2023 Calgary Speaker Series



The Canadian Global Affairs Institute was pleased to host our four-part 2023 Calgary Speaker Series. The series provided an opportunity for corporations and individuals to participate in and enjoy topical discussions on public policy issues. This year the series focused on trends in global energy security.

Dates and Speakers

  • February 8, 2023: Russia's energy geopolitics - Olga Khakova, Deputy Director for European energy security at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center
  • June 13, 2023: Chinese energy markets and geopolitics – Erica Downs, Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
  • September 14, 2023: South Asia's political and energy instability - Shehryar Omar, CEO of the Petroleum Institute of Pakistan
  • November 15 & 16, 2023: Coups and Conflicts in West-Central Africa - Chris W. J. Roberts, Instructor of Political Science at the University of Calgary


OlgaKhakova.jpg Olga Khakova is the deputy director for European energy security at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center, where she manages transatlantic energy initiatives. Before joining the Atlantic Council, Khakova was a senior program coordinator for US Energy Association's Energy Technology and Governance Program. She helped start and coordinate the Western Balkans' Electricity Market Initiative working group, which provides technical expertise on creating better-connected electricity markets.


EricaDowns.jpg Dr. Erica Downs is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA, focusing on Chinese energy markets and geopolitics. Dr. Downs has a distinguished career in Eurasian energy policy with a focus on China. She previously worked as a senior research scientist in the China Studies program of the CNA Corporation, a senior analyst in the Asia practice at Eurasia Group, a fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, an energy analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, and a lecturer at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing, China. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. from Princeton University and a B.S. from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


EricaDowns.jpg Shehryar Omar is the Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Institute of Pakistan, a body tasked with promoting the long-term development of the oil and gas sector in Pakistan. Prior to his role at the Petroleum Institute of Pakistan, Shehryar was Chief Commercial Officer at the Pakistan State Oil Company, managing an US$ 8 Billion P&L, as well as the supply chain of all fuels in Pakistan, including LNG. Prior to this, he has worked across North America and in Asia for companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Citibank.


EricaDowns.jpg Chris W. J. Roberts is an instructor in political science at the University of Calgary, a Fellow of CGAI, and President of African Access Consulting (est. 1995). He has focused on African politics, development, and security issues for over three decades, and has a particular interest in African extractive industries, West-Central Africa, and Canadian foreign policy towards the continent.


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