Diplomacy and Race: A Black Canadian Diplomat in the Southern U.S.

Second University of Alberta Diversity in Diplomacy webinar addresses key issue of race.

UAlberta International - 25 August 2020

On August 25, 2020, Canadian Consul General to the Southeast USA Nadia Theodore was the guest speaker for the second webinar in the University of Alberta's Diversity in Diplomacy speaker series. The consul general shared her experience with race and diplomacy in conversation with Prof. Lois Harder, Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, and Prof. Susanne Luhmann, Director of the Intersections of Gender Signature Area.


During the conversation, Consul General Theodore speaks openly about her experience as a Black woman leading a Canadian mission abroad, being only the 2nd Black woman to do so. She comments on race relations in Canada vs the U.S. and what Canada and Canadians need to work on when it comes to race, including being willing to listen, have courage, and be uncomfortable. When it comes to diplomacy under COVID-19, Consul General Theodore notes that leading based on values is key to her. She also provides her recommendations for students interested in becoming diplomats and explains what she hopes her legacy for the Canadian foreign service will be.


Nadia Theodore has served as Canada's Consul General in Atlanta since September 2017. Prior to her appointment, she served as Executive Director to Canada's Deputy Minister of International Trade, as well as at Canada's Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization and at Canada's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. With over 20 years experience in the Canadian federal public service, Consul General Theodore has made advancing inclusion in the workplace a personal priority. She is committed to making sure that the public service is included in the global conversation on building inclusive teams, including at senior levels.


During the webinar, Consul General Theodore let the audience know that she will be leaving the foreign service in a few weeks to take up a position in Canadian industry.


The Diversity in Diplomacy series is jointly organized by the University of Alberta's Intersections of Gender Signature Area, the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, and University of Alberta International. In moderated online conversations with Canadian and foreign ambassadors, high commissioners, and consuls general, the series explores diplomatic service through the lens of intersectionality, encourages students from diverse backgrounds to consider diplomatic careers, and leads national and international conversations on the role of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in improving foreign policy outcomes.


View the recording: