The Sauvé Scholars Program and McGill’s Human Rights Working Group are pleased to have hosted a public forum on Afghanistan featuring Dr. Nipa Banerjee, former Canada Head of Aid in Afghanistan, University of Ottawa; Prof. Stephen Saideman, McGill University; Michael Wodzicki, Deputy Director, Rights & Democracy; and Mirwais Nahzat, Sauvé Scholar.

While opening remarks were addressed by Prof. Andrew G. Kirk, Associate Dean, Faculty of Engineering, McGill University, Sauvé Scholar and PhD Candidate at Oxford University Keith Stanski moderated the discussion.
The panel was followed
by a reception.

The event was organized in honour of McGill’s Dr. Jackie Kirk and other colleagues who lost their lives in Afghanistan.

About the Panelists

Dr. Nipa Banerjee
Former Canada’s Head of Aid in Afghanistan, University of Ottawa
Nipa Banerjee has served as a practitioner and policy analyst in international development and foreign aid for over 30 years. She worked with CUSO and IDRC and 33 years in CIDA. She represented CIDA in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and in Afghanistan (2003-2006) heading Canada’s aid program in the four latter countries. She joined the University of Ottawa in July of 2007, teaching international development. She strives to promote debates and dialogue on development and aid, aiming to influence public opinion and public policies. She has to her credit several published policy briefs and a Chapter on Canada’s Role in Afghanistan in a recently published book. Her research interests include reconstruction, development and aid effectiveness, coordination, management and related policies in fragile states, in general and a special focus on Afghanistan, where she travels frequently. She earned Doctorate and Master’s degrees, specializing in development studies, from Toronto, Carleton and McMaster Universities.

Stephen SaidemanCanada Research Chair in International Security and Ethnic Conflict, McGill University
Stephen Saideman is Canada Research Chair in International Security and Ethnic Conflict, based in the Department of Political Science at McGill University.   In addition to his books, The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict and For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres), he has co-edited Intra-State Conflict, Governments and Security: Dilemmas of Deterrence and Assurance and published articles on the international relations and comparative politics of ethnic conflict in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, Security Studies and other journals.  He has published opinion pieces in Canadian and American newspapers and is a regular contributor to CTV News in Montreal.  Prof. Saideman spent 2001-2002 on the U.S. Joint Staff working in the Strategic Planning and Policy Directorate in the Central and East European Division as part of a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship. Saideman is now trying to understand the challenges of multilateral warfare and how different countries run their military operations in Afghanistan.

Michael WodzickiDeputy Director, Rights & Democracy
Michael Wodzicki is currently Deputy Director responsible for programs in Africa and Asia at Rights & Democracy, an organization created by Canada’s parliament with the mandate to promote human rights and democratic development in developing countries. Previously, Michael led a parliamentary outreach program at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Mission in Belgrade, Serbia.  He also worked for three years as a policy advisor to a Canadian cabinet minister. In 2007, Michael was awarded a Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation Global Fellowship to research public perceptions of Canada’s democracy promotion activities abroad.  Michael has published and edited works on democracy, human rights, and development evaluation. He has degrees from McGill University and the University of Edinburgh.

Mirwais NahzatSauvé Scholar
Mirwais Nahzat is a Sauvé Scholar and Founder of the Centre for Afghanistan Progress, a network of Afghan-Canadian professionals. He has worked as a Consultant with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and as a Senior Program Officer with World University Service of Canada. He is a regular contributor to the Canadian national media on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, including CBC television and radio. An Afghan-Canadian, he is the recipient of the City of Ottawa’s 2007 ‘Distinguished Award for Humanitarianism’ and Embassy of Afghanistan’s ‘Service Award’. He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa specializing in Public Policy and Governance. 


Keith StanskiSauvé Scholar and D.Phil candidate at Oxford University
Keith Stanski is a D.Phil. candidate at Nuffield College and Jeanne Sauvé Scholar. His doctoral research examines the significance of Anglo-American conceptions of ‘warlords’ in colonial and contemporary times. Prior to starting at Oxford, Keith worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), overseeing reconstruction projects across the southeast region. Keith holds a M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford and an A.B. with Honours in International Relations (magna cum laude) from Brown University, where he edited the Brown Journal of World Affairs.