Learn more about
our programme
of the Symposium

Rachel Bryson

Senior Research Associate, The Conference Board of Canada

Rachael Bryson is a Senior Research Associate in national security and public safety with the Conference Board of Canada. Her areas of research include national security, cyber security, and emergency management. Rachael is also a PhD candidate at Carleton University, where her doctoral research examines civil-military relations and strategic decision making during NATO coalition campaigns. Rachael is a former public servant, having worked in research and policy for the Department of National Defence, Public Safety Canada, and Global Affairs Canada. At DND, she helped design research projects on military culture and socialization in response to the 2015 External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces. At Global Affairs, she was a lead policy advisor for Canada’s feminist foreign policy in the Foreign Policy and Planning division.

H. E. Peteris Ustubs

Ambassador of the European Union to Canada

Ambassador Ustubs began his posting as the European Union’s top diplomat in Canada in September 2017. Prior to his arrival in Canada, he served as Americas Senior Advisor in the Cabinet of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission. Ambassador Ustubs has held senior positions with the European External Action Service (EEAS), including Director for West and Central Africa. Prior to that, he was Deputy Head of Cabinet of Andris Piebalgs, former European Commissioner for Development. Ambassador Ustubs joined the Latvian diplomatic service in 1993 and served as the Representative of Latvia to the Political and Security Committee of the EU, the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Under-Secretary of State – Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Hon. Serge Cormier

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr Cormier has served as a Parliamentary Secretary since 2015 and is currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence. Mr Cormier is a lifelong resident of Acadie–Bathurst. Mr Cormier began his career by acquiring a small company to finance his business administration studies. Later appointed the chief of staff for various Government of New Brunswick departments, he organised and participated in several diplomatic missions at home and abroad, and worked on high-priority local economic, social, and cultural issues. Mr Cormier continued as a policy analyst in the Office of the Official Opposition and as an assistant to the current Premier, the Honourable Brian Gallant, responsible for Northern New Brunswick.

Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen

Director General of the EU Military Staff (EUMS)


Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen was assigned as Director General of the EU Military Staff (EUMS) in May 2016. The EUMS is the source of EU’s military expertise, and as the DG EUMS, he is responsible for early warning, situation assessment and strategic planning for EU military missions and operations. In June 2017, Lt Gen Pulkkinen also assumed responsibility as Director of the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) established within the EUMS. Under this title, he has responsibility for delivering the functions of mission commander for the EU training missions in Mali, Central African Republic and Somalia. Previously Lt. Gen. Pulkkinen served as the Director General in the ministry of Defence of Finland from January 2011 until February 2016. During this time he was responsible for developing Finish Defence Policy, participation in International Defence Cooperation, developing the basis for the Defence Forces’ planning, and the direction of strategic research. Other positions he has held include Director of Operations in the EU military Staff where he was in charge of the anti-piracy operation EUNAVFOR ATLANTA.

Gordon Venner

Associate Deputy Minister, Department of National Defence


In October 2017, Gordon Venner was appointed as Associate Deputy Minister for the Department of National Defence. Prior to assuming this role, Mr. Venner was Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) from July 2014 to October 2017. Previously, he has held the following positions within the Government of Canada: Assistant Deputy Minister, G8 Sous-Sherpa and APEC Senior Official, at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; Assistant Deputy Minister for the Middle East, Maghreb and Afghanistan in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Canadian Ambassador to Iran. From 1996 to 2000 he was Counsellor at the Canadian Mission to the European Union

Ambassador Jorge Domecq

Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency


On 9 January 2015, the High Representative / Vice President and Head of the European Defence Agency (EDA) Federica Mogherini appointed Jorge Domecq as EDA Chief Executive. Prior to his appointment, Jorge Domecq, a senior Spanish diplomat, served as Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and as Ambassador of Spain to the Republic of the Philippines. Since the start of his diplomatic career in 1985, Jorge Domecq has held several positions with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he acted as Director General for United Nations, Global Affairs and Human Rights, as well as Director General for Multilateral Affairs. Prior to that, he also acted as Director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General and as Diplomatic Adviser to the Spanish Minister of Defence.

Alexandros Papaioannou

NATO and Multilateral Affairs Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division


Alexandros Papaioannou is currently working at the NATO International Staff, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, primarily dealing with relations with the EU. Previously he worked for several years as a Policy Advisor at the Policy Planning Unit in the Office of the NATO Secretary General. He is also a Visiting professor, European Political and Governance Studies Department, College of Europe, Bruges. He joined the Greek Foreign Service and has served in the Embassies in Rome, Moscow, the Holy See, Tunis, as well as the Permanent Representation to the European Union. He has also worked at the Cabinets of Foreign Minister George A. Papandreou and Deputy Minister for International Economic Affairs and Development Aid, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.

Stephen M. Saideman

The Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University

As the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University, Prof Saideman’s research interests focus on the causes and consequences of intervention into intra-state conflicts and more broadly international security. Previously he worked in the Central and East Europe Division in the Strategic Planning Directorate of the Joint   Chiefs of Staff, as a politico-military planner working mostly on issues related to the NATO peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, but also dealt with issues relating to other parts of what used to be Yugoslavia, especially Macedonia and Kosovo. He was also the recipient of the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship.

Air Commodore John D Maas CBE RAF

Senior Military Advisor to the Managing Director CSDP and Crisis Response, European External Action Service

Air Commodore John Maas assumed the role as Senior Military Advisor to the European Union External Action Service Crisis Management and Planning Directorate in October 2014 transitioning recently to the office of the Managing Director for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). He acts as the political/military interface between key decision makers and the strategic planning and policy staff who support the current European Union CSDP footprint of some 16 Missions and Operations worldwide. Also, he is nominated as the Chef de File for the EU work on countering Hybrid threats. A direct entrant pilot he joined the Royal Air Force in 1980. His staff tours range from assignments in the UK’s Permanent Joint HQ as an Operations Team leader for the UK’s operation to East Timor to time in the Ministry of Defence London as assistant head for policy to International Organisations. Entering the field of International Diplomacy in 2009, he has worked in the French Doctrine and Concepts Centre and as the as the RAF’s liaison officer to France during the Libyan Air Campaign. Maas later became the accredited Defence Attaché in Paris.

Stephanie Carvin

Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

Stephanie Carvin is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Her research interests are in the area of international law, security, terrorism and technology. Currently, she is teaching in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, technology and warfare and foreign policy. Stephanie holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and published her thesis as Prisoners of America’s Wars: From the Early Republic to Guantanamo (Columbia/Hurst, 2010). Her most recent book is Science, Law, Liberalism and the American Way of Warfare: The Quest for Humanity in Conflict” (Cambridge, 2015) co-authored with Michael J. Williams. In 2009 Carvin was a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University Law School and worked as a consultant to the US Department of Defense Law of War Working Group. From 2012-2015, she was an analyst with the Government of Canada focusing on national security issues.

Satyamoorthy Kabilan (Kabi)

Vice President, Public Policy Forum

Dr Satyamoorthy Kabilan oversees the Public Policy Forum’s public policy initiatives. Before joining PPF, Dr Kabilan was the Director for National Security and Public Safety at the Conference Board of Canada, where he was responsible for events and research on national security issues. This included a range of work on counter-terrorism and radicalisation to violence. Before moving to Canada, Dr Kabilan co-founded and managed two technology startups. He was a leader in the U.K.’s Future Security and Intelligence Outlook Network (FUSION) and provided strategic consultancy to the Ministry of Defence, National Policing Improvement Agency, Serious Organized Crime Agency, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Cyber Security Operations Centre. In addition, he has been involved in developing the UK’s National Counter-Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST), supported the capability development of the National Crime Agency, and worked on future force development for the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

Dr. Josef Schroefl

Deputy Director of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats


Dr Josef Schroefl is the Deputy Director of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which he joined in January 2019. Dr Schroefl began his military career in the Austrian Armed Forces in 1982, working in various areas of the military, including UN-tours to Syria and commanding the 4th Battalion. From 2006 he served in the Austrian Ministry of Defence as an adviser on their ‘Comprehensive Approach’, ‘Hybrid threats’ and ‘Cyber Security/Cyber Defence’. Dr Schroefl is also an established academic who holds a PhD in Political Science and is a former recipient of a Fulbright scholarship as well as a frequent guest lecturer on hybrid warfare issues at universities around the world.

Colleen Merchant

Director General for National Cyber Security, Public Safety Canada


Colleen Merchant is the Director General of National Cyber Security at Public Safety Canada. Ms Merchant has a rich background in science, technology and security. She began her career in 1986 at the Johnson Space Centre, where her time was spent in the Mission Control Centre as a flight controller. In 1993, she moved to the Canadian Space Agency where she was responsible for the development and implementation of their manned space flight control centre and integration of civilian and military space programs at DND. Ms. Merchant moved to the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) in 2004, and then joined the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s (TBS’s) Chief Information Officer Branch in April 2011 as the Executive Director of Government Security.