Arif Lalani

Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Arif Lalani


Main bio

Arif Lalani is a former Canadian diplomat who served as Ambassador to Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates. He was the first Canadian of Muslim origin to serve as ambassador and currently consults privately. Lalani is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy (where he also teaches) and at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Lalani is also a Senior Fellow in the International Security Program at New America. He serves on an advisory committee for the Prince’s Trust International and on the Mediation Advisory Board at Global Affairs Canada.   

Earlier in his career, Lalani was posted to Turkey (with accreditation to Georgia and Azerbaijan), New York (representing Canada on the United Nations Security Council) and Washington D.C.. Ambassador Lalani was Canada's first Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Across his career in the foreign service, Lalani advanced Canada's strategic political and business interests and purposefully shaped international responses to security, economic, development and humanitarian matters. 

In 2016, Lalani took a four-year leave from the government to head the diplomatic department of His Highness the Aga Khan. He represented the interests of the Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network globally. Returning to government, he focused on international organizations. Lalani is expert on global governance, especially the work of the UN system (including the international financial institutions) and NATO. He has previously served on the boards of the Centre for International Governance Innovation; the Commonwealth of Learning; Hedayah; the Canadian Ditchley Foundation; and the  Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He is the recipient of several awards from different governments and has appeared on major media networks in Europe and North America, often asked to speak about international crisis management. Lalani holds an M.Sc. in Management, Organizations and Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). 

Updated July 2023


Topics in Global Policy III: Navigating a "New Middle East"