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Helping Ottawa’s ‘hidden poor’

| December 1, 2010 | 0 Comments
Helping Ottawa’s ‘hidden poor’

  When the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade asked Ottawa’s foreign diplomatic community to help out by donating food to its second annual food fair, the diplomats responded enthusiastically. Robert Peck, outgoing chief of protocol, explained that the idea was to create a lunchtime international buffet that would raise money to contribute to […]

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To hell and back

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
To hell and back

Dien Bien Phu was made the capital of Lai Chau Province 17 years ago, but partly by default. The previous capital kept suffering devastating floods, caused partly by deforestation. It may soon disappear altogether under the reservoir of a huge hydro dam. But, of course, there was also another reason to elevate the status of […]

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The French debacle in Dien Bien Phu

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
The French debacle in Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien Phu is a market town in an almost preposterously remote corner of northwest Vietnam. Today it has a population of about 9,000. In 1953, however, it was so small it wasn’t even considered a community and, in fact, didn’t have a name. The phrase Dien Bien Phu translates roughly as “border-area administrative post.” […]

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Envoy’s Album

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
Envoy’s Album

   

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Getting to your goals

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
Getting to your goals

What does a diplomat living in Ottawa have in common with a public servant on the Hill or a private-sector CEO? Goals. Sure, the nature of the goals varies, but successful goal-pursuit is the defining common feature of success in any of our careers. We all have goals. We don’t all achieve them. The question […]

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Enigma in Zimbabwe – a descent of man

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
Enigma in Zimbabwe –  a descent of man

Zimbabwe (in its earlier life, Rhodesia) has been so many things for different people: delight and despair, opportunity and persecution. For me, half a century ago, it was an escape from my London birthplace and a fusty England clinging to Empire; a land of glorious weather and broadest horizons; a romantic place where I met […]

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Arctic action

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
Arctic action

There’s a kind of scorecard for where Canada stands in Arctic development compared to its Arctic neighbours, particularly Norway. In 2006, Norway published a detailed, 92-page outline of what it intended in its Arctic territory, and updated it three years later. Canada got around to the same kind of outline in 2009, and it had […]

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The photographer who documents heroes

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
The photographer who documents heroes

People are his passion. It was Norman H. Gershman’s Wall Street headhunting skills (he founded Consultants Period, Ltd..) that gave him the patience to track down an almost unknown story in a country cut off from the rest of the world for 50 years. But it was his passion for people that led him to […]

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Understanding besa, the Albanian code of honour

| September 2, 2010 | 1 Comment
Understanding besa, the Albanian code of honour

“All Jewish children will sleep with your children, all with eat the same food, all will live as one family” — Albanian Prime Minister Mehdi Frashëri, 1943   As the only country in Europe whose Jewish population grew 10-fold during World War II, and included refugees from all over Europe, Albania, with its 70 to […]

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Muslims who saved Jews

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments
Muslims who saved Jews

Muslims Who Saved Jews? Who Ever Heard of It? When I first learned of the WWII rescue of Jews in Muslim Albania and Kosovo, my reaction was visceral. Muslims who saved Jews? I must record this forgotten event with my camera and tell the story through the various family histories of the people I was […]

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