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The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD) is a Canadian non-profit and non-partisan foreign policy think tank dedicated to promoting sustainable peace through diplomacy, dialogue, and constructive engagement. 

Mission Statement

Since the end of the Cold War, North Atlantic foreign policy has experienced an intellectual fatigue and moral complacency that increasingly threatens its credibility and relevance in the post-COVID age—a world characterized by heightened international resistance to global hegemony coupled with new great powers competing for influence and recognition. 

In a time as dynamic and transformative as ours then, there is a critical need for provocative, unconventional, and independent voices in statecraft and foreign policy. IPD aims to address this deficit by cultivating a network of experts, scholars, and practitioners who are ready to provide fresh perspectives and constructive ideas to resolve global security challenges and manage the coming great power competition through peaceful means. In doing so, we believe it necessary to engage with questions of ‘power’ and the Atlantic bloc’s ‘role in the world’ in a more systematic, objective, and policy-sensitive manner—bridging the wide gap between theory and practice in North Atlantic foreign policy.

IPD regards ‘par in parem non habet imperium’ (Latin for “equals have no dominion over each other”), a maxim that affirms the sovereign status of independent states, to be the founding principle of international law. The international system is not a zero-sum winner-take-all prize to be won or a battlespace to be dominated. A healthy conception of national interest that recognizes the sovereignty and equality of all nations and cultures of the world is foundational to a new foreign policy premised on: 1) tolerance for cultural pluralism and different ways of life, 2) enthusiasm for diplomatic engagement and other non-coercive instruments of power, and 3) a commitment to military restraint.

Through its publications, conferences, policy briefings, and recommendations, IPD will encourage policymakers, and leaders in government, civil society, and business community to adopt a more restrained and open-minded approach in managing the strategic challenges and geopolitical risks of the 21st century.

Meet the Team

Bijan Ahmadi

Executive Director

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Younes Zangiabadi

Executive Vice President

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Arta Moeini

Research Director

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Alexandra Slobodov

Research Associate

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Zachary Paikin

Research Fellow

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Bailey Cordrey

Research and Communications Associate

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Pouyan Kimiayjan

Research Associate

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Christopher Mott

Research Fellow

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Advisory Board

Peggy Mason, Advisor | Canadian Foreign Policy, Nuclear Non-Proliferation


Peggy Mason’s career highlights diplomatic and specialist expertise in the field of international peace and security, with a particular emphasis on the United Nations, where she served as Canada’s Ambassador for Disarmament from 1989 to 1995.

Since 1996 Ms. Mason has been involved in many aspects of UN peacekeeping training, including the development of ground breaking UN principles on the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former fighters, the reform of UN arms embargoes and the dramatic evolution of UN peacekeeping in the 21st century. Until 2014, she regularly brought the UN political/diplomatic perspective to a range of UN, NATO and EU training exercises to help prepare military commanders for complex multidisciplinary peace and crisis stabilization operations.

For 10 years Peggy Mason was a Senior Fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University, where she lectured, participated in training for Iraqi and Kuwaiti diplomats and chaired the Advisory Board of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance (CCTC). She has long been active in a range of Canadian non-governmental organizations engaged in foreign policy, peacebuilding and global governance issues. A graduate and gold medallist of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law, Peggy Mason was inducted into its Honour Society in September 2003. Peggy Mason is currently the president of the Rideau Institute. In October of 2019 she was elected Vice-President of the prestigious Canadian Pugwash Group.

Prof. Wenran Jiang, Advisor | Asia Program, Canada-China Relations


Named by the Alberta Venture magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in Alberta for 2014, Dr. Wenran Jiang is the President of Canada-China Energy and Environment Forum. He organized 13 large-scale annual conferences between Canada and China on energy and environmental issues between 2004 and 2017.

He was a tenured professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Before he took early retirement, Dr. Jiang was also a Japan Foundation Fellow, a Resident Fellow and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, Special Advisor to Alberta Department of Energy on Asian market diversification. He also served as Special Advisor on China to the US and Canada based Energy Council, a visiting professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the School of Business, China University of Petroleum (Beijing). During his tenure as the Founding Director (2005-08) of the University’s China Institute, Dr. Jiang played a leading role in securing a donation of $37.2 million permanent endowment from the Alberta government.

In recent years, Dr. Jiang has advised government agencies, private companies in the energy, mining, forestry and agricultural sectors on Asian market access and how to engage China, with a particular focus on energy efficiency and environmentally friendly technologies. He is currently completing a book on why Canada needs to diversify its energy market to Asia.

Prof. David Dewitt | Middle East and Asia Pacific


David Dewitt is University Professor Emeritus, York University.  He served two terms as York’s Associate Vice-President Research and for 18 years was director of York University’s Centre for International & Security Studies (YCISS). From 2011 to 2015 Dewitt was on leave of absence to serve as Vice-President Research & Programs at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).  During his 2015-16 sabbatical year, he was Distinguished Visiting Professor, Canadian Forces College where he continues as Adjunct Professor. 

Dewitt has authored publications covering Canadian foreign, defence and security policy, international security politics with particular reference to the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions, arms control and disarmament, proliferation, and human security.  With Paul Evans he directed Canada’s North Pacific Cooperative Security Dialogue (NPCSD), was co-founder of Canadian Consortium for Asia Pacific Security (CANCAPS) and of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP). 

He served as chair for PISA (Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia, Sigur Center, George Washington University).  He spent a sabbatical year as a visiting scholar, the Dayan Centre Center for Middle East & Africa Studies and the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (now the INSS) at Tel-Aviv University, has been an international research fellow at the Korean Institute for Defense Analysis (Seoul), as well as a visiting lecturer variously in Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, Syria, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


Haig Sarafian | Middle East


Haig Sarafian is a retired Canadian career diplomat who had five overseas postings in the Arab world, Baghdad, Tunis, Damascus, Beirut and Tripoli/ Libya, the latter two as Ambassador. In the early 80s he was the Deputy Director of the Middle East division in Ottawa and also had other postings in Peru, Brazil and France. In Canada, Sarafian also served as the Director-General of the International Trade Center in Montreal, Executive Director of the Learning & Innovation Fund as well as Director of Protocol. Mr. Sarafian retired in 2010. Mr. Sarafian graduated from Université de Montreal.

Dr. Luciano Zaccara | Middle East, GCC


Dr. Luciano Zaccara is an Assistant Professor in Gulf Politics at the Qatar University, Gulf Studies Center. Also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University in Qatar, and Director of the Observatory on Politics and Elections in the Arab and Muslim World in Spain.

He obtained a BA in Political Science from the National University of Rosario, Argentina, and a PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies from Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain. He has been also a post-doctoral fellow at the Autonoma University of Barcelona; a Visiting Researcher at the University of Exeter, Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies; and a Visiting Researcher at Princeton University, Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.

His research interests are Iranian Politics and Foreign Policy; Gulf Politics; International Relations in the Persian Gulf; and Electoral Systems in the MENA region.

His latest publication is “Foreign Policy of Iran under President Hassan Rouhani’s First Term (2013–2017)”, Zaccara, Luciano (Ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Prof. Alan Whiteside | Canada’s Role on the Global Stage Program, Health Diplomacy


Dr. Whiteside, OBE, was CIGI Chair in Global Health Policy from December 2012-December 2018. He is a Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of International Policy and Governance and at the BSIA.

Alan is an internationally recognized academic and AIDS researcher. He holds a B.A. in development studies and an M.A. in development economics, both from the University of East Anglia and a D.Econ. from the University of Natal (KwaZulu-Natal). He began his professional career as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow working as a planning officer (economist) in the Ministry of Finance and Development, Gaborone, Botswana from 1980 to 1983. In 1983 he was appointed as a Research Fellow in the Economic Research Unit of the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal), and in 1998 he established the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division where he was the executive director. He is a Professor Emeritus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

In 1990, Whiteside started the AIDS Analysis Africa newsletter and was the editor until 2002. He is the co-author of numerous articles and books. His most recent book is his second edition of HIV and AIDS: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press 2016).

Alan has carried out training around the world and has worked across Africa, Ukraine and parts of Asia. In 2003, he was appointed by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Commission for HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa. Other academic appointments include: Visiting Professor, School of Medicine Liverpool University, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Southampton and Visiting Fellow, University of East Anglia. He was an elected member of the governing council of the International AIDS Society from 2000 to 2012. He is a member of the Governing Council of Waterford Kamhlaba United World College in Swaziland. In 2015 he was invested as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Jocelyn Coulon | Canada’s Role on the Global Stage Program


Jocelyn Coulon, Research Fellow at the Montreal Centre for International Studies (CERIUM), is an analyst, author and researcher, specializing in peace operations and Canadian foreign policy. He was a foreign affairs advisor for Justin Trudeau in 2014-2015, and a senior policy advisor to foreign minister Stephane Dion in 2016-2017. He is the author of Canada is Not Back: How Justin Trudeau is in Over His Head on Foreign Policy, Lorimer, 2019.

In the past few years, he has published a number of books, including, in 1998, Soldiers of Diplomacy. The United Nations, Peacekeeping, and The New World Order, University of Toronto Press, and in 2020, À quoi sert le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies?, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal. 

He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI).