITEDKathryn Hewlett-Jobes


Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and former High Commissioner to Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize

Kathryn Hewlett-Jobes was a Senior Regional Advisor for the Caribbean at the Inter-American Development Bank and served as a Senior Advisor on the IDB's Multilateral Investment Fund, which focused on growth through private sector development. She also served as Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize (1993-1996) and Director of Market Intelligence, as well as Director of Policy and Trade at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Ms. Hewlett-Jobes holds an MSc in development finance from the University of London and a BA in economics from the University of Calgary.


Alain_BerrangerEDITEDAlain Berranger


Executive-in-Residence, Schulich School of Business and Vice-Chair, Global Knowledge Partnership

Alain Berranger graduated from McGill University in engineering in 1969 and with an MBA in 1973. Until 1991 he practiced worldwide in the private sector with Noranda (metals and minerals), Touche Ross (accounting and management consulting). He also worked at Tecsult International (engineering) and Canadian Pacific/Dominion Bridge (heavy industrial structures) and held the posts of VP International and VP Sales respectively. His career has been invested in international development, notably consulting for the United Nations, the World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency. He was Honorary Consul for Sao Tome and Principe in Canada from 1985 to 2000. Mr. Berranger has worked for over five years in 31 different African countries, and has led numerous missions to Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. From 1996 to 2006, he was Director, Partnerships and Business Development for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a new unit he was asked to create which raised more than $100 million in external funding over that period. He has been listed in Who's Who in Canada since 2000 and is also a member of the International Advisory Committee of AED-Healthnet, a Boston NGO active in international health issues. He is a Business Fellow with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability at York University as well as an Executive-in-Residence at Schulich, one of Canada's top business schools. He now works as a Senior Advisor to the Global Knowledge Partnership in Kuala Lumpur and Resource Mobilization Trainer and Consultant with the Micronutrient Initiative in Ottawa. He is an Advisor to the UN for the evaluation of Equator Ventures, a pilot social venture capital fund to finance business and biodiversity conservation initiatives.


SuzanneLaporteEDITEDSuzanne Laporte


Former Canadian Ambassador to Brazil

Mrs. Laporte is a seasoned professional in international relations and human resources management. She was appointed Canadian Ambassador to Brazil from 2003 to 2005 and Ambassador to the Ivory Coast with multiple accreditation to the Sahel countries from 1994 to 1998. She also served in the Canadian delegation at the OECD from 1986 to 1990. She occupied a number of senior appointments in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, including that of Assistant Deputy Minister for Human Resources from 1999 to 2003 and as Vice-President for the Americas in the Canadian International Develpment Agency (CIDA) from 2005 to 2007. More recently, she was Secretary for External Relations at the Organization of the American States. Mrs. Laporte is now a consultant and is a Director on the Board of Administration of two NGOs.


Carlo_DadeEDITEDCarlo Dade

Executive Director, FOCAL (ex-officio)

Carlo Dade manages programs in Remittances/Diasporas, Corporate Social Responsibility and Canadian Engagement in Haiti. Prior to joining FOCAL, Carlo was Representative for the Dominican Republic, Haïti and the English speaking Caribbean at the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), a U.S. government foreign aid agency where he managed a US$3 million community grant and business co-financing portfolio for community, economic and social development projects. He was a founding member of the Enterprise Research Institute and Foundation for Latin America (ERI), a Washington, D.C. think-tank specializing in Private Sector Development and Corporate Social Responsibility issues. Prior to joining ERI, he worked for five years in the Latin American and Caribbean Region Technical Department of the World Bank. Mr. Dade holds a BA in International Affairs from the University of Virginia with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. He was an MA candidate at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University and also attended Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan.


John_GrahamEDITEDJohn W. Graham

Chair Emeritus

Former Canadian Ambassador and First Head of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy at the Organization of American States

John W. Graham was the first head of the Unit for Promotion of Democracy at the Organization of American States (OAS) and in that capacity led a number of OAS election observer missions in Latin America, participated in OAS mediation in Guatemala and was the principal international mediator in the Dominican Republic post-election crisis of 1994. He was a Senior Election Officer for the OSCE in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Graham’s assignments in the Canadian Foreign Service include: Santo Domingo; Havana; High Commissioner to Guyana; non-resident Ambassador to Surinam; Director General, Caribbean and Central America, Ambassador to Venezuela and non-resident Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. His publications include: A Magna Carta for the Americas, The Inter-American Democratic Charter, FOCAL September 2002; “Shaping Stability in Central America”, Canada and the New Internationalism, 1988; “Canada and the OAS: Terra Incognita”, Canada Among Nations, 1996; “Black Past, Grey Future?: A Post-Dayton View of Bosnia-Herzegovina”, International Journal 1998.



Ross Anderson

Vice President, Government Communications, Policy and Research, Scotiabank

Ross Anderson has been a policy advisor and public affairs practitioner for 20 years. He has extensive experience in the financial sector both as a consultant (for clients such as the Canadian Bankers Association and Business Development Bank of Canada) and as an in-house lobbyist for Scotiabank.

Ross is currently responsible for government relations at Scotiabank. With a team of four, he manages the Bank’s global public policy agenda and related research to support the Bank’s business plan in a global regulatory environment. Government Communications contributes to strategy development and works with the media and internal communications groups on reputational risk, issues management, corporate communications and stakeholder relations. The position is often required to act as spokesperson for the Bank with government and third parties on government and policy-related issues. From this vantage point, Ross has dealt with a wide range of issues including macro- and micro-economic policy, foreign policy and social issues.

Following an honours bachelors degree from Western in philosophy and political science, Ross obtained a M.A. in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Ross is Board member of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) and he serves on the Advisory Board of the Canadian Consumers Council. He is a member of the International Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and is founding member of the Canadian Services Coalition.

Ross plays soccer in the summer, skis in the winter, runs all year round and accepts as many invitations for golf as he can.

Ross and his two children reside in Toronto.


AB_editedAlex Bugailiskis

Assistant Deputy Minister Latin America and Caribbean, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Latin America and Caribbean Bureau (ex-officio)

Alexandra Bugailiskis was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister for Latin America and the Caribbean and for the Geographic Strategy and Services Bureau in August 2008 at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. She previously held the role of Assistant Deputy Minister and Executive Co-ordinator for the Americas Strategy. Ms. Bugailiskis’ experience abroad includes postings to Ghana and Guatemala. In 1997, she was named Ambassador to Syria, with concurrent accreditation as High Commissioner to Cyprus in 1998. Most recently she served as Canadian Ambassador to Cuba (2003-2007). Other experiences in Ottawa include Director General for Latin America and Caribbean Bureau, Co-ordinator of the Task Force on the International Policy Framework (Privy Council Office), and Director for the Central America and Caribbean Division. In 2001 she won a Merit Award for her contribution to the Summit of the Americas and she was the first recipient of the Canadian Foreign Service Officer of the Year Award in 1990. Ms. Bugailiskis has a BA, Honours from Carleton University and an MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. She is married to Lt. Col. Alexander Fieglar and they have two children.


EdDosmanEDITEDEdgar J. Dosman

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International and Security Studies, York University

Edgar J. Dosman is currently Senior Research Fellow at York University and teaches the Latin America Regions seminar in the IMBA Program at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto. Educated at Oxford and Harvard University, previous appointments include Co-Director of the Canada-Mexico Dialogue, founding Executive Director of FOCAL (Canadian Foundation of the Americas) in Ottawa, Board Member of the Canadian Council of the Americas, and Visiting Professor of International Relations in Mexico. A consultant, analyst, writer and commentator on inter-American affairs, his most recent book is The Life and Times of Raul Prebisch 1901-86. The Government of Brazil has awarded him the Ordem do Rio Branco for his contribution to Canadian-Brazilian relations.


pdurandEDITEDH.E. Paul Durand

Consultant; Former OAS Resident Representative to the Dominican Republic

Born in London, Ontario, Canada, Paul Durand has had extensive international experience in both the private and public sectors. He was educated in Canada, obtaining a BA (political economy) from the University of Toronto, and pursued studies in international relations and economics at Northwestern University in Chicago and Carleton University in Ottawa. He joined the Canadian government in 1975 after working in international banking in Latin America and the Caribbean.In Canada's diplomatic service, Mr. Durand has specialized in Latin America but has also worked in East Africa and South Asia. He worked for the Canadian International Development Agency in policy development and program delivery areas for a number of years, and also as a foreign policy advisor in the office of the Prime Minister, before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. From 1992 to 1995, Mr. Durand was Canada's Ambassador in Costa Rica, with simultaneous accreditation to Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. From 1995 to August 2000, he was Director General responsible for Canada's relations with Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This was a period of intense activity in the hemisphere, when Canada hosted a series of events (the Pan American Games, the OAS General Assembly, the Summit of the Americas), which highlighted Canada's policy of engagement in the Americas. In August 2000, he was appointed Ambassador to Chile. A year later in August 2001, he was appointed Ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington. He is married, has three children and speaks English, French and Spanish.


PHakimEDITEDPeter Hakim

President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue

Peter Hakim is President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think on Western Hemisphere affairs. He served as president of the Dialogue from 1993 to 2010. Hakim writes and speaks widely on hemispheric issues, and has testified more than a dozen times before Congress. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, and Financial Times, and in newspapers and journals in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Spain. He wrote a monthly column for the Christian Science Monitor for nearly ten years, and now serves as a board member of Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica and editorial advisor to Americaeconomia, where he also publishes a regular column. Hakim was a vice president of the Inter-American Foundation and worked for the Ford Foundation in New York and Latin America (in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru). He has taught at MIT and Columbia University. He has served on boards and advisory committees for the World Bank, Council on Competitiveness, Inter-American Development Bank, Partners for Democratic Change, and Human Rights Watch. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Hakim earned a BA at Cornell University, an MS in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.


JenniferMccoyEDITEDDr. Jennifer L. McCoy

Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University, and Director of the Americas Program at The Carter Center in Atlanta

Jennifer L. McCoy is Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University, and Director of the Americas Program at The Carter Center in Atlanta. Specializing in international and comparative politics, Dr. McCoy's research focuses on democratization in Latin America, the role of international actors in mediating processes of democratization, and global anti-corruption norms. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Venezuela, Uruguay and Nicaragua. Dr. McCoy is editor and contributor to Political Learning and Redemocratization in Latin America: Do Political Leaders Learn from Political Crises? (North-South Center/Lynne Rienner Press, 2000) and Venezuelan Democracy Under Stress (Lynne Rienner Press, 1995), and has authored articles in such journals as World Politics, International Politics, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, Journal of Developing Societies, Journal of Democracy, North-South, Hemisphere, and Current History. She is currently working on a book project on Venezuelan democracy under the Punto Fijo years (1958-98) and the Bolivarian Revolution (1999-present). Dr. McCoy currently directs the Carter Center's Forging Partners in the Americas conference series and projects on Financing Democracy, Challenges to Democracy in the Americas and Transparency for Growth. She is the Carter Center's representative to the International Tripartite Working Group on Venezuela (OAS, UNDP, Carter Center), working to promote dialogue and reconciliation in that country. She has directed the Center's election observer projects to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico, Peru and Jamaica, and has also observed elections in Haiti (1990), Suriname (1991), Guyana (1991-92), Jamaica (1997). From 1988-98, Dr. McCoy was a Senior Research Associate with The Carter Center. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research in Uruguay during the fall of 1991 and 1992.


ESpeharEDITEDElizabeth Spehar

Director, Americas and Europe Division, Department of Political Affairs, United Nations Secretariat Department of Political Affairs

Elizabeth Spehar joined the Department of Political Affairs of the UN Secretariat in September 2007 as Director for the Americas and Europe Division (AED). Prior to this appointment, she was a senior official with the Organization of American States (OAS) for more than 12 years. Ms. Spehar had been a senior staff member of OAS General Secretariat since January 1995. From 1995 to 2004, Ms. Spehar served as the Executive co-ordinator of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. During 2005 and early 2006, she headed the OAS Electoral Support Program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which spearheaded efforts to assist the Haiti Provisional Electoral Council to prepare and undertake elections, register a record 80 per cent of the voting population, and produce the country’s first national ID card. In February 2006, Ms. Spehar returned to OAS Headquarters in Washington as Director of the Department for the Promotion of Democracy in the newly created Secretariat for Political Affairs. Prior to her initial appointment to the OAS, Ms. Spehar served as the Head of the Americas Programme of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (ICHRDD) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1990-1994). Earlier in her career, Ms. Spehar worked for a variety of institutions dealing with human rights, democracy and development issues, including MATCH International (Ottawa, Canada), the UNDP Office in Cape Verde, West Africa, and consultancies with the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Ms. Spehar holds a BA Honours Degree from Queen’s University, Canada, a Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University, Canada, and a Diplome d’Etudes Supérieures from the University of Pau, Pau, France.


VWatsonEDITEDVinita Watson

Executive Director for Canada, Inter-American Development Bank (ex-officio)

Vinita Watson was appointed to the Inter-American Development Bank as Executive Director for Canada on Feb. 1, 2007. Prior to this she spent one year as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Canada School of Public Service, conducting research on multi-level engagement between the Canadian and U.S. federal governments. From July 2001 to November 2005 Ms. Watson was the Assistant Deputy Minister of the International Trade and Finance Branch of the Canadian Department of Finance. She led the International Branch during Canada’s Presidencies of the G-7, G-10 and G-20, and during the G-8 Kananaskis Summit. Her previous positions with the Government of Canada include Director General Corporate Governance at the Department of Industry, Director General Consumer Affairs, and Deputy Federal Negotiator for the Internal Trade Negotiations, which successfully concluded an agreement between the federal government and provinces to improve the Canadian economic union. In 1994-95 Ms. Watson was on special assignment to the Privy Council Office during Program Review – a major effort to streamline and restructure the Government of Canada. Her early experience in government was in Tax Policy in the Department of Finance. Ms. Watson has an MPA from Harvard University, an MA from Michigan State University, and an honours bachelor from Delhi University.


A View of the Hemisphere



Explore the link between governance and development.