2010 Birchall Leadership Award to be Presented to Mr. Christopher Alexander
The 2010 Birchall Leadership Award will be presented by the RMC Club of Canada to Mr. Christopher Alexander at the Gala Legacy Dinner being held at the Royal Military College of Canada on September 30, 2010. Chris Alexander served as Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan between 2003 and 2005 where he was instrumental in leading Canada’s diplomatic efforts in one of the most difficult environments that Canadian foreign affairs, military, and development personnel have been in engaged since the Korean War.
Under his leadership, Canada successfully deployed new methods of civil-military cooperation that were effective in helping the people of Afghanistan, including its most needy, and in helping Canada accomplish its mission.
Recognized for his outstanding leadership skills Mr. Alexander was appointed UN Deputy Special Representative in Afghanistan by Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2005 and held that position until 2009. Mr. Alexander, a career diplomat, who also served as Minister Counsellor in Canada’s Embassy in Moscow between 2000 and 2003 was the youngest appointee to the position of Canadian Ambassador upon assuming his position in Kabul in 2003.
He is recognized in civilian and military circles by his peers as having made an outstanding contribution.
“Over the course of five years, Chris Alexander made an exceptional contribution to international efforts in Afghanistan, often in the face of adversity and personal danger. In numerous high-profile diplomatic positions, he has proven to be an exceptional leader.
Chris is a fitting and deserving recipient of this distinguished honour.”
Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence
“As the UN Deputy Special Representative, Chris played a pivotal role in focussing the activities of the international community for the betterment of the Afghan people. He was the consummate example of our principles and values. I was proud to be able to say he was Canadian.”
Major-General (ret’d) Tim Grant; Commander Joint Task Force Afghanistan (November 2006-August 2007); Assistant Deputy Minister, Alberta Energy
“Chris Alexander had quickly established himself as one of the top diplomats in Afghanistan. His tireless efforts gained him considerable respect of his fellow diplomats, national Afghan authorities, and with powerful Warlords throughout the country. His leadership was key to improving force protection in a volatile area for Canadians and other NATO military and civilian personnel.”
Colonel (ret’d) Jim Ellis; Commander Task Force Kabul (August 2004-February 2005); Deputy Minister, Alberta Environment.
The Birchall Leadership Award is presented by the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada (Calgary Branch) to honour the memory of 2364 Air Commodore Leonard J. Birchall CM, OBE, DFC, OO, CD [1915-2004], the “Saviour of Ceylon”. This extraordinary leader, a distinguished RMC ex-cadet, RCAF career officer, former commandant of RMC, honourary colonel of 413 Squadron and until his death on September 10, 2004, the Vice-Patron of the RMC Club, exemplified a unique leadership quality which this award celebrates, and that is the ability to stand up in the face of difficulty or adversity to promote the welfare and safety of those under his command.
Previous recipients of the Birchall Leadership Award have included Generals Rick Hillier, Ray Henault, and John de Chastelain as well as former community builders, politicians and military leaders Major (ret’d) Danny McLeod of Kingston, Ontario and Mr. Arthur Smith of Calgary, Alberta.