Colin Robertson

A former Canadian diplomat, Colin Robertson is Senior Advisor to  Dentons LLP.  He is Vice President and Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute  and host of CGAI’s Global Exchange regular podcast He is Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and  a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University. He is an Honorary Captain (Royal Canadian Navy) assigned to the Strategic Communications Directorate. Living in Ottawa, Robertson focuses on Canadian global policies. He writes  a regular column on international affairs for the Globe and Mail and he is a frequent contributor to other media.

Robertson sits on the advisory councils of  the Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy,  Conference of Defence Associations Institute , North  American Research Partnership  , the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa . He is a member of the Deputy Minister of International Trade’s NAFTA Advisory Council.  He served (2009-2016) on the board, including as chair and vice-chair,  of Canada World Youth   He is a long-time member and former president (2009-11) of the National Capital Branch of the Canadian International Council Robertson is a former member of Carleton’s President’s Advisory Council and a current member of the NPSIA Advisory Council. He is honorary chair of the Canada Arizona Business Council. He is a member of the Retired Heads of Mission Association,.

A career foreign service officer from 1977-2010, he served as first Head of the Advocacy Secretariat and Minister at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and Consul General in Los Angeles, with previous assignments as Consul and Counsellor in Hong Kong and in New York at the UN and Consulate General. In his final assignment he directed a project at Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law with the support of the Federal and Provincial Governments and the private sector on Canada-US Engagement. A member of the team that negotiated the Canada-US FTA and NAFTA he is co-author of Decision at Midnight: The Inside Story of the Canada-US FTA (1996). He is co-editor of Diplomacy in the Digital Age: Essays in honour of Ambassador Allan Gotlieb (2011). He has taught at Carleton University, Queen’s University Public Executive Program and the Canada School of Public Service. He served as president of the Historica Foundation. He was editor of bout de papier: Canada’s Journal of Foreign Service and Diplomacyand president of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers.

Robertson was awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle (2016) , Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), Alberta Centennial Medal (2005), the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2006), the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association ‘Friend of the Industry’ (2004), and the distinguished alumnus award from the University of Manitoba (2004).

Robertson was given the “Hot Potato Award” for helping to increase collaboration between U.S. and Canada organizations and stakeholders at the 2012 Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Summi.

His smartest decision was marrying his wife Maureen Boyd, a Vancouverite, former journalist and communications consultant. They have three children, Allison, Sean and Conor. Robertson reads voraciously, runs, swims, cycles, cross-country skis. A series of what Lemony Snicket would describe as ‘unfortunate circumstances’ have left him with low vision. This  has obliged him to give up  tennis,  a sport he enjoyed but played badly.