left to right: Lynn Lawless, Steve Hibbard, Lisa Helfand and Eric Mercier
Photography: Gordon King.
Lisa Helfand and Martha Nixon, former Assistant Deputy Minister, Citizenship and Immigration
Lisa Helfand, Deputy Director, Trans-Atlantic (NATO/OSCE) Section, Defence and Security Relations Division, is receiving a PAFSO Award this year in recognition of her outstanding commitment to Canada’s foreign policy initiatives in a seemingly unending series of international crisis hot-spots over the past few years, from Belgrade to Baghdad. In her current position, Lisa has been key in coordinating the network of decision makers involved in developing Canada’s policies with respect to NATO, while orchestrating discussions to facilitate sending troops to Afghanistan, as a crucial sign of Canada’s willingness to join the battle against global terrorism. She has been a force behind Canada’s policy to support elements of NATO’s transformation, from enlarging the alliance to include seven new members from Central and Eastern Europe to forging a special partnership with Russia and beyond. She has also played a major role in handling a series of sensitive files affecting Canada’s relationship with the US. She is known as a source of ideas and insights, with what one person called “an ability to excel and to lead while maintaining firm hold of her fundamental humanity”. She is receiving this Award for her skill, knowledge and leadership qualities.
Steve Hibbard and Jonathan Fried, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister
Steve Hibbard, currently serving as Head of Canada’s Representative Office in Ramallah, has been selected to receive a PAFSO Award for the dedication he has shown and the outstanding work he has done in his more than 36 years in the Foreign Service. Steve has spent the majority of his career in assignments related to the Middle East. Over the years, Steve has been a key player and contributor to the formulation and implementation of Canada’s policy toward the Middle East and particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is known for his commitment to helping the peoples of the region reach a just and negotiated solution, while retaining the highest standards of impartiality and judgment. Steve now finds himself in one of the most challenging positions in the Foreign Service: as Head of Canada’s Representative Office in Ramallah, he lives in what one colleague calls “an environment almost continuously under siege”. His access to the Palestinian Authority as Canada’s main interlocutor is without precedent and he is the linchpin of Canada’s development assistance program. His work is key to the preservation of Canada’s positive image in the Palestinian community. Steve daily demonstrates a strong personal commitment to doing everything possible to alleviate suffering and promote the cause of peace – a commitment which has earned him this Award.
Lynn Lawless and Robert Blackburn, Senior VP, Government and Development Institutions, SNC-Lavalin International
Lynn Lawless is receiving a PAFSO Award for her untiring work in supporting the Canadian Government’s agenda for public security and safety of all Canadians, during her tenure as Deputy Director for the Control Division in the Intelligence Branch at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which has now become a part of the Canada Border Services Agency. This Award recognizes Lynn’s outstanding role in handling a series of critical initiatives supporting Canada’s effort under the Smart Border Action Plan with the United States. In the wake of September 11, 2001, CIC undertook discussions with the US on the issue of visa coordination as part of the Smart Border Task Force. Lynn was charged with coordinating the largest visa review undertaken in a single year in the history of CIC. Her analysis of threats and risks was key to the decision-making behind the imposition of visitor visas on ten countries, as well as the decision not to impose visas on a number of others. Lynn was also responsible for overseeing the development of an implementation strategy responding to a review of the Immigration Control Officer (ICO) Program overseas. She developed the concept of a “Migration Integrity Program” that would expand traditional interdiction work. Her recommendations resulted in the creation of an enhanced anti-fraud program and broader intelligence reporting at this critical time. Increasingly, the line between domestic and foreign policy is indistinguishable. Lynn has demonstrated the best of the “new” Foreign Service in her ability to draw together domestic and foreign policy objectives to further Canadian interests. She has done so with quiet determination, a keen understanding of the broader issues and a firm and steady hand, a performance worthy of this Award.
Ted Parsons, Estate Planning Advisor, TD Private Client Centre and Éric Mercier
Éric Mercier is being honoured with a PAFSO Award this year for his outstanding performance while posted to Amman, Jordan, from 2001 to 2004. During this time, Eric was responsible for the full breadth of Canada’s relations with Iraq, before, during and after the fall of Saddam Hussein, culminating in temporary duty in Baghdad from September 2003 until February 2004. Throughout the first two years of his assignment, Eric handled the full spectrum of our relations with Iraq, including political analysis and consular affairs and providing Ottawa’s policy makers with highly credible analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the previous regime at that critical period. Eric was thus the logical choice when Ottawa needed someone on the ground in Iraq last fall. During the four and a half months of his TD, in a Baghdad that was still a war zone, Eric served as Canadian liaison officer to the Council for International Cooperation, established by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and played a key role in planning the Madrid conference last October. His reports to Canada during this time displayed his creativity and ability to get the job done. Information obtained through his network in Iraq has helped Canada identify the most pressing needs for reconstruction and he has played a vital role in helping the CPA coordinate donor assistance. He has enriched our knowledge of the CPA planning process immeasurably. By literally putting himself in the line of fire, Eric has demonstrated service above and beyond the call of duty – service deserving of a PAFSO Award.