Paul Heinbecker was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in the summer of 2000 and served until December 2003. In that capacity, he represented Canada in the UN Security Council. He was a leading advocate for and defender of the International Criminal Court, an advocate for the Responsibility to Protect, and an opponent of the Iraq war, proposing a comprimise to give UN weapons inspectors more time to complete their work. He represented Canada at the contentious 2001 Durban conference on human rights.
A career diplomat, Mr. Heinbecker joined the Department of External Affairs in 1965: he had postings abroad in Ankara and Stockholm, and in Paris with the Permanent Delegation of Canada to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); in Ottawa, he served, inter alia, as Director of the United States General Relations Division and as Chairman of the Policy Development Secretariat in External Affairs.
After serving as Minister (Political Affairs) at the Canadian Embassy in Washington in the late Eighties, he joined Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's staff as Chief Foreign Policy Advisor and speech writer and, in 1991, as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Foreign and Defence Policy. In 1992, he was named Ambassador to Germany, where inter alia he promoted German investment in Canada and defended the Canadian East coast fishery from European over-fishing. On his return to Canada, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of Global and Security Policy, and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Mr. Heinbecker led the departmental task force on the abortive, Canadian-led intervention in Zaire and the interdepartmental task force on Kosovo and helped to negotiate the end of that war. He headed the Canadian delegation for the negotiation of the Climate Change Convention in Kyoto. He, also, helped to develop Canada’s human security agenda, making the protection of people rather than states the focus of Canadian foreign policy.
Paul Heinbecker was the inaugural director of the Centre for Global Relations, at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Distinguished Fellow at the independent research Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo.
Mr. Heinbecker received his Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) from Waterloo Lutheran University in 1965, and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the same institution in 1993. He was Alumnus of the Year at WLU in 2003. In 2007, he received an Honorary Doctorate from St.Thomas University in Fredericton.
He is married to Ayşe Köymen; they have two daughters, Yasemin and Céline.