Colin McEwen Global Horizons

Talk to a Diplomat: Coming June 2!

One of our most consistently popular articles on the Atlantic Council of Canada’s website was written in April 2014, titled “So, you want to be a diplomat?” The article did not present any groundbreaking research, nor did it contain spectacular new insights.

It did, however, present a concise and informative overview of the different roles Canadian diplomats hold, some of the necessary requirements, and potential drawbacks. Even now, a more than a year later, it receives more views than some of our regular coverage.

Perhaps my personal experience is not reflective of Millennials, let alone our readership in general, but I find it rather easy to see the accomplishments and experience of individuals who represent their countries abroad, while having difficulty in connecting the dots for how they got there.

If the data is any indication, dear reader, then you share this feeling. This is not a good state of affairs. Knowledge and informed discussion can pile up endlessly, but it means nothing unless individuals who want to apply these skills can see a path to do so.

If you recall the time I visited a high school in Hamilton, you’ll remember that most of the students could not relate to broader events. When the people helping to shape these same events seem to be fundamentally different, on the other side of an unbridgeable gap, this problem only grows.

Even for those who are already engaged, the array of choices within the field of international relations is sometimes so vast as to be paralyzing. How can one choose between migration, defense, the environment, globalization, or countless others, let alone the innumerable contexts that exist for each of these?

“If young people do not see hope on the horizon, what kind of message are we sending?”

– Ban Ki-Moon

Fortunately, your choice is not a binding commitment; there are plenty of people who have changed track mid-career. Alas, I digress.

With all of this in mind, the Atlantic Council of Canada will be launching the first episode of our new podcast, Talk to a Diplomat, on Tuesday, June 2!

We will be uploading new episodes on a weekly basis, which you can find either on our homepage or on the Global Horizons program page. You can provide feedback once the podcast is launched on any of our social media platforms.

Our goal is twofold. First, we want to talk to individuals who have made a living and career in the field of international relations. We’ll find out not only what they do, but also how they arrived where they are today. Secondly, we want to find young Canadians who are passionate about the world, engage them with the issues of today, and highlight where they’re going.

No area is off limits: current or retired diplomats, internationally focused businesses, former military officers, and academics are all fair game. Whether your experience comes from helping refugees, negotiating trade deals, or promoting cultural exchange, we want to know.

Thus far, we already have a handful of people with wide-ranging experiences willing to share – oh, you thought I was going to tell you in advance? No, you’ll have to wait and see who our first special guest will be.

Do you want to be on the show, or know someone who should be? Let us know! Send an email to with “Talk to a Diplomat” in the subject line. Be sure to mention what unique experiences you or your nominee have to share, and what particular topics in the world interest you the most. If you are nominating someone else, please send us contact information.

Very well, perhaps I’ll give you a short teaser. There are no clues about who will be on the show, though.


Colin McEwen
Colin McEwen is a Research Analyst and former Program Editor for Global Horizons at the NATO Association of Canada. Colin completed his BA (Honours) at the University of Toronto in Political Science, History, and German, and has since pivoted by completing a Certificate in Data Analytics at Ryerson University. His interests are in multilateral diplomacy and the application of Big Data to problems in international relations.