Eilleen Olexiuk, Senior Advisor (Retired), Foreign Affairs & International Trade

EVENT DATE: November 8, 2017
TOPIC: Reflections on Canada’s Diplomatic Challenges – Afghanistan in Hindsight

Ms. Olexiuk was the first Canadian diplomat accredited full time to Afghanistan as Political Counsellor in 2002. When the Canadian Embassy was established in August 2003, she served as Deputy Head of Mission until August 2005. She was responsible for political themes, including good governance, and democracy building, and supporting Afghanistan’s adherence to international human rights norms; security sector reform which included de-militarization, counter-narcotics, and, police and justice reform. Her last assignment in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) was as Senior Policy Advisor to the newly established Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force.

After retirement from the Foreign Service in 2007, Eileen Olexiuk was contracted to provide political and cultural advice to the Commander and the headquarters staff destined for counter-insurgency operations in Kandahar. With the closure of the Kandahar mission, she continued under contract to advise on the political and civilian aspects of exercises and training programs for the Canadian Forces in general until 2013.

Ms. Olexiuk has also been posted to Canadian Embassies in Colombia, as Program Manager for Development Assistance and in Greece as Program Manager for Political Affairs. Other assignments with DFAIT included responsibility for Canadian assistance for Reconstruction in the Former Yugoslavia and for the Economic and Political Transformation of Russia. While with the Canadian International Development Agency in the 1970’s she managed development assistance to Bangladesh and the South East Asia region. Ms. Olexiuk has also worked in Germany and Jamaica.