Council Members

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy is the chair of the World Refugee & Migration Council and one of Canada’s leading voices on global migration and refugee protection. After a 27-year political career, where he served as Canada’s minister of Foreign Affairs and minister of Employment and Immigration, among other postings, Mr. Axworthy has continued to work extensively on human security, refugee protection and human rights in Canada and abroad. He was presented with the Pearson Peace Medal by the Governor General of Canada in May 2017 and is a Companion of the Order of Canada. In his term as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, Mr. Axworthy initiated innovative programs for migrant and aboriginal youth communities, and has also done a great deal of work on refugee reform as a Richard von Weizsäcker fellow at Germany’s Robert Bosch Academy. 

Madeleine K. Albright is a professor, author, diplomat and businesswoman who served as the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. She is a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Dr. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She also chairs the National Democratic Institute, serves as the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation and is Honorary Chair of the World Refugee & Migration Council. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal was born in Amman in 1947. HRH is the youngest son of Their late Majesties King Talal and Queen Zein El Sharaf, the brother of His late Majesty King Hussein, and the uncle of HM King Abdullah II.

Prince Hassan served as Jordan’s Crown Prince from April 1965 until January 1999. HRHs early schooling was in Amman. He later went to Summerfields, followed by Harrow and then Christ Church, Oxford University from where he graduated with a B.A. (Hons.) in Oriental Studies.

Pamela Aall is a senior adviser for conflict prevention and management at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), where she was founding provost of USIP’s Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. She is also a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Pamela’s research interests include conflict management, mediation, reconciliation, capacity-building, and education. In addition to her research and management work, she has directed conflict transformation and capacity-building programs for Sudan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Bosnia.

Her Excellency Shaima Al Zarooni is the founder and president of Camp01, a US-based public benefit corporation, which enables partners and clients to plan and manage humanitarian and development projects worldwide for vulnerable populations. She is also the vice-president and a board member of the August Medical Foundation, which provides services and grants in health care and education. She also serves on the board of trustees of the UK Start Network, comprised of 42 aid agencies, whose aim is to enable members to deliver aid in crises. Previously, she was the director of Special Initiatives for HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and the chief executive officer of the International Humanitarian City, the largest worldwide logistics hub of humanitarian aid and emergency response.

Alexander Betts is professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, and director of the Refugee Studies Centre, at the University of Oxford. His research focuses mainly on the political economy of refugee assistance, and he has also written on migration and humanitarianism. He has given TED talks on refugees and Brexit, with combined views in excess of three million. In 2016, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers, and honoured as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He has written for The New York TimesThe Guardian and Foreign Affairs. He is the author of 10 books, including, with Paul Collier, Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System. He previously worked for the UNHCR and is the founder of the Humanitarian Innovation Project. He is a former European Universities Debating Champion and has run the London Marathon in 2:38.

Aya Chebbi, an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She is the first African Union Youth Envoy and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet. She is the founder of multiple platforms such as Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring (YPHEM) coaching the next generation to be positive change agents, Afrika Youth Movement (AYM), one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements and Afresista youth leadership program and multimedia platform documenting youth work in Africa. She served on the Board of Directors of CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Oxfam Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct. She appeared on 2018 Apolitical List of 100 Most Influential Young People in Government and 2016 list of 100 Under 40 Most Influential Africans in the World. As Mo Ibrahim Foundation Scholar, Aya holds her master’s degree in African politics from SOAS, University of London.

Sarah Cliffe is the director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC). Prior to this, she was the special representative for the World Bank’s World Development Report: Conflict, Security and Development, and the special adviser and assistant secretary-general of civilian capacities to the United Nations. Sarah has worked for the last 20 years in countries emerging from conflict and political transition. For the past two years, CIC has been supporting new ways of working in humanitarian crises, publishing two UN interagency think pieces, entitled Addressing Protracted Displacement: A Framework for Development-Humanitarian Cooperation and After the World Humanitarian Summit: Better Humanitarian-Development Cooperation for Sustainable Results on the Ground.

Jérôme Elie is the senior policy officer forced displacement for the ICVA International Council of Voluntary Agencies. He is the lead on topics and issues related to forced displacement and also manages ICVA’s work promoting civil society engagement in the development of a “Refugee Compact.”

Jonathan F. Fanton served as President of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences from 2014 to 2019 and has been a special adviser to the World Refugee & Migration Council since its launch in 2017. Prior to that Dr. Fanton held the position of Interim Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College from 2009 to 2014. He previously was President of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation from 1999 to 2009 and for 17 years was President of The New School for Social Research. Earlier, he was Vice President of Planning at The University of Chicago. Dr. Fanton holds a Ph.D. in American History from Yale University, where he taught and was Special Assistant to President Kingman Brewster.

He is the author of Foundations and Civil Society, volumes I and II (2008), and The University and Civil Society, volumes I and II (1995, 2002).

In addition to his leadership of these organizations, he has served as board chair for several organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the Security Council Report, and the New York State Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities. He currently serves on the boards of Scholars At Risk, the Asian Cultural Council, Benjamin Franklin House, Integrity Initiatives International and Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

Elizabeth Ferris is the World Refugee & Migration Council’s vice-president of research, and is Director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an adjunct professor in the Georgetown Law School. She has also served as Senior Advisor to the UN General Assembly’s Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York (2016) and as expert advisor to the UN’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement (2019-2021).

Jayne Fleming is a human rights lawyer and director of international refugee protection programs at Reed Smith LLP, which leads Lamp Lifeboat Ladder, a public-private partnership aiding refugees who have survived torture and trauma to discover a new life by supporting their resettlement to Canada and other safe countries.

Leymah Gbowee is a recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. A long-time Liberian peace activist, social worker and women’s rights advocate, Leymah is the founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, based in Monrovia. Leymah is best known for leading a nonviolent movement that brought together Christian and Muslim women to play a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s devastating, 14-year civil war in 2003. This historic achievement paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It also marked the vanguard of a new wave of women emerging worldwide as essential and uniquely effective participants in brokering lasting peace and security.

Fen Osler Hampson is a former Director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) (2000-2012). He is currently Chancellor’s Professor and Professor of International Affairs in the School. Professor Hampson served as Director of the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) and is the President of the World Refugee & Migration Council.
Professor Hampson holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University where he also received his A.M. degree (both with distinction). He also holds an MSc. (Econ.) degree (with distinction) from the London School of Economics and a B.A. (Hon.) from the University of Toronto. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he is the author or co-author of 15 books and editor or co-editor of 30 other volumes. In addition, he has written more than 100 articles and book chapters on international affairs. His most recent books are Braver Canada: Shaping Our Destiny in a Precarious World (co-author), the Routledge Handbook of Peace, Security and Development (co-editor), Diplomacy and the Future of World Order (co-author), and Master of Persuasion: Brian Mulroney’s Global Legacy.
He is the recipient of several major awards, including a Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Studies Association, a research and writing award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and a Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship from the United States Institute of Peace. He was recognized as one of the top 50 people influencing Canada’s foreign policy by Embassy Magazine in 2009 and one of the top 80 in 2012 in a list that includes Cabinet ministers, senior public officials, lobbyists and members of the media; and one of the top 8 “thinkers” category in the Hill Times list of the top 100 people influencing Canadian foreign policy in 2014.
He is a frequent commentator and contributor in the national and international media. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, Foreign Policy Magazine, Foreign Affairs, the National Post, iPolitics and elsewhere. He is a frequent commentator on the BBC, CBC, CTV, and Global news networks.
James C. Hathaway is the Degan Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. He works in the field of public international law, with a focus on international human rights law, international queer rights, and international refugee law.  He was the founding director of the University of Michigan’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law, and served as Dean of Law at the University of Melbourne and Associate Dean of Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.  His publications include treatises on the international refugee definition (The Law of Refugee Status) and on the human rights of refugees (The Rights of Refugees under International Law).

Per Heggenes is the CEO of the IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IKEA, the home furnishing company. For years, he has led IKEA’s philanthropic work in areas such as migration and humanitarian relief, as well as in development work focused on helping children and youth in poor communities to better opportunities in life. Prior to joining the foundation, he held various international leadership roles in private sector organizations such as Burson-Marsteller and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.

Paul Heinbecker is a retired career diplomat and a former Canadian ambassador to Germany and permanent representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York City. Paul was the first director of the Centre for Global Relations of Wilfrid Laurier University. He is author of Getting Back in the Game: A Foreign Policy Playbook for Canada. His opinions are published frequently in The Globe and Mail and he also comments regularly on radio and television. He has advised three successive Canadian governments on foreign policy.

Hina Jilani is an internationally respected activist on human rights and democracy. She led the establishment of the first Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and has served as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights Defenders. She currently serves as a lawyer and advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania, is a regional leader on migration and refugee policy. As Tanzania’s President, he led the naturalization of 162,156 refugees from Burundi. To this day this is considered the highest number of refugees to be naturalized at once, and one of the most powerful precedents of state-driven generosity towards refugees in the region.

Victor Lal is founder and executive director of Haven ( He has managed refugee resettlement to Canada since 2017 and has worked on the frontlines of the Ukrainian, Syrian and Palestinian crises.

Alison Lawton holds an MA in Applied Sciences from Simon Fraser University. She has a keen interest in researching various aspects related to mass media stakes and financial consumerism, the dimensions of leadership in global governance, the role of non-state actors in global politics, and the relationship between investment and social impact.

Lawton’s work involves managing both for-profit and non-profit funds. She is the founder of Mindset Venture Group, a boutique investment firm, and Mindset Social Innovation Foundation. As an early supporter of the Acumen Fund and a board member of Canada’s first health-related Social Impact Bond, ‘Activate,’ Lawton has been actively involved in promoting social impact through investment. She also played a key role in establishing MARS Catalyst Fund (Amplified Fund).

Lawton’s expertise lies in the intersection of for-profit and non-profit investment, with a particular emphasis on social impact. She has served on several boards and advisory positions, including UNICEF, Virgin Unite Canada, BC Advisory Council for Social Entrepreneurship, and UBC Senior Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability and Social Innovation at the Sauder School of Business, UBC.

Susan Martin is the Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emerita of International Migration at Georgetown University. She was the founder of the Institute for the Study of International Migration in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and currently serves as chair of the Thematic Working Group on Environmental Change and Migration in the Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development at the World Bank. Previously, Susan served as the executive director of the US Commission on Immigration Reform, established by legislation to advise Congress and the US president on immigration and refugee policy.

Rosemary McCarney is the past ambassador of Canada to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament and the Pearson Sabia Visiting Scholar in International Relations at Trinity College at the University of Toronto.

Marwan Muasher is a vice president for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he oversees research in Washington and Beirut on the Middle East. He served as foreign minister (2002–2004) and deputy prime minister (2004–2005) of Jordan, and his career has spanned the areas of diplomacy, development, civil society and communications.

Devota Nuwe is head of programs with the Refugee Law Project at the School of Law, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She has also worked with HIAS, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on forced migration issues. Devota received a Bachelor of Law degree from Makerere University, Uganda, and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Kent, England.

The Honourable Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. She came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration and citizen engagement have been the foundation of her work. Ms. Omidvar is a Director at the Century Initiative, a Director at the Samara Centre for Democracy and Chair Emerita for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. Ms. Omidvar is a Member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Cross of the Order of Merit from Germany.

George A. Papandreou is a former prime minister of Greece (2009–2011). First elected as a member of Parliament in 1981, he has served at many governmental posts. As the minister of education (1988-89), he founded the Open University in Greece and promoted multicultural programs. As the minister of foreign affairs (1999–2004), he promoted peace building and European integration in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans and managed a breakthrough in Greek-Turkish relations. In 2015, he founded, with Ipek Cem, the Cem-Papandreou Peace Award. He is the leader of the Movement of Democratic Socialists, one of the members of the Democratic Alignment, a coalition of Greek progressive parties. He is the president of the Socialist International, which brings together 150 political parties and groups from all continents.

Nirupama Menon Rao is a retired Indian diplomat, foreign secretary and ambassador. She was educated in India and joined India’s foreign service in 1973. She was the first woman in India to be a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, as well as the first woman to serve as high commissioner to Sri Lanka and to represent India as ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. She served as India’s foreign secretary from 2009 to 2011. At the end of that term, she was appointed India’s ambassador to the United States, where she served from 2011 to 2013.

Allan Rock is the president emeritus and was until 2022 a professor of law at the University of Ottawa. A former trial lawyer, he entered politics in 1993 and spent 10 years as a federal cabinet minister in the Justice, Health, Industry and Infrastructure portfolios. Allan was Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations between 2003 and 2006 and the president of the University of Ottawa from 2008 to 2016.

Güven Sak is the executive director of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), and a professor of public economics at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology. Previously, he worked as a senior researcher at the Capital Markets Board of Turkey, taught in the Department of Public Finance at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Ankara University, and was as an external founding member of the Monetary Policy Council of the Central Bank of Turkey.

In 2004, Güven became the founding managing director of TEPAV, the first and only economic policy think tank in Turkey. The Area Studies Program of TEPAV, which he directed, has been active in entrepreneurship and private sector development projects in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Güven co-chaired the Forced Migration Task Force of the Think 20 (T20) during the German presidency of the Group of Twenty in 2016­–2017.  

Warda Shazadi Meighen is a partner at Landings LLP, where she practices immigration and refugee law. She is a board member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and an adjunct professor of refugee law at the University of Toronto faculty of law. She is recognized as a leading lawyer in Canada under 40.

Eduardo Stein is a regional leader on peace building and conflict management. Eduardo has served as the vice president of Guatemala from 2004 to 2008 and as the foreign minister of Guatemala from 1996 to 2000, and has since taken on a leadership role in coordinating the Central American network of think tanks. Best known for his role in the Guatemalan peace process, Eduardo continues to work on issues of peace building, governance and migration. In September 2018, Eduardo was appointed as Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants by the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Migration Agency.

Rita Süssmuth is a German politician and scholar. She has served as president of the German Federal Parliament (1988–1998) and as federal minister for Family Affairs, Women, Youth and Health (1985–1988). Before that, she was professor at different universities. Her main topics are HIV, education, woman and society. An expert on migration, she has chaired several advisory councils, such as the Independent Commission on Migration in 2000, and was a member of the UN-Global Commission on International Migration (2003–2005). At present, she is a member of the Transatlantic Council on Migration at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC.

Jessie Thomson has been working on issues related to international development and humanitarian assistance, including international refugee protection, for more than 15 years. She has a Masters in International Development Studies from the London School of Economics, with a focus on conflict, humanitarian action and forced migration. With a career spanning multiple sectors, including the Canadian public service, the United Nations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and now CARE Canada, Jessie brings a unique perspective on the critical operational and policy questions facing international development and humanitarian action. Jessie joined CARE Canada in 2011, focused on Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Response, and now serves as Vice-President of its Partnerships for Global Change team. She is a respected thought-leader and partnership builder, and a passionate feminist and gender equality advocate.

Please send all inquiries, including interview requests, to Jeff Stoub, Director of Public Affairs.