Speaker Bios

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Dr. John Barrett
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Dr. John Barrett is President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, a non-profit organization established in 1960 to represent the nuclear industry in Canada.

Dr. Barrett brings to the CNA a rich expertise in international relations, Canadian foreign policy, corporate business planning, and strategic communications.  His career spans the federal public service, international organizations, policy think-tanks and universities, with a focus on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Dr. Barrett has guided numerous international negotiations, most recently as Canada’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, where he was Chair of the IAEA’s Board of Governors.  As Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, he chaired the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  He also served as Canada’s Permanent Representative to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna.

Dr. Barrett began his career in academia, earning a BA and MA from the University of Toronto and a doctorate from the London School of Economics.  He was appointed Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of International Relations at UBC before moving to Ottawa to join the Canadian Centre for Arms Control & Disarmament.

From 1991-1999, Dr. Barrett served in the NATO International Staff as Director of Policy Planning and Chief Speechwriter for successive NATO Secretaries-General. Upon return to Canada, he continued high-level speechwriting and strategic communications for the Minister of National Defence (DND), the Governor General of Canada (Rideau Hall), and two Prime Ministers (Privy Council Office).

In 2005, Dr. Barrett re-joined Foreign Affairs from PCO, adding corporate planning and performance management to his portfolio.  As Director General of Strategic Planning, he developed the department’s Integrated Corporate Business Plan and served as Chief Risk Officer. From 2009-2013 he was Canada’s Ambassador to Austria and to the Slovak Republic (2012-2013).

Dr. Barrett is currently on leave from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).