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Recently named as Canada’s first-ever special envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, colleagues describe Arif Lalani, Canada’s current ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, as the face of a changing Canada.

Of Indian descent, Mr. Lalani was born in Uganda about five years before Idi Amin’s brutal 1971 coup. His family was among the community of Ismaili Muslims made to pack their bags. After being flown to Montreal, they moved to Cambridge, Ont., where Mr. Lalani spent his childhood. In 1982, the Lalani family moved to East Vancouver, according to media reports. 

With a degree in international relations from the University...

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