Waterloo Branch
About the Waterloo Branch

Founded in 1982 under the leadership of Dr. John English, the Waterloo Region Branch of the then Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA) attracted high-level speakers to the community. As “CIC Waterloo”, our branch has traditionally maintained relationships with the Centre for International Governance (CIGI), the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Guelph and Conestoga College. Located in Canada’s tech-triangle and geographically positioned as the gateway to South Western Ontario.

With the aid of an active program of public lectures, discussions and conferences, our branch is committed to engaging the Waterloo Region and the neighbouring communities in a dialogue on world issues, Canada’s global role and our multicultural identity.

Upcoming topics will deal with an array of international affairs issues, including trade and protectionism, technology and globalization, global migration, refugee integration and protection, and indigenous rights.

Branch Executive Leadership


Laszlo Sarkany, PhD

Laszlo attained a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Western University where he focused on the work of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). His research interests deal with international criminal justice, the nexus between justice and politics in regards to the work of the Court, and the Court’s institutional design. Laszlo teaches at King’s University College, the University of Waterloo, and at the main and Brantford campuses of Wilfrid Laurier University, and has taught courses in political science, social justice and peace, environment and business, sustainability management, human rights and human diversity, and criminology. He attended professional development courses in mass atrocity prevention offered at Concordia University in Montreal, and in social science methodology offered at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Laszlo is a member of delegation of ‘No Peace Without Justice’ – an nongovernmental organization registered with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations – during the annual Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court.

Outside of the academe, Laszlo works at the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo where he co-leads a year-long program on Youth Leadership Development, and will coordinate the Leaders-In-Action program for the local YMCA during the summer of 2019.

If not teaching, researching or leading youth and teens, Laszlo may be found serving as a board member of Southwest Soccer, ‘managing conflict’ on the soccer field as a match official, or assessing soccer match official performance as an assessor accredited with Ontario Soccer.

Vice-President, Program Chair

John Tennant

John Tennant heads his own strategic consulting firm, W2N2 Partnership, which focuses on economic development, innovation, and international trade, investment and economic policies. He is also a Co-Founder and Partner in the Global Investment Attraction Group. From 2002 through 2008, John was CEO of Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc. (CTT Inc.) Earlier, John served in Canada’s foreign service. His career culminated as Canadian Consul General in the US Mid-West based in Detroit (1998 to 2002).  Earlier assignments were in New York, Chicago, Tokyo (twice), West Africa, Central America, the Eastern Caribbean and Australia. John also served in Ottawa as Director General for Asia Pacific.

Keenly interested in Canada’s role in the world, John has been a CIC member since his return to Canada in 2002. During 2009 and 2010, John served as Special Advisor on the African Initiative at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).


Melissa Knox

Melissa N. Knox is a practising civil litigation lawyer, specializing in the areas of employment, human rights, personal injury, and sports law.

As a student-athlete, Melissa majored in Human Rights and Law at Carleton University while playing varsity soccer, achieving Academic-All Canadian status each year of study and graduating with the Highest Honours distinction.

Melissa obtained her juris doctor from Windsor University, Faculty of Law and was called to the Ontario bar in 2012. Subsequently, Melissa completed a Master’s degree in International Sports Law in Spain and thereafter spent time working in the field of international sports arbitration in Switzerland.

Melissa is particularly interested in matters of public international law and enjoys anything and everything related to football (soccer).

Melissa enjoys being actively involved in the community and contributed to the revival of the current CIC Waterloo Branch.



Member, Program Committee

Bashir Habib, MS

Basheer Habib is an Organizational Consultant with more than 30 years’ experience working with private and international civil society organizations, in the areas of Business Performance Optimization and Capacity Building.

He has Masters degrees in Management and Organizational Development & Consultancy and a Post Graduate Certificate in Cross-Sector Partnerships.

In 2017, he received the Mayor’s City Builder Award from the City of Kitchener .

Co-Chair, Communications Committee

Dana Fox

Dana Fox is Vice President Global Enterprise Sales at Athena Software responsible for delighted clients and global business development. Athena’s technology provides human service organizations with a mobile, integrated case management solution.

Dana Fox is also the founder of the Institute for Smarter Government using big data and predictive and prescriptive analytics to help human service organizations (health, social services, education and justice) create transformational strategies that deliver better outcomes for less. Founder and author of Export Ignition and Mentorship with applied intelligence using predictive and prescriptive analytics for SME’s worldwide.

A TEDxUW speaker on how Smart Government can shift from transactional to transformational services, Dana was recently asked to speak at the European Identity Conference 2019 in Munich Germany on GDPR risks and opportunities, anonymisation and pseudonymisation of data.

Dana was the founder and visionary of ClevrU, an online education platform. He was an Adjunct Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in strategic business development. Dana is an advisory board member at the Centre for Global Enterprise: Schulich School of Business and member of the Canadian International Council.

Co-Chair, Communications Committee

Daniel Safayeni

Daniel Safayeni is Director, Policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) where he is responsible for leading the Ontario Economic Report and managing a portfolio that covers a broad range of public policy issues. Prior to joining the OCC in 2018, Daniel held senior-level positions at the U.S. Department of State and the C.D. Howe Institute. He holds a Master of International Public Policy degree from the Balsillie School of International Affairs and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Chair, Young Professionals Committee

Annalisa Lochan

Chair, Governance Committee

Jamie Martin

Chair, Student Committee

Neala Hayratiyan

Chair, Membership Committee

Bob Publicover

Executive Committee Member at Large

Ray Simonson

Mr. Simonson is an experienced tech CEO and start-up founder. He has extensive experience with large capital project management and construction software, building high performing teams, start-ups, fund raising, and selling enterprise software internationally.

He led the October 2010 MBO of Coreworx, closed the deal in three weeks with the help of his strong management team. They grew revenue by 4 times over 3 years despite running with very little operating capital.

He has served on and both private and public boards


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Previous Events

November 29, 2018 – Global Migration Film Festival, “The Merger”, followed by Panel Discussion with Waterloo Region Immigration and Refugee Organizations

February 26, 2019 – “Canada and World Oil – Pipelines and Politics”, John Foster, Author of “Oil and World Politics: The real story of today’s conflict zones – Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine and more”

March 26, 2019 – “Protecting Canada from the Threat of Populism”, Ben Rowswell, President of the Canadian International Council and former Canadian Ambassador to Venezuela

June 21, 2019 – “War and Peace in Cyberspace: The Prospects for Cyber-peacekeeping and Cyber-sanctions”, Dr. Walter Dorn, Professor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, and Dr. Danielle Stodilka, Canadian International Council Fellow

October 2, 2019 – “Is Modern Diplomacy Dead? Navigating Global Challenges in Turbulent Times”, Senator Peter Boehm, former Personal Representative (Sherpa) of Canadian Prime Ministers to G7 and G8 Summits from 2013 to 2018, and former Canadian Ambassador to Germany and to the Organization of American States

October 9, 2019 – “Let’s Talk Foreign Policy”

January 20, 2020 – Dinner with Canada’s Ambassador to Brazil, Jennifer May

May 7, 2020 – Virtual Program – CIC Members Only – Canada’s Ambassador to China, Dominic Barton

June 10, 2020 – Two Virtual Programs: Global Health Governance and the Science of COVID-19 and Bottom-Up Public Health Approaches to Dealing with Disease and Pandemics (with CIC Saskatoon and Calgary Branches)

June 22, 2020 – Propelled by the Pandemic – Explosive Digital Growth, 5G Adoption and Beyond

September 22, 2020 – International Education at a Cross Roads in Canada

October 29, 2020 – Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril featuring Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon

December 9, 2020 – Rewind: Canada’s Decision Not to Support the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq


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