Headshot of Arif Lalani

Arif Lalani

Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Advisory Board Member, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Mr. Lalani is Head of the Diplomatic Department for His Highness the Aga Khan.

He was formerly Canada’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and was appointed Canada’s Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in April 2013.

Previously, he served as Director-General, Strategic Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. His work there focussed on political and commercial issues for the department, and the minister; and on Open Innovation, in addition to more traditional international policy issues.

He is also a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.

Mr. Lalani was the Canadian Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008, and served as the Canadian Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and to the Republic of Iraq from 2006 – 2007.

Mr. Lalani’s other overseas assignments have included: Turkey, (with accreditation to Georgia and Azerbaijan); New York (as Alternative Representative to the Security Council) and Washington, D.C.

In Ottawa, he has worked in the Office of the Senior Advisor for the Middle East Peace Process; as Coordinator for the Balkans, Director, South Asia; and, as Director-General South and Southeast Asia. He was the founder and chairperson of the foreign ministry’s Working Group on Relations with Muslim Communities from 2005-2006.

Mr. Lalani has degrees from the University of British Columbia (BA, International Relations), and the London School of Economics (MSc, Management, Organisations, and Governance).

He is a member of the Operating Board of Directors of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); and serves on the Advisory Board for the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.

The President of Afghanistan presented Ambassador Lalani with the Alam Sayad Jamal-u-Din al Afghani medal, on completion of his tour of duty in 2008, for his contribution to building peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for service to Canada and Canadians.

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