The UCLA Center for Middle East Development hosted the event, "Once a Mediator: Reflections on Canada's Past Role in the Middle East Peace Process," on August 31, 2021.
Canada once played an important role in Israel-Palestine peacebuilding. From 1992 to 2000, it was intensively involved in the multilateral part of the Middle East Peace Process, notably as chair of the Refugee Working Group and sponsor of the Track II Ottawa Process of negotiations. Important later contributions include the No Name Group and Jerusalem Old City Initiative. In this live event, former Canadian officials and contributors to the special edition Canadian Foreign Policy Journal about Canada and the Middle East Peace Process and Palestinians, Michael J. Molloy, Andrew Robinson, and David Viveash, reflected on past peace negotiations and what the international community can learn from them going forward. Dr. Jeremy Wildeman moderated. Brief presentations were followed by audience Q&A.
PANELIST— Michael J. Molloy has 35 years of experience in international and refugee affairs. He was an advisor to the Canadian chaired Middle East Peace Process Refugee Working Group. Following Director General assignments in Ottawa and Toronto, he was appointed Ambassador to Jordan from 1996 to 2000, and was Canada's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process from 2000 to 2003, focusing on the Palestinian refugee problem. His post-retirement publications include three books on Jerusalem — “Track Two Diplomacy and Jerusalem,” “Governance and Security in Jerusalem,” and “Contested Sites in Jerusalem”— and “Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees 1975-80.”
PANELIST— Andrew N. Robinson is a retired Canadian diplomat. His postings in the Middle East have included Beirut from 1980 to 1982, Deputy Head of Mission in Cairo from 1985 to 1988, and as Ambassador to Jordan from 1992 to 1995. His Ottawa assignments with External Affairs have included Director of the Middle East Relations Division from 1988 to 1992, and Director-General for the Middle East Peace Process from 1995 to 2000. In the latter capacity, he acted on behalf of Canada as the Gavel-holder, or chairperson, of the Refugee Working Group in the Middle East Peace Process. He has authored articles about Canada's Middle East policy in the Journal of Refugee Studies (1997), International Journal (2011), and the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (2021).
PANELIST— David Viveash is a retired Canadian diplomat. He participated in the multilateral Middle East Peace Process as a member of the Refugee Working Group team and headed Canadian delegations to the Environment, Regional Economic Development, and Water Resources Working Groups. In the region, he served as Head of the Political Section at the Canadian Embassy in Israel from 1995 to 1998, Ambassador to Libya from 2003 to 2006, and Canadian Representative to the Palestinian Authority from 2006 to 2008. Following retirement, he was involved in the Jerusalem Old City Initiative (JOCI) and headed The Carter Center Field Office for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory from 2011 to 2013.
MODERATOR— Dr. Jeremy Wildeman is an analyst of global and Middle East politics, human security, and critical development aid. His specializations include the impact of foreign aid on the Palestinians and Canada’s relationship with the Middle East. At the universities of Exeter, Bath, and Ottawa, he has explored in-depth the nexus of humanitarian, development, security, and peacebuilding aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He completed several major works on Canada’s relationship with the Palestinians and Middle East. Dr. Wildeman has extensive field experience delivering aid in the West Bank from 2002 to 2011. He is guest editor of the 2021 thematic special edition of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal: “Canada’s Engagement with the Middle East Peace Process and the Palestinians.”