OFIP announces greatly expanded Council of Advisors

The Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine relies on a 25 member Council of Advisors for support, advice, assistance, guidance and sometimes even help. It is composed of a wide range of Canadians from diplomats to religious leaders, from retired military to political commentators. We are delighted to announce that another twelve eminent Canadians have joined the council in 2022. Read more.

Figuring out how to move the dial forward on the complicated and emotional issue of Israel/Palestine is not an easy task. There are not only divergent views on who is right and who is wrong, but also on how to promote a thoughtful discussion in Canada.

For this reason, OFIP created in 2017 a Council of Advisors, drawn from a range of occupations and community activities. We rely on their expertise for comments on our webinars, to critique our blog posts, and to help point us toward interesting resources.

We are pleased to announce the addition of twelve new members to our council, bringing the total membership to 37. Among the new members are some former diplomats with many years of experience in the region, academics, religious leaders from various faith communities and recognized Canadian leaders in human rights.

OFIP is proud to welcome these twelve new members

Robert Collette, a former senior Canadian diplomat. Highlights of his 18 years abroad include: Ambassador to Switzerland, Chief of Protocol for Canada, Sherpa for Francophonie; Ambassador to The Philippines; Head of Mission in Rome and Minister (Trade) in Beijing. In Ottawa, he was Director General, Investment, Science and Technology and Director, Trade and Investment for Africa/Middle East.

The Council of Advisors met for a social gathering in Ottawa in August

Chris Greenshields, a retired Canadian foreign service officer. First travelled to the Middle East in 1971-72 as a student.  Worked in Kibbutz Erez across from Gaza.  After joining the foreign service, he served in Canadian missions in the region, including Cairo, Tel Aviv and Ramallah. 

Ferry de Kerckhove, a former Canadian diplomat including High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ambassador to Indonesia and Egypt. Various positions at Global Affairs Canada including Director General policy planning and federal-provincial relations. Currently senior fellow and part-time professor, Ottawa University. 

Raja G. Khouri, CEO of Khouri Conversations, the founding president of the Canadian Arab Institute, board member at Project Rozana (Canada), and a former 10-year commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He is Canada Committee member of Human Rights Watch, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.

Michael Lynk, law professor at Western University in London, Ontario. Originally from Halifax, he practised as a labour lawyer in Ottawa and Toronto before becoming an academic. Between 2016 and 2022, he served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory. In this capacity, he delivered regular reports to the UN General Assembly in New York and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

David Mivasair, a retired rabbi with 30 years of service in synagogues and in spiritual care in Canada and the U.S.  David has lived in Israel for four different years beginning in 1971 and has visited twice in recent years with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2016 by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and is an active member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

Alex Neve, adjunct professor in international human rights law at the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University, and a Senior Fellow with the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He served as Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch from 2000 – 2020. He is a lawyer, with a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex. Alex is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Maya Papineau, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Economics, Carleton University, Ottawa. In addition to a longtime interest in human rights, her research interests lie at the intersection of environmental economics, energy economics, causal inference and applied econometrics

The Rev’d William Roberts (MDiv MBA) is ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada and has served in churches across Canada. He is also a former Alberta MLA. He began studying the Israel-Palestine issue in 1978 at Union Seminary in New York City doing a thesis on “Liberation Theology and the Palestinians’ for his Master of Divinity degree. From 2014 to 2016, he lived in Jerusalem as the interim director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre.

Michaël Séguin, Ph.D. Assistant professor at Saint Paul University School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. His dissertation analysed Israeli settler colonialism and the representation of Palestinians. His current research and teaching focus is on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in higher education and non-profit organizations.

Chuck Shields is retired from a career of leadership roles with national and international health organizations.   He is active with the Unitarian congregation in Ottawa and with the denomination nationally.

David Viveash, a former Canadian diplomat. He was part of Canada’s Middle East Peace Process headquarters team (1991-1995) and Head of the Political Section at the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv (1995-1998). Subsequently, he served as Canada’s first resident Ambassador in Libya (2003-2006) and as Canadian Representative to the Palestinian Authority (2006-2008). Following his retirement, he returned to the region as Director of The Carter Center’s Field Office for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (2011-2013). 

Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org


  1. That’s a great list Peter. OFIP is a wonderful forum with strong ripple effects in educating and solving problems.

  2. Hi Peter. A very impressive group of individuals indeed to add to the already stalwart group of 25.

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