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Former Canadian ambassador speaks at WMU

Oct. 4, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A former Canadian ambassador to the United States and an expert on trade and border policy between the two nations will speak at Western Michigan University Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Michael F. Kergin, special advisor on border management for the Government of Ontario, will focus on the state of U.S.-Canadian relations, border security and the future of the Michigan-Ontario border and trade policy during his speech, "Weathering the Canada-US Relationship: Sunshine and Squalls," at 7 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public and parking is available in the Miller Auditorium parking structure.

With daily trade between the two nations exceeding $1.4 billion each day, Canada is America's largest trading partner, and Kergin's talk is expected to attract local business leaders, entrepreneurs and the academic community. Southwest Michigan First, the Canadian Consulate General­Detroit and WMU's Canadian Studies program joined forces to bring Kergin to Kalamazoo.

"The Canada-U.S. relationship is like a family," Kergin says. "As in all families, there is abiding loyalty and mutual support as well as challenges and petty quarrels. The trick is to ensure that momentary squabbles do not spin out of control and dominate the relationship."

Kergin will be introduced by Dr. Gregory Mahler, provost of Kalamazoo College and former president of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States. Time will be included for a question and answer session after the presentation.

Kergin began his career in Canadian public service in 1967 as a foreign service officer. His postings abroad included the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, the Canadian Mission to the United Nations in New York and Canadian Embassies in Cameroon and Chile. He served as Ambassador to Cuba from 1986 to 1989 and has had three postings to Washington, the last as Ambassador of Canada to the United States from 2000 to 2005.

During his years in Ottawa, Kergin held various positions at the Foreign Affairs Department. In 1998, the prime minister asked him to serve as his Foreign Policy Advisor as well as assistant secretary to the cabinet for foreign and defense policy--the Canadian equivalent to the national security advisor in the U.S. government.

After leaving the federal government in 2005, Kergin was asked by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to serve as special advisor for border management. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Ottawa and president and CEO of Intermestic Consulting Inc.

While on campus, Kergin also will meet with graduate students and faculty members who have an interest in Canada and the future of the Canada-U.S. relationship. For more information, contact Dr. Matthew S. Mingus, WMU associate professor of public affairs and administration, at matthew.mingus@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8942.

Other key sponsors for Kergin's visit include WMU's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program, the Institute for Government and Politics, the School of Public Affairs and Administration, the departments of History and Political Science, and the Environmental Studies Program.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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