Diplomacy – Afghanistan – Citizenship – Immigration
Chris Alexander was born in Toronto in 1968. He attended Oriole Park Public School and the University of Toronto Schools (UTS) before earning a BA from McGill (history and political science) and an MA at Balliol College, Oxford (PPE). For eighteen years he served as a Canadian diplomat, serving in the Canadian embassy in Moscow under Yeltsin and Putin. From 2003 until 2009, he was the first resident Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan. In 2011, he published The Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace, winner of the Huguenot Society of Canada Award. He was MP for Ajax-Pickering from 2011 to 2015, serving as Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence and Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
In the latter capacity, he was responsible for introducing Express Entry, reforming and re-launching most economic, international mobility and temporary foreign worker programmes, updating the Citizenship Act for the first time in a generation, making the first commitment by any country to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees, expanding the number of international students coming to Canada and sustaining the then highest levels of immigration in Canadian history. In 2016-17, he ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada to promote a ‘New Canada’ driven by entrepreneurship, innovation, inclusion, investment, a larger international footprint and increased trade with markets in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. He now provides international macro political insights to corporate clients and is a member of a number of company boards.
Chris Alexander is married to social entrepreneur Hedvig Alexander, a Dane by birth, with whom he has two daughters and a son. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of Canada’s Best Forty Under Forty. He has contributed recently to Maclean’s, The Globe & Mail and The Literary Review of Canada. He was also awarded the Birchall Leadership Award by the Royal Military Colleges Foundation and is a Grand Officer (1st Class) of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity.
Clickbait and Switch. Literary Review of Canada, 2019.