Ambassador Paul Durand has had extensive international experience in both the private and public sectors. He was educated in Canada, obtaining a B.A. (Political economy) from the University of Toronto, and pursued further studies in international relations and economics at Northwestern University in Chicago and Carleton University in Ottawa. He joined the Canadian government after working in international banking in Latin America (Colombia, El Salvador), the Caribbean (Bahamas) and the US (Chicago).
In Canada’s diplomatic service, Mr. Durand specialized in Latin America but also served in East Africa and South Asia (India and Nepal). He worked for the Canadian International Development Agency and also as a foreign policy advisor in the office of the Canadian Prime Minister (Privy Council Office), before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
From 1992 to 1995, Mr. Durand was Canada’s Ambassador in Costa Rica, with concurrent accreditation to Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. From 1995 to August 2000, he was Director General responsible for Canada’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
In August 2000, he was appointed Ambassador to Chile. A year later in August 2001, he was appointed Ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington, and Canada’s National Coordinator for the Summits of the Americas process, positions that he held until 2006. From 2007 until 2009 he was the resident representative of the Organization of American States in the Dominican Republic.
Mr. Durand has participated in numerous electoral observer missions in Central and South America, and was appointed to lead the OAS observer mission to the 2006 elections in Costa Rica, as well as the OAS Mission to observe the referendum on free trade in Costa Rica in 2007. He is a long-standing member of the board of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, a think-tank focussed on Canada’s relations with the Americas.