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Panel — A Global Roundtable on the Future of Aviation Policy

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On November 25, the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy (IPD) will host ‘A Global Roundtable on the Future of Aviation Policy’ in collaboration with InterVISTAS. The virtual panel will be held at 12 PM EDT / 9 AM PDT and can be watched live on Zoom. Registration is required through this page.

This panel brings together a group of global leaders, policy thinkers and decision-makers to discuss the future of aviation policy. Guiding questions include:

  • Are international institutions, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, well-equipped to cope with rapid changes to the global aviation ecosystem?
  • What is the meaning of sustainability in a post-pandemic world? What changes can we expect to see domestically in terms of regulatory trends, adoption of the climate change agenda, and geopolitical alignments?
  • As governments struggle to contain COVID-19 and the aviation sector continues to suffer financially, are we likely to enter an era of contained liberalization, aero-political wars, and forced institutional convergence?

Registration is mandatory to attend. Reserve your spot for free, here.

Date: November 25, 2020

Time: 12 PM EST / 9 AM PDT

Violeta Bulc

Curator of Ecocivilisation, EU Commissioner for Transport (2014-2020), and Deputy Prime Minister of Republic of Slovenia (2014). Entrepreneur, innovator, engineer, author, and traveller through space and time. As a former European Commissioner for Transport, her policy goals aimed at making mobility solutions environmentally friendly, competitive and inclusive, to create jobs, growth and maintain social fairness. She is particularly interested in creating networks and developing strategies that address societal demands for greater connectivity, mobility and global awareness. She has a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and Informatics from University of Ljubljana and a Master of Science in Information Technology from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California. She is a black belt in Tae-Kwan-Do and Hap-Ki-Do.

Anita Mosner

Partner in Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office and practices in the areas of aviation law, competition and international law. Anita is the co-chair of the firm’s Transportation and Infrastructure Industry Sector Group and is also is a leader of the Aviation Team. With a background in consulting as well as law, Anita has a deep understanding of the aviation business that has sharpened her ability to tackle complex business disputes and operational problems. Anita regularly represents airlines, airports and other aviation-related businesses. She has advised several major international airports and played a leading role in the development of several major airline alliances and joint ventures, assisting with the negotiation and documentation of such arrangements. She has extensive experience in aeropolitical matters, including international aviation negotiations and disputes. She is a graduate of Boston University School of Law.

David Sprecher

Head of the Aviation, Transportation and Tourism practice at Shibolet Law, based in Tel-Aviv, David has more than 25 years experience in aviation and tourism law. He advises major industry actors in Israel, Europe, North Africa and the Gulf Region. He serves as legal expert in various parliamentary commissions such as the Economic Commission of the Knesset. He regularly contributes to the drafting of civil aviation legislation and he is well versed with European institutions and major European airlines, often corresponding with high-ranked European officials. David also serves as senior lecturer in various universities and business schools across France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Morocco and India. He also heads the Aviation and Tourism Law Commission at the Israel Bar Association. He speaks 6 languages and he loves visiting food markets around the globe to grab the best available spices for delicious meals to share with family and friends.

Juan Carlos Salazar

An air transportation law expert and CEO-Level civil aviation executive, Juan Carlos has over 26 years of unique experience in international aviation negotiations, management and public policies. He is the Chief Executive (CEO) of the Colombia Civil Aviation Authority, was a Senior Advisor to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Civil Aviation Authority for more than 10 years, and has advanced degrees from Harvard University (Master in Public Administration – MPA) and McGill University (Master in Air and Space Law – LLM). He is fluent in Spanish, English and French, and speaks Arabic. Juan Carlos Salazar is also the former President of the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission. Juan Carlos has led the Aviation COVID 19 Crisis Management team in Colombia since the early days of the outbreak, implementing inter-agency coordination mechanisms, with private and public institutions from different sectors.

Pablo Mendes de Leon

Professor of the International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University, Pablo works at one of the leading international scientific research and teaching institutes in the world, specializing in legal and policy issues regarding aviation and space activities. In addition to his duties as Director of the International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University, Pablo Mendes de Leon maintains a vast range of memberships in organizations that work to combine law and practice of aviation law and policy. For instance, he is President of the European Air Law Association, Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore and the University of Bordeaux, France. He is also Member of the Panel of Experts at the Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, Member of the Court of Commercial Arbitration, Bucharest, Romania, Member of the Dutch Aviation Accident Board, a Board Member of the magazines Air and Space Law, Journal of Air Law and Commerce and the Italian ANIA Insurance Newsletter, and the Director of the Series of Publications in International Aviation Law and Policy with Kluwer Law International. He is the author of a large number of publications on topical issues regarding aviation law and policy.

Marcelo Garcia

Currently Senior Director at InterVISTAS Consulting Inc., Marcelo has broad experience in policy and global advocacy matters in regulated industries. On the aviation front, he has worked with Canada’s Department of Transport – based in Ottawa, Canada – and with Qatar Airways’ aeropolitical and regulatory affairs – based in Doha, Qatar. He has advised airlines and industry associations on a wide array of legal and regulatory issues such as regional airspace disputes, international public air law, state subsidies, passenger rights, airline partnership agreements and air service agreements. He has also advised the Canadian government on airline joint ventures and competition law. Marcelo’s integrated approach to global advocacy has led him to coordinate and deploy market access efforts in Australia, India, Japan, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Kenya and Namibia, among others. He has also designed governance frameworks for airline programs such as new stations, airport incentives, and the management of foreign air operator permits. He holds a Master of Laws from McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law in Montreal. He has also earned common law and civil law degrees from McGill University.

This panel is part of the IPD discussions series on the impact of COVID-19 on international peace and security. This discussion series is supported by the Department of National Defence’s Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program.


Panel 4: Pathways to Manage Non-Proliferation in the Middle East (4:30 PM - 5:45 PM ET)

The Western powers have failed to effectively manage the increasing threat of proliferation in the Middle East. While the international community is concerned with Iran’s nuclear program, Saudi Arabia has moved forward with developing its own nuclear program, and independent studies show that Israel has longed possessed dozens of nuclear warheads. The former is a member of the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), while the latter has refused to sign the international agreement. 

On Middle East policy, the Biden campaign had staunchly criticized the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal and it has begun re-engaging Iran on the nuclear dossier since assuming office in January 2021. However, serious obstacles remain for responsible actors in expanding non-proliferation efforts toward a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. 

This panel will discuss how Western powers and multilateral institutions, such as the IAEA, can play a more effective role in managing non-proliferation efforts in the Middle East.  


Peggy Mason: Canada’s former Ambassador to the UN for Disarmament

Mark Fitzpatrick: Associate Fellow & Former Executive Director, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)

Ali Vaez: Iran Project Director, International Crisis Group

Negar Mortazavi: Journalist and Political Analyst, Host of Iran Podcast

David Albright: Founder and President of the Institute for Science and International Security


Closing (5:45 PM – 6:00 PM ET)

Panel 3: Trade and Business Diplomacy in the Middle East (3:00 PM - 4:15 PM ET)

What is the current economic landscape in the Middle East? While global foreign direct investment is expected to fall drastically in the post-COVID era, the World Bank reported a 5% contraction in the economic output of the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries in 2020 due to the pandemic. While oil prices are expected to rebound with normalization in demand, political instability, regional and geopolitical tensions, domestic corruption, and a volatile regulatory and legal environment all threaten economic recovery in the Middle East. What is the prospect for economic growth and development in the region post-pandemic, and how could MENA nations promote sustainable growth and regional trade moving forward?

At the same time, Middle Eastern diaspora communities have become financially successful and can help promote trade between North America and the region. In this respect, the diaspora can become vital intermediaries for advancing U.S. and Canada’s business interests abroad. Promoting business diplomacy can both benefit the MENA region and be an effective and positive way to advance engagement and achieve foreign policy goals of the North Atlantic.

This panel will investigate the trade and investment opportunities in the Middle East, discuss how facilitating economic engagement with the region can benefit Canadian and American national interests, and explore relevant policy prescriptions.


Hon. Sergio Marchi: Canada’s Former Minister of International Trade

Scott Jolliffe: Chairperson, Canada Arab Business Council

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj: Founder and Publisher of Bourse & Bazaar

Nizar Ghanem: Director of Research and Co-founder at Triangle

Nicki Siamaki: Researcher at Control Risks

Panel 2: Arms Race and Terrorism in the Middle East (12:00 PM - 1:15 PM ET)

The Middle East continues to grapple with violence and instability, particularly in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Fueled by government incompetence and foreign interventions, terrorist insurgencies have imposed severe humanitarian and economic costs on the region. Meanwhile, regional actors have engaged in an unprecedented pursuit of arms accumulation. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have imported billions of both Western and Russian-made weapons and funded militant groups across the region, intending to contain their regional adversaries, particularly Iran. Tehran has also provided sophisticated weaponry to various militia groups across the region to strengthen its geopolitical position against Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel. 

On the other hand, with international terrorist networks and intense regional rivalry in the Middle East, it is impractical to discuss peace and security without addressing terrorism and the arms race in the region. This panel will primarily discuss the implications of the ongoing arms race in the region and the role of Western powers and multilateral organizations in facilitating trust-building security arrangements among regional stakeholders to limit the proliferation of arms across the Middle East.



Luciano Zaccara: Assistant Professor, Qatar University

Dania Thafer: Executive Director, Gulf International Forum

Kayhan Barzegar: Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Science and Research Branch of Azad University

Barbara Slavin: Director of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council

Sanam Shantyaei: Senior Journalist at France24 & host of Middle East Matters

Panel 1: Future of Diplomacy and Engagement in the Middle East (10:30 AM-11:45 AM ET)

The emerging regional order in West Asia will have wide-ranging implications for global security. The Biden administration has begun re-engaging Iran on the nuclear dossier, an initiative staunchly opposed by Israel, while also taking a harder line on Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen. Meanwhile, key regional actors, including Qatar, Iraq, and Oman, have engaged in backchannel efforts to bring Iran and Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table. From a broader geopolitical perspective, with the need to secure its energy imports, China is also expected to increase its footprint in the region and influence the mentioned challenges. 

In this evolving landscape, Western powers will be compelled to redefine their strategic priorities and adjust their policies with the new realities in the region. In this panel, we will discuss how the West, including the United States and its allies, can utilize multilateral diplomacy with its adversaries to prevent military escalation in the region. Most importantly, the panel will discuss if a multilateral security dialogue in the Persian Gulf region, proposed by some regional actors, can help reduce tensions among regional foes and produce sustainable peace and development for the region. 


Abdullah Baabood: Academic Researcher and Former Director of the Centre for Gulf Studies, Qatar University

Trita Parsi: Executive Vice-President, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Ebtesam Al-Ketbi: President, Emirates Policy Centre​

Jon Allen: Canada’s Former Ambassador to Israel

Elizabeth Hagedorn: Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor

Panel 4: Humanitarian Diplomacy: An Underused Foreign Policy Tool in the Middle East (4:30 PM - 5:30 PM ET)

Military interventions, political and economic instabilities, and civil unrest in the Middle East have led to a global refugee crisis with an increasing wave of refugees and asylum seekers to Europe and Canada. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has, in myriad ways, exacerbated and contributed to the ongoing security threats and destabilization of the region.

While these challenges pose serious risks to Canadian security, Ottawa will also have the opportunity to limit such risks and prevent a spillover effect vis-à-vis effective humanitarian initiatives in the region. In this panel, we will primarily investigate Canada’s Middle East Strategy’s degree of success in providing humanitarian aid to the region. Secondly, the panel will discuss what programs and initiatives Canada can introduce to further build on the renewed strategy. and more specifically, how Canada can utilize its policy instruments to more effectively deal with the increasing influx of refugees from the Middle East. 



Erica Di Ruggiero: Director of Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto

Reyhana Patel: Head of Communications & Government Relations, Islamic Relief Canada

Amir Barmaki: Former Head of UN OCHA in Iran

Catherine Gribbin: Senior Legal Advisor for International and Humanitarian Law, Canadian Red Cross

Panel 3: A Review of Canada’s Middle East Engagement and Defense Strategy (3:00 PM - 4:15 PM ET)

In 2016, Canada launched an ambitious five-year “Middle East Engagement Strategy” (2016-2021), committing to investing CA$3.5 billion over five years to help establish the necessary conditions for security and stability, alleviate human suffering and enable stabilization programs in the region. In the latest development, during the meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau announced more than $43.6 million in Peace and Stabilization Operations Program funding for 11 projects in Syria and Iraq.

With Canada’s Middle East Engagement Strategy expiring this year, it is time to examine and evaluate this massive investment in the Middle East region in the past five years. More importantly, the panel will discuss a principled and strategic roadmap for the future of Canada’s short-term and long-term engagement in the Middle East.


Ferry de Kerckhove: Canada’s Former Ambassador to Egypt

Dennis Horak: Canada’s Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Chris Kilford: Former Canadian Defence Attaché in Turkey, member of the national board of the Canadian International Council (CIC)

David Dewitt: University Professor Emeritus, York University

Panel 2: The Great Power Competition in the Middle East (12:00 PM - 1:15 PM ET)

While the United States continues to pull back from certain regional conflicts, reflected by the Biden administration’s decision to halt American backing for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen and the expected withdrawal from Afghanistan, US troops continue to be stationed across the region. Meanwhile, Russia and China have significantly maintained and even expanded their regional activities. On one hand, the Kremlin has maintained its military presence in Syria, and on the other hand, China has signed an unprecedented 25-year strategic agreement with Iran.

As the global power structure continues to shift, it is essential to analyze the future of the US regional presence under the Biden administration, explore the emerging global rivalry with Russia and China, and at last, investigate the implications of such competition for peace and security in the Middle East.


Dmitri Trenin: Director of Carnegie Moscow Center

Joost R. Hiltermann: Director of MENA Programme, International Crisis Group

Roxane Farmanfarmaian: Affiliated Lecturer in International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa, University of Cambridge

Andrew A. Michta: Dean of the College of International and Security Studies at Marshall Center

Kelley Vlahos: Senior Advisor, Quincy Institute

Panel 1: A New Middle East Security Architecture in the Making (10:30 AM -11:45 AM ET)

The security architecture of the Middle East has undergone rapid transformations in an exceptionally short period. Notable developments include the United States gradual withdrawal from the region, rapprochement between Israel and some GCC states through the Abraham Accords and the rise of Chinese and Russian regional engagement.

With these new trends in the Middle East, it is timely to investigate the security implications of the Biden administration’s Middle East policy. In this respect, we will discuss the Biden team’s new approach vis-à-vis Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. The panel will also discuss the role of other major powers, including China and Russia in shaping this new security environment in the region, and how the Biden administration will respond to these powers’ increasing regional presence.



Sanam Vakil: Deputy Director of MENA Programme at Chatham House

Denise Natali: Acting Director, Institute for National Strategic Studies & Director of the Center for Strategic Research, National Defense University

Hassan Ahmadian: Professor of the Middle East and North Africa Studies, University of Tehran

Abdulaziz Sagar: Chairman, Gulf Research Center

Andrew Parasiliti: President, Al-Monitor