Margaret Skok is a CIGI senior fellow, effective April 2015. She has worked in several federal departments and agencies with a focus on international business, employment, natural resource sectors and security, contributing to Canada’s economic, trade and trade policy development. She has also served with the foreign service, in Russia and Central Asia.
At CIGI, Margaret is focusing on Central Asia, exploring the major security challenges, as well as the governance and institutional architecture of the region.
Margaret began her career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Employment and Immigration and Parks Canada. Her portfolio came to include Fisheries, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada. Between 1990 and 1995, Margaret served with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, both in Ottawa and at the Embassy of Canada in Moscow. During this period, she managed Canada’s agriculture relations and trade with the former Soviet Union and developed critical approaches for debt servicing and the introduction of new Canadian companies and products into the Russian market. Following the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 1992 she worked towards the establishment of Canadian diplomatic relations with the newly independent governments of Armenia and Kazakhstan. From September 2006 to October 2009, Margaret served as Canada’s ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan, with concurrent accreditation to the Kyrgyz Republic and to the Republic of Tajikistan.
Since her retirement from the Canadian public service, Margaret has worked with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to develop an international nuclear strategy, participated as an accredited Canadian observer to elections in Belarus and Ukraine, consulted to the Canadian government, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canada Border Services Agency, as well as private companies, Carleton University, and His Highness the Aga Khan’s University of Central Asia on business development, bilateral agreements, and trade law and policies and training. As an independent consultant, Margaret continues to provide advice to the Canadian government and the corporate sector, as well as developed and transitioning economies, including Central Asia.
Margaret is a member of the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association, and a member of the Ottawa chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade. She has received a Deputy Minister’s Award for exceptional and distinguished contribution to the Canadian public service, and a Senate Award for Women in International Business. In December 2011, Margaret received a medal from the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan for her contribution to the country’s 20 years of independence. Margaret is a graduate of Carleton University.