Julia Bentley

Julia Bentley

Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy


Julia G. Bentley is a career diplomat whose work has focused on Asia. She has served as a diplomat in China (during two postings, one cross-accredited to Mongolia), Taiwan and India, where she was cross-accredited to Nepal and Bhutan. She was appointed as High Commissioner of Canada in Malaysia from 2017 to 2020. Combined with other roles including as a teacher, development consultant and head of an international organization, she has spent 22 year in Asia.

In Ottawa, she served as Director for Northeast Asia and later as Executive Director for South Asia. Her most recent position at the Department of Global Affairs Canada was Director General for South Asia, encompassing foreign policy, development, trade and investment. Previous roles included Asian regional coordination and multilateral fora such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the G8.

From 2002 to 2005 she took a leave of absence from the government to create and lead a three-year NGO Capacity Building Program in China, funded by the Ford Foundation and implemented by Winrock International. She served concurrently as Winrock International’s Chief Representative in China in 2004-2005.

Ms Bentley was born in Toronto. She graduated from Princeton University cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies; she received a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and a post-graduate diploma in Modern Chinese History from Nanjing University. She speaks French and Chinese (Mandarin). She has one daughter.

Ms Bentley is an External Research Associate at York University’s Centre for Asian Research. Her interests include Canada-Asia relations, governance and civil society in Asia, and China’s influence in Southeast Asia.

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