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Delivering the COVID-19 Vaccines: Global Cooperation on a Common Goal

On March 17th, 2021, the NATO Association of Canada is proud to host a discussion with Jim Townsend, MP Leona Alleslev, and Dr. Joy Fitzgibbon. These experts will address the challenges of procuring and equitably distributing the COVID-19 vaccine across the globe, as well as the challenges of international cooperation in tackling a common threat. Make sure to join us to hear from these wonderful speakers!

Meet our Speakers:

Jim Townsend is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program and was recently elected President of the Atlantic Treaty Association. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European and NATO Policy, Jim Townsend completed more than two decades of work on European and NATO policy in the Pentagon, at NATO, and at the Atlantic Council. Through his work, he has helped execute US military engagement in almost every conflict from the Gulf War to the reintroduction of US forces into Europe to deter Russia. He also played critical roles in NATO enlargement, NATO reform, and helping to build bilateral defense relations with the new democracies coming from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Before becoming DASD in 2009, Jim also served as a Vice President in the Atlantic Council of the United States and Director of the Council’s Program on International Security. He joined the Atlantic Council in 2006 after a distinguished Civil Service career at the Pentagon and at NATO. In the 1990s, Jim was the Principal Director of European and NATO Policy, the Director of NATO Policy and the Director of the Defense Plans Division at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior to working on Europe and NATO, Jim worked in Foreign Military Sales at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) as a Country Director for European security assistance and as the assistant to the DSCA Comptroller. Jim’s early career also included work in the Department of State, in the Office of Congressman Charles E. Bennett and in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA).

He was an adjunct professor of international studies at American University and has lectured in the US and overseas at Universities, War Colleges, think tanks, and at the Foreign Service Institute. He has also provided commentary in the international press on TV, radio and in newspapers.

Leona Alleslev was first elected to the House of Commons in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, Ontario. After being elected in 2015, Leona was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. Leona later served on the National Defence Committee, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee, the Citizenship and Immigration Committee, and was Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. In 2018, Leona was appointed Shadow Cabinet Minister for Global Security.

In November 2019, Leona was appointed as Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and shortly after named Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs. She currently serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Special Committee on Canada-China relations. She is also a member of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association.

Prior to serving as your MP, Leona was a Canadian Air Force Officer, Senior Manager, and entrepreneur. Leona has held leadership positions in the Department of National Defence, as well as senior managerial roles with IBM Canada and Bombardier Aerospace. She served on the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada, the Ontario Aerospace Council and the Women in Aerospace Association joint government/industry change initiatives. She has also owned and operated two small businesses.

Leona earned a B.A. (Honours) in History and Political Science from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston and received her Queen’s Commission to serve as an Air Force Logistic Officer. She is fluent in both official languages-French and English. She has lived all across Canada but Leona now calls Oak Ridges her home, where she has lived for the past 15 years with her husband Ted, and their two children Christopher and Hillary.

Dr. Joy Fitzgibbon received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She currently serves as Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program at Trinity College and is a Fellow of College. Joy’s research considers the ways in which we respond more effectively and compassionately to human suffering in the hardest of places, focusing on solutions to governance dilemmas in global health policy and on violence against women in conflict zones. In the Trinity One program, she is exploring new modalities of pedagogy that enable us to learn, live and serve our communities in integrated and sustainable ways. A recipient of a joint Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada/ Canada Health Services Research Foundation Grant for her doctoral research on Harvard’s Partners in Health and its policy advocacy at the World Health Organization, she is also the co-author of Networks of Knowledge (University of Toronto Press) with Janice Stein, Richard Stren and Melissa MacLean. She has served as a governance and policy advisor on the board of Food for the Hungry Canada, lectured as faculty in the International Paediatric Emergency Medicine Elective and in the Canadian Disaster and Humanitarian Response Training Program and submitted policy reports the then Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament and the Canadian International Development Agency (with Janice Stein). She served on the University of Toronto’s Academic Board, and currently serves at Trinity College on the Senate, as Chair of the Senior Common Room and is a Senior Fellow at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History.

Watch today!


  • NATO Association of Canada

    The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.

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NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.