Ian Wood attended Ridley from 1950 to 1953 where he played basketball, tennis, fencing, and football before going on to Western University, graduating with honours in History and Political Science in 1957. At Western, Ian was on the swimming team, a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, the university choir and the Canadian Officers Training Programme, earning a summer stint as a platoon commander in Germany with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He was a university-nominated Rhodes Scholar candidate for Ontario.
In May 1957, Ian was offered a position in Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, but received unprecedented permission to accept a postgraduate Fellowship at Duke University’s prestigious Commonwealth Studies Centre. On his return to Ottawa in 1958 and, after accelerated in-house training, he was posted to the Canadian Consulate-General, New York as Vice–Consul and Assistant Trade Commissioner, the first of eight out-of-country assignments with the Departments of Industry, Trade and Commerce and External Affairs (now Global Affairs Canada), spanning 33 years and covering 25 accredited countries in the Middle East, Western and Eastern Europe.
While Minister-Counsellor (Commercial) at the Embassy in Paris, he was selected to attend the Banff School of Advanced Management. After Paris, he went to the Embassy in Moscow as Minister (Commercial) and second in seniority to the Canadian Ambassador. He travelled widely in the Soviet Union developing a long-term business, trade and services promotion strategy with the ministerial-levelCanada-USSR Joint Economic Commission and served as Canada’s observer at the Geneva-based COCOM East-West trade discussions.
From Moscow, Ian declined nomination as High Commissioner to Nigeria opting for a leave of absence to join an international oil and gas conglomerate based in Geneva, Switzerland. As Vice-President (Development), he had global responsibility for project investment analysis, international liaison with producing states and managing a U.S. subsidiary. He was appointed Ambassador to Kuwait with concurrent accreditation to the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Following his four-year term, in 1985, Ian returned to Canada and attended various programmes offered by Carleton University and The Centre for Management Research and Development before secondment to the Montreal-based Corporate Higher-Education Forum as Project Director of a research study entitled “Going Global: Meeting the Need for International Business Expertise in Canada.” The report (May 1988) stimulated discussions with a number of national groups—among them the Conference Board of Canada, The Business Council on National Issues and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
An appointment as Director-General, Trade Communication Bureau followed, responsible for the delivery of all Departmental communications relating to trade, tourism and investment issues, including economic summits, international expos and departmental advertising, publications, and polls.
Ian’s last out-of–country posting was as Consul-General at Seattle with jurisdiction over a quarter of the territorial U.S. (including the states of Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Idaho), focusing on high-level personal liaison with state governors, congressional, business-financial-industrial, and academic personalities.
In his retirement, Ian and his wife, Barbara have backpacked around South America, gone on safari in southern Africa, walked across Switzerland and Turkey, followed the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, climbed Mounts Kilimanjaro and Kinabalu (Borneo), and sailed the seven seas aboard container ships.