Back to top

Updates on Policy Implementation - International Assistance and Trade

Gender Equality, Inclusive Governance and the Law: Aligned for a Better World

2018 Annual Conference, January 22-23, 2018 

125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON

Tuesday January 23, 2017 - 9:00am - Opening Session


Session: Updates on Policy Implementation - International Assistance and Trade


Chair: Julian Murray senior strategic planner and evaluator

Deirdre Kent, Director General, International Assistance Policy, Global Affairs

Nancy Smyth, Director General, Social Development Bureau, Global Issues and Development Branch, Global Affairs Canada

David Usher, Director General, Trade Negotiations, Global Affairs Canada


Since Minister Freeland announced Canada’s foreign policy priorities in June of last year, the various divisions of Global Affairs Canada have been deliberating over implementation. Its a large undertaking and remains a work in progress. In this session we ask three individuals well placed in the department to brief us on developments to date in two policy areas:  international assistance and trade.


Julian Murray is senior strategic planner and evaluator. After an initial career with UNHCR and then 26 years with the Canadian Government (CIDA), including field postings in Sudan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, since 2013 Mr Murray has worked as a senior consultant for UN agencies in Africa and Asia. His professional focus is country-level strategic planning in humanitarian contexts, and humanitarian evaluation – with specialisation in humanitarian protection and programming at the nexus between the humanitarian and development domains. Mr Murray is a Board Member of the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals, and a member of the Canadian Evaluation Society.  



Deirdre Kent is the Director General for International Assistance Policy within Global Affairs Canada responsible for the advancement of strategic development policy and emerging issues, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Since joining the Foreign Service in 1994, Ms. Kent’s career has focussed on multilateral diplomacy including international development policy, peace and security issues and human rights. From 2012-2015, she was responsible for operational responses to complex crises, police and civilian deployments and program finances with the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) which coordinated Canada’s whole-of-government engagement for stabilization and reconstruction in fragile and conflict-affected states. Her last overseas assignment was as Human Rights Counsellor at the Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 2002 to 2006, where she was elected Rapporteur for the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 2005.   She has also served abroad in Israel and the West Bank/Gaza.

Deirdre Kent holds a Bachelor of Science and an International Masters of Business Administration (MBA).  She is married with two children.

Nancy Smyth is Director General for Social Development at Global Affairs Canada.  Her Bureau acts as the thematic policy lead for education, gender equality and preventing violence and harmful practices across Canada’s development assistance programs, provides specialist advice and guidance to programs, and manages Canada’s multilateral and global programming in these sectors.  She is also responsible for strategic planning, coordination and reporting for all multilateral development programming and for leading multilateral effectiveness and results-based management.  In addition to holding other management positions at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in policy planning and corporate change management, Nancy has worked in other Canadian government departments leading international policy coordination for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada and overseeing performance reporting on the delivery of Aboriginal labour market programs with Employment and Social Development Canada.  She also spent over 10 years with Canada's International Development Research Centre in program, partnership and policy positions and held policy and program positions within the non-governmental community before joining government. Nancy has lived and worked in South Africa and Kenya, and managed or contributed to development projects in many other countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas. 

David Usher (BA Hons. [History], Carleton University, Ottawa, 1979; B.Ed., University of Ottawa, Ottawa, 1980; and M.Ed., Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, 1986) prior to joining the Public Service in 1991, worked in the field of development in Nigeria, Malawi, Haiti and the Philippines.  In 1991 he joined the Department of External Affairs and International Trade as a Trade Commissioner.  From 1994 to 1997 he served as Second Secretary in the Canadian Embassy in Turkey.  In 2001 he became Counsellor at the Canadian Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization, in Geneva.  From 2004 to 2008 he was Director of the Trade Controls Policy Division and later Director of the Softwood Lumber Controls Division.  From 2008 to 2009, he was Senior Departmental Advisor in the Office of the Minister of International Trade. From 2009 to 2012 he was Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative at the Canadian Permanent Mission to the OECD in Paris. In 2012 he was named Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Djibouti and the African Union. He served as ambassador until September 2015 when he returned to Ottawa to take up his new responsibilities as Director General, Trade Negotiations in Global Affairs Canada.