As an international security and peacebuilding specialist, Vina spent a significant portion of her career working at United Nations headquarters and in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in West and Central Africa. She has over 20 years of professional experience in high-level diplomacy, strategic planning, policy-making, and political risk analysis. From war zones to board rooms, Vina has extensive experience working with national governments, non-profits and philanthropic organizations in Canada, the United States, Africa, Central Asia, and China.
A seasoned speaker and a passionate advocate, Vina has been a long-time champion for human rights and social justice. Her most recent efforts focused on securing the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor who were being held as political hostages in China.
Vina serves as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. Her current research at UBC is focused on Canada-China bilateral relations and exploring Canadian policy options in the context of growing US-China geopolitical competition.
Vina holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and is fluent in English, Russian and Farsi and speaks intermediate Mandarin Chinese. Born in the Soviet Union, raised in Afghanistan, and educated in the United States, Vina has also worked and lived in Kenya and China. She now lives in Canada.