Arif Z. Lalani is a CIGI distinguished fellow and former Canadian diplomat who served as ambassador to Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates. He was also posted to Turkey (with accreditation to Georgia and Azerbaijan), New York (representing Canada on the United Nations Security Council) and to Washington, DC.
Arif was Canada’s first special envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Throughout his career in the foreign service, he advanced Canada’s strategic political and business interests and purposefully shaped international responses to security, economic, development and humanitarian matters. He has previously served on CIGI’s Board of Directors, as well as on the boards of the Commonwealth of Learning, Hedayah, the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
In 2016, Arif took a four-year leave from the government to head the diplomatic department of His Highness the Aga Khan. He represented the interests of the Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network globally. Returning to government, he focused on international organizations. He is an expert on global governance, in particular on the work of the United Nations system (including the international financial institutions) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He is now a private consultant and serves on an advisory committee for the Prince’s Trust International, on the Mediation Advisory Board at Global Affairs Canada, and is a senior fellow at New America.
He has received several awards from different governments. Arif has appeared as a guest expert on major media networks in Europe and North America where he is often asked to speak about international crisis management. He holds a master of science degree in management, organizations and governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.