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Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Friday, October 2, 20203:00PM - 4:30PMOnline Event, Online Event
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On October 3, 1990 the two Germanys were united again after having been divided for 28 years by barbed wires, landmines, fences and the Berlin Wall.
As we reflect on 30 years of German unity, we are reminded of an era in which a peaceful revolution tore down the Berlin Wall and swept away the repressive East German regime. It was a time that sparked astonishingly rapid progress, as the member states of NATO and the Warsaw Pact engaged in negotiations on peace and security, disarmament, confidence building, and détente.
German unity was made possible through the support of our allies; indeed, it could not have been achieved without those allies’ commitment to multilateralism and cooperation within a rules-based order. An often overlooked aspect of this transformation is the crucial role that Canada played in shoring up international support for a reunited Germany.

Join us for an online event on Friday, 2 October, featuring former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in conversation with Peter Mansbridge and a panel discussion with Senator Ratna Omidvar and political scientist Alexander Reisenbichler. Our distinguished speakers will look back on a time full of hope and promise – and look forward to how Canada and Germany jointly can make a difference in today’s more polarized world.

• The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, PC CC QOC, former Prime Minister of Canada
• Peter Mansbridge, OC, former Chief Correspondent, CBC News (Moderator)
• The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, CM Oont, Independent Senator for Ontario
• Alexander Reisenbichler, assistant professor of political science and research coordinator of the Joint Initiative in German and European Studies (JIGES) at the Munk School, University of Toronto
With remarks by
• Michael Sabia, Director, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
• Sabine Sparwasser, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Canada

Peter Mansbridge is one of Canada’s most respected and recognizable figures. For five decades, including 30 years as anchor of CBC’s The National, Peter guided Canadians through the political, economic, and cultural events that have shaped the country.
Known for his trademark voice and unflappable on-screen presence, Peter has received over a dozen national awards for broadcast excellence, including a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Canadian Screen and Television, where his acceptance speech gave a passionate defence of good journalism and the principle it stands for: the truth.
Away from the news desk, he has been recognized by leading universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and, of course, Canada. He has received 13 honorary doctorates, has been a Fellow at Yale, has lectured at Oxford, and has just finished two terms as Chancellor of Mount Allison University. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Brian Mulroney became Canada’s eighteenth Prime Minister in 1984, after leading the Progressive Conservative party to the largest victory in Canadian history. Re-elected four years later, he became the first Canadian Prime Minister in 35 years to win successive majority governments.
His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the introduction of bold new initiatives such as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada-US Acid Rain Treaty and the Canada-US Arctic Cooperation Agreement, a wave of privatizations, a low inflation policy, historic tax reform, extensive deregulation, and expenditure reduction policies that continue to be the basis of Canada’s impressive economic performance today.
Prime Minister Mulroney served as Co-Chairman of the United Nations World Summit for Children, and his government played leading roles in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the creation of Le Sommet de la Francophonie, the Reunification of Germany, and the first Gulf War.
He has been awarded the honor of Companion of the Order of Canada and has received the highest recognition from numerous governments for his leadership in vital matters affecting those nations. He has also been presented with honorary degrees and awards from universities and governments at home and abroad.
Upon resigning, Mr. Mulroney rejoined the Montreal law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright as Senior Partner.

Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, Ms. Omidvar was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario. As a member of the Senate’s Independent Senators Group, she holds a leadership position as Liaison.
Senator Omidvar is a Councillor on the World Refugee Council, a Director at the Samara Centre for Democracy, and Chair Emerita for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.
Senator Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, Senator Omidvar received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.

Alexander Reisenbichler is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and research coordinator of the Joint Initiative in German and European Studies (JIGES) at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. He will be a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University in 2021–22. His work explores the politics of housing, financial, and labour markets in advanced economies, with regional specializations in Western Europe and the United States. His current research investigates the political economy of housing capitalism in the United States and Germany from a comparative, historical perspective. His work has appeared in Politics & Society, the Review of International Political Economy, West European Politics, and Foreign Affairs. Prof. Reisenbichler received his doctorate from The George Washington University and undergraduate degree from the University of Leipzig.

Michael Sabia is the Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. From March 2009 to January 2020, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), where he oversaw the organization’s strategic direction and global growth.
Before joining CDPQ, Mr. Sabia held numerous senior positions with BCE, including President and Chief Executive Officer, Executive Vice-President, and Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief Executive Officer of Bell Canada International. From 1993 to 1999, he occupied various roles with Canadian National Railway, including Chief Financial Officer. He spent the preceding decade working as a senior official in the Government of Canada, as the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and in senior positions in the Department of Finance.
Mr. Sabia earned a bachelor of arts in economics and politics from the University of Toronto and holds graduate degrees in economics and politics from Yale University.
In April 2020, Mr. Sabia was appointed as Chair of the Board of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. He serves as a member of the Canadian government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth. He is a trustee of the Foreign Policy Association of New York and a member of the Canada-Mexico Leadership Group and the Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council.
Mr. Sabia was appointed to the board of the Mastercard Foundation in June 2020. He is committed to community involvement and recently co-chaired the capital campaigns of Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, and HEC Montréal. Mr. Sabia is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Sabine Sparwasser studied political science with a focus on foreign relations at the Institut d’études politiques in Paris following her studies of German, French, and English literature and linguistics at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Before embarking on her diplomatic career, she worked as a freelance journalist for German television and was Research Assistant on European integration to Prof. Joseph Rovan in Paris.
Sabine Sparwasser has been posted to the German EC Representation in Brussels as well as the German Embassies in London and San José. She also served as Consul General in Toronto. At the German Federal Foreign Office headquarters, she held various positions in the press, public relations, and political sections before assuming the role of Deputy Spokesperson. She later served as Director of the Middle East and Maghreb Division and as Head of the Foreign Service Academy. Before coming to Canada, she was Assistant Deputy Minister for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Near and Middle East as well as Germany’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sabine Sparwasser has been Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Canada since 2017. She is married to Gary Soroka, a former Canadian diplomat, and has two children.


Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

Embassy and Consulates of the Federal Republic of Germany in Canada

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