Canada Appoints New Representative in Kandahar

(No. 269 - September 23, 2009 - 8:15 a.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced the appointment of Ben Rowswell as the new Representative of Canada in Kandahar (RoCK), succeeding Ken Lewis, who had held the position since January 2009.

 “Mr. Rowswell is assuming a very important role for Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, as Kandahar activities remain an area of priority for our mission in Afghanistan,” said Minister Cannon. “His predecessor, Mr. Lewis, played an integral part in helping promote Canada’s civilian-military integration in the province of Kandahar and in facilitating the dialogue between Afghans and Canadians in the field.”

Mr. Rowswell assumed his new role during a transfer of authority ceremony held today at Kandahar Airfield.

The Representative of Canada in Kandahar is Canada’s senior civilian representative in southern Afghanistan. Reporting to Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, the RoCK serves as the principal interlocutor with provincial officials in Kandahar, international institutions, NGOs and military partners. The RoCK leads Canada’s priorities in Kandahar Province by providing strategic guidance to Canada’s team of diplomats, development officers, and police and corrections officials working in partnership with the Canadian Forces.

With 16 years of experience in Canada’s Foreign Service, Mr. Rowswell assumes this position following a year as the Deputy Head of Mission for Canada’s Embassy in Kabul. In his prior assignments, Mr. Rowswell served as Canada’s Representative in Iraq and as a UN contractor in Somalia. Mr. Rowswell is also a published author on issues of post-conflict reconstruction. In 2007, he co-edited the book Iraq: Preventing a New Generation of Conflict while he was a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“Ken Lewis’s leadership as Representative of Canada in Kandahar helped shaped this new role in the Canadian Foreign Service,” added Minister Cannon. “His dedication and hard work is deeply appreciated.”

Mr. Lewis’s next assignment will be announced in the coming weeks.

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A biographical note follows. For further information on this topic, visit the website Canada’s Engagement in Afghanistan.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

Biographical Note

Ben Rowswell assumes the position of Representative of Canada in Kandahar (RoCK) following a year as the Deputy Head of Mission for Canada’s Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. As Canada’s senior civilian in southern Afghanistan, Mr. Rowswell leads the Government of Canada’s coordinated diplomatic and reconstruction efforts, in close cooperation with the Canadian Forces and Canada’s international partners.

Mr. Rowswell has served for 16 years as a Foreign Service officer. In that capacity, he founded the Democracy Unit at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and served as Canada’s representative in Iraq from 2003 to 2005. He has also had postings in Canada’s Embassy to Egypt and at Canada’s Mission to the United Nations.

Outside the Foreign Service, Mr. Rowswell has worked with the National Democratic Institute in Iraq and as a UN contractor in Somalia. As a policy researcher, he served as a visiting fellow both in the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and at the Université du Québec à Montréal. In 2007, he co-edited the book Iraq: Preventing a New Generation of Conflict.