HFX Conversations is HFX’s online publication. HFX Conversations is dedicated to bringing ideas and opinions from democratic leaders to the wider public and will publish essays and interviews when they need to be published.


November 22-24, 2019

Halifax, Nova Scotia



Sunday, November 24


5K Run with Canadian Minister of National Defence

LOCATION: Westin Lobby



Global Energy, Renewable Threats


  • Mr. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Founder, Open Russia; Mr. Laurent Ruseckas, Executive Director, Global Gas, IHS Markit
  • MODERATOR: Mr. Ryan Heath, Senior Editor, POLITICO


Out of Control: Nukes Without Treaties


  • Ms. Heather Hurlburt, Director, New Models of Policy Change, New America; Mr. Mikhail Kasyanov, People’s Freedom Party, Russia; General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force
  • MODERATOR: Mr. Bryan Bender, Defense and Space Editor, POLITICO


Halifax Chat ON THE RECORD


Petro Poroshenko

5th President of Ukraine, Government of Ukraine

Moderator Mr. Robin Shepherd

Vice President, Halifax International Security Forum

Will Crimea be returned to Ukraine? There isn’t a doubt in former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s mind that the annexed territory will soon belong to his country once more. The post-war era was destroyed in an instant when President Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea in 2014, bringing U.S.-Russian tensions to their highest point since the Cold War.

In spite of the conflict, Poroshenko is grateful for strong bi-partisan solidarity from Canada and still considers the U.S. to be Ukraine’s strongest ally, even with the uncertainty that shadows that relationship today. He issued a call for Ukraine to join NATO. He also urged the Sunday Halifax Chat to remember that the values of democracy that once united the world, will strengthen NATO solidarity. He left the Forum with a warning from the frontlines of the Russia conflict – “Don’t let Putin divide us.” Ukraine is not going anywhere.


Plenary 7: Security Solutions, Women’s Contributions ON THE RECORD


Admiral Rob Bauer

Chief of Defence, Netherlands Armed Forces

General Jonathan Vance

Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces

Ms. Jody Thomas

Deputy Minister of National Defence, Department of National Defence, Canada

Mr. Atul Khare

Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, United Nations

General Stephen Wilson

Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force

Moderator Dr. Janice Gross Stein

Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Founding Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Canadian Deputy Defence Minister Jody Thomas recognized that in 2019, women must play an equal and significant role in global security – especially at events like the Halifax International Security Forum. The sector is often exclusionary to women, but the seventh plenary encouraged a discussion on how the barriers to gender equality can be removed. Janice Stein opened the panel immediately to the floor, allowing participants to speak directly to their experiences as women leaders in their field. This showed that women in security do not need anyone to speak for them. Their contributions and solutions speak for themselves.

Having more women in the room changes how we look at conflict zones. It changes our access to communities and it should be fundamental to our values as a nation. Canada has taken a leadership role in gender equality, but the world, the industry, and men can do more to ensure that equality is achieved. Including women in security is not just a moral imperative. It is a strategic security advantage that can bring change desperately needed in an uncertain world.


Coffee Break


Plenary 8: Revolutions and their Remains ON THE RECORD


Moderator Mr. James Coomarasamy

Senior Presenter, BBC Radio and World Service

Dr. Joseph Joffe

Publisher and Editor, Die Zeit; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

Ms. Ia Meurmishvili

Senior Editor, Voice of America, Georgia

Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill

Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security, Canada

Ms. Morgan Ortagus

Spokesperson, United States Department of State

You say you want a revolution. Well, everybody wants to change the world. From Hong Kong to Lebanon to Chile to Iran, people are taking to the streets. They are frustrated with institutions that are failing to provide their basic social and economic needs. They are embittered by widening levels of inequality and they are fed up with their leaders’ weakness in the face of the existential threat of our day – climate change. As people rise up and raise their voices all around us, what should we make of this moment? Should we be hopeful? Should we be fearful? And what can democracies do to help?

Morgan Ortagus is convinced that democracies have a big role to play. She highlighted the U.S. State Department’s continuous efforts to use communications methods, old and new from telegrams to Instagram, in order to extend its hand to people who are fighting for their freedoms abroad. The U.S. goal is to amplify their voices for the rest of the world to hear. Dr. Joseph Joffe pointed out that while revolutions have local origins, these battles always turn into something larger. The world’s democracies have an obligation to help, but they can no longer do so by dropping bombs and firing bullets. Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill agreed that democracies need to deliver support, but interventions can only yield long-term results if we encourage revolutionary movements to clear a larger space for women’s voices and leadership.


Closing Lunch

LOCATION: Atlantic Ballroom

In Pictures