by Jyotsna Venkatesh
Bio: Fred Ninh is an Associate with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, where he is responsible for providing advice
and analysis on a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues. Fred holds a Master’s degree from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, where he was Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Paterson Review of International Affairs, Contributing Editor of the Journal of Public and International Affairs (Princeton University), and Co-President of the NPSIA Students’ Association. He is actively involved with the School’s alumni chapter. Fred received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and also spent time overseas studying at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs and the University of Amsterdam.
JV: Where do you currently work? Briefly describe your position and the main tasks that you are involved with regularly.
FN: I am currently an Associate with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). The CCCE is the senior voice of Canada’s business community and represents chief executives and leading entrepreneurs in all sectors and regions of the country. At the Council, I’m responsible for providing advice and analysis on a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues.
JV: Why NPSIA?
FN: I chose NPSIA because of its excellent track record in producing some of Canada’s top international affairs professionals. It also seemed to be the perfect place to study international affairs due to its proximity to key decision makers, its extensive alumni network, as well as its combination of practical and theoretical approaches.
JV: What are you most excited or passionate about? (doesn’t have to be related to professional work or NPSIA)
FN: I love travelling and experiencing different cultures/ways of life- I’m either travelling or planning my next trip.
That being said, it should be an exciting next few years here in Ottawa – with the upcoming election (my very first one in the capital!), NPSIA’s 50th anniversary, and Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
JV: What would you say to a student that is still not quite sure what to do after they graduate? Did your experience at NPSIA alter your career and life goals?
FN: The first thing I would say is that it’s not the end of the world. Keep trying different things to see what you like and make sure that you are constantly improving yourself in the process. Having a diverse bank of experience to draw from is never a bad thing. If you try something and it’s not something you were expecting, at least you will have learned a bit about yourself and perhaps some other useful lessons.
JV: Name your favourite local and international spot.
FN: This is a tough one. Ottawa is definitely an emerging hot spot and cool new spots open up all the time. If I had to choose though, it would probably be Union 613 – just because of its speakeasy.
My favourite international spot has to be Le Perchoir in Paris. It’s a super cool little restaurant/bar that occupies the top floor and rooftop of an inconspicuous apartment building in Paris’ Oberkampf district. Incredible views of Paris. Go at sunset.
JV: What is your definition of success?
FN: The most important metric of success for me is undoubtedly the ability to drive positive, meaningful change. There are lots of problems that need to be tackled in the world, and if I can do my part to contribute, I would be more than thrilled.
JV: Are there any specific people who mentored you or inspired you as a grad student?
FN: I’m actually quite lucky to be working with several NPSIA alum at the Council. They have all been an incredible resource for me- and I am certain I will continue counting on them for support and advice going forward.
As for inspiration – there was an endless supply of that from my former classmates. I have never met a more ambitious and inspiring group of people in my life!
JV: If you had to morph into an animal, what animal would you be?
FN: I would definitely be a bird. I mean, who wouldn’t want to fly, right?
JV: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?
This is slightly embarrassing, but I only recently watched my first Star Wars movie (this probably explains a lot of my awkwardness as a child). My goal is to watch all of the movies by the end of the year! Anyway, to answer the question, I love LOTR; however, I was read Harry Potter to as a child, so that wins just based on sentimental value.
JV: Now that you’ve been through the program at NPSIA, what are some important lessons you’ve learned that you wish you knew as a student?
FN: The most valuable learning experiences for me were the ones that occurred outside of the classroom. There is so much more to school than, well, school. I won’t ramble on about this, but if you’re interested, I wrote a post on this back when I was still a student at NPSIA.
JV: Any final thoughts?
FN: Make sure you keep your eye out for some great alumni events coming up in the next little while! With the 50th anniversary of NPSIA fast approaching, the NPSIA Alumni Chapter is working towards celebrating outstanding achievements of our alumni and strengthening our alumni network in the capital and abroad.