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Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies

Jack Austin's Memoir Launch: Unlikely Insider

Jack Austin's Memoir Launch: Unlikely Insider

About this event

Join us on April 13th for a conversation with former federal cabinet minister and senator Jack Austin as he discusses the launch of his political memoir Unlikely Insider: A West Coast Advocate in Ottawa, a forward-looking reflection on challenges facing Canada and its citizens.

The event will also feature a panel of distinguished commentators on the book: Sarah Kutulakos (Executive Director, Canada China Business Council), Jeff Nankivell (President and CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada), Paul Evans (Professor of Asian and trans-Pacific international relations, UBC), and Jing Li (Co-Director of the SFU Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies). This session will be moderated by Evaleen Jaager Roy (Chair, SFU Beedie School of Business Advisory Board).

About the book

At a time when too many of the world’s political leaders are consolidating power by playing on divisions and stoking fear, Unlikely Insider comes as a welcome reminder of the value of public service as a force for economic progress, social justice, and nation-building.

With both historical perspective and an eye to the future, Jack Austin reflects on events and people whose impacts are still felt, and on the enduring challenges of Canadian life. Moving away from colonial domination of Indigenous Peoples, navigating our pivotal relationship with the United States and engagement with China, the nature and purpose of the Senate: these remain timely concerns, to which Austin has made significant contributions. Sharing insights into policy as well as into the personalities of colleagues and friends, Unlikely Insider paints vignettes of figures from Premier Zhou Enlai to Queen Elizabeth and recounts the author’s travels with Pierre Trudeau after the prime minister’s retirement.

As a British Columbian, Austin worked to ensure that his province’s perspectives and interests mattered in Ottawa; as someone who came from a disadvantaged background, he is sensitive to the need to make the country a place of fairness and opportunity for all. Unlikely Insider reminds Canadians that inclusion - regional, social, and demographic - makes our nation both stronger and more just.

Event details

Date: Thursday, April 13, 2023

Time: 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. PDT.


  • 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. - Registration and book signing
  • 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. - Book presentation and panel discussion
  • 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Meet the author reception


Registration is required for this event (no walk-ins) and capacity is limited, so make sure to register early. Refreshments will be provided and a cash bar will be available.

Please note the first 100 registered guests to arrive at the event will receive a complimentary copy of Jack Austin's memoir Unlikely Insider.


About the Author

Jack Austin

Jack Austin has been involved in politics and public policy at the highest levels for more than fifty years, including as a minister in the Pierre Trudeau and Paul Martin governments, senior civil servant, and chief of staff to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He is currently honorary professor and senior fellow at the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia.

About the Co-hosts

Sarah Kutulakos - Executive Director, Canada China Business Council

Sarah joined the CCBC in 2007 and has since revitalized CCBC’s role as Canada’s premier bilateral trade and investment organization. Sarah has re-centered the Council’s activities around providing business services, catalyzing business growth and activity, and advocating for stronger Sino-Canadian bilateral trade and investment. This has resulted in extensive public outreach activities, internal infrastructure improvements, the launch of new programs such as the Business Incubation Centre, and thriving member relations.

Prior to joining CCBC, Sarah worked for 11 years in marketing, product development, and management with a major multinational corporation, where she had multiple assignments involving China. Sarah managed worldwide product businesses that marketed to China and used China-based sources of supply. She was also involved in several projects requiring cooperation with the Chinese government. Sarah has led both established and start-up businesses within the context of a global corporation and has broad emerging market business experience, and has been involved in the Greater China region since the late 1980’s when she lived and worked in Taiwan. There, she was the first non-Chinese employee of a local high-tech start-up firm, where she gained a deep understanding of Chinese business practices.

Jeff Nankivell - President and CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation Canada

Jeff Nankivell joined APF Canada as President and CEO on September 7, 2021. Prior to this, he had a 33-year career in Canada's Foreign Service. He held various positions at the Canadian International Development Agency between 1988 and 2008, working on programs related to China, Russia, strategic policy, and international financial institutions. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he was posted three times to Canada's embassy in Beijing – in the development assistance section 1991-95 and 2000-04, and as Deputy Head of Mission 2008-11.

From 2011 to 2016, Jeff served in Ottawa/Gatineau as Director General responsible for Canada’s official development assistance programs across Asia, first with the Canadian International Development Agency and then with Global Affairs Canada. In 2016 he was appointed Consul General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, serving in Hong Kong until May 2021.

Jeff holds a Master’s degree in political sociology from the London School of Economics, BA in international relations from the University of Toronto and Université Laval, and certificate (one-year program) in Chinese language and culture from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Paul Evans - Professor, University of British Columbia

Paul Evans (PhD with distinction Dalhousie University 1982) has been a Professor at the University of British Columbia since 1999, teaching Asian and trans-Pacific international relations. His work was based at the Institute of Asian Research and the Liu Institute for Global Issues which are both located in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA). On January 1, 2021, Dr. Evans was appointed the HSBC Chair in Asian Research.

An advocate of cooperative and human security, he has been studying and promoting policy-related activity on track-two security processes and the construction of multilateral institutions since 1988. He was a co-founder of the Council for Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific (CSCAP), the Canadian Consortium on Human Security, and the Canada-Korea Forum. He has directed exchange and partnership projects with fifteen research institutes in Asia and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded by governments and foundations in Canada, Japan, the United States, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Between 1990 and 2002 he organized two dozen meetings involving participants from North Korea.

He is currently a Canadian representative on the ASEAN Regional Forum’s Experts and Eminent Persons Group, and a member of the Global Council of the Asia Society in New York. He also sits on the editorial boards of The Pacific Review, the Chinese Journal of International Politics, the China Quarterly for International Strategic Studies, and Mexico y la Cuenca del Pacifico.

Jing Li - Co-Director, Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies, SFU

Jing Li (PhD, Indiana University) is a Professor of International Business, Canada Research Chair in Global Investment Strategy, and the Director of the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists at the Royal Society of Canada. Jing’s research and teaching have been focused on international investment strategies of firms, doing business in emerging markets, international joint ventures, state-owned enterprises, and geopolitics and firm strategies.

About the Moderator

Evaleen Jaager Roy - Chair, SFU Beedie Advisory Board

Evaleen Jaager Roy advises CEOs on talent and strategic HR and coaches executives for top performance. Her clients span the architecture, development, and investment sectors and also include some of BC’s leading non-profits. Prior to starting her own company, she served as Vice President of Human Resources for Electronic Arts, helping to build the industry for a decade in its early high-growth years in Vancouver, across Europe, and globally. She served as HR Director at Westcoast Energy and began her career in the US auto sector, working in Detroit and New York City.

Evaleen is an active community builder. She served as Board Chair at Simon Fraser University, the first alumna to be elected to this role. Currently, she is Chair of the SFU Beedie School of Business Advisory Board. Evaleen also served as Board Chair at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, helping to pave the way for the iconic new campus. She is Past Chair of the HR & Compensation Committees of the Banff Centre – the world’s largest arts and creativity incubator – and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. She is past Board Member at Curatio, one of BC’s celebrated early-stage health tech companies. Evaleen is recognized as an outstanding Alumna from SFU, is a BIV Influential Business Woman Award winner as well as a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In recognition of her community impact, she has received honorary doctorates from Simon Fraser University and from Emily Carr. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BBA (Hons) from Simon Fraser University. In 2019 she was appointed Honorary Consul for Estonia in BC and in 2021, elected to serve on the Executive Council of the BC Consular Corps.

Jack Austin and Panelists - Unlikely Insider
From Left to Right: Jack Austin, Sarah Kutulakos, Jeff Nankivell, Paul Evans, Jing Li, and Evaleen Jaager Roy.
Partners logos - Unlikely Insider