John Harker, LL.D., Partner, was recently appointed Senior Training Advisor by the Coal Industry in Northeast China, following his recent success in having the Premiers of Alberta and Nova Scotia agreed to jointly work with the Province of Heilongjiang on energy research. His consulting firm maintains offices in the Middle East, China, as well as in Canada.
Prior to entering consulting on a full-time basis, he served as Cape Breton University's President and Vice-Chancellor from August 2003-2013. In 2004, he presided over the first Canadian University Convocation to be held in a First Nations community, at Wagmatcook, Cape Breton. In that same year, he opened an associate campus in Cairo and an office in Beijing. These were also firsts among Canadian universities.
Mr. Harker served for many years as a Member of the Standing Committee on International Relations of the AUCC and for a term as a Member of its Standing Committee on the Act and Bylaws. He also served as a Member of the Executive Committee of Canada's National Research Council, a position he relinquished on becoming Chair of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents.
He also served for many years as the Director in Canada of the UN agency which deals with all aspects of Employment and Human Resources Development. Mr. Harker was the UN system's liaison with the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and fashioned close ties with Canada's First Nations leadership. In 1987 he was asked by the Government of Canada to serve as Deputy Chair of Canada's newly created Southern Africa Education Trust Fund and later was appointed to head the Commonwealth Expert Group on Human Resources Development for a post-Apartheid South Africa, an entity created by Nelson Mandela on his release from prison. This exercise involved close collaboration with the UN system, universities throughout the Commonwealth, and prominent business leaders.
Following his departure from the UN system, he served as Special Advisor in President Nelson Mandela's Office in South Africa, responsible for assisting the creation of South Africa's National Development Agency.
Subsequently, the Government of Canada appointed him to head a Fact-Finding and Assessment Mission to assess whether or not the activities of a Canadian energy company were exacerbating the civil war in Sudan.
On completion of his work for the Government of Canada, Mr. Harker spent a year as the Public Policy Fellow of a Calgary-based foundation on ethical leadership, speaking and writing on ethics in industries worldwide. He was then appointed by former United States President Jimmy Carter to be his Advisor on political violence during elections in Sierra Leone and Jamaica.
Mr. Harker began his professional life as a Research Associate at the Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham. He served as an Adjunct Professor of International Development Studies at Dalhousie University; visiting Professor, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; Research Associate, Centre for Defence Studies, University of Zimbabwe; and member of the International Advisory Board of Oil and Gas Online. He remains a Member of the Editorial Board of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, published out of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.