During his 38 year public service career, Robert Fowler was foreign policy advisor to Prime Ministers Trudeau, Turner and Mulroney, deputy minister of national defence and Canada’s longest serving ambassador to the United Nations. He was ambassador to Italy and three UN food agencies, sherpa for the Kananaskis G8 Summit and the personal representative for Africa of Prime Ministers Chrétien, Martin and Harper. He retired from the federal public service in 2006, and is now a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He was appointed special envoy to Niger in 2008. While acquitting his UN mission, Mr. Fowler was captured by al Qaeda and held hostage in the Sahara Desert for 130 days. To this day, he remains an outspoken advocate of the importance of foreign policy and Canada’s engagement with Africa.