The Oxford University Society in Ottawa (OUS Ottawa) is a friendly and open community group in Canada’s National Capital Region. We are part of the global network of Oxford University Societies, which range from Abu Dhabi to Zagreb.
Our members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but enjoy a shared bond through Oxford University. Most are Oxonians — members of the University — but we happily welcome anyone with an interest in Oxford. We are especially keen to engage recent graduates of the University and new arrivals to Ottawa.
We hold activities throughout the year, which bring our members together around our common interests and affection for Oxford. We also hold joint events with our colleagues from other British university alumni groups.
To join OUS Ottawa or to find out more about our upcoming activities, please feel free to contact us.
Our Volunteer Officers
President: David Sacks, Balliol College
David is a freelance journalist and author, and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Montreal Gazette, and Harper’s Bazaar, amongst others. He has written two non-fiction books, and has taught arts journalism and other non-fiction writing courses at New York University, Algonquin College, Carleton University, and the University of Ottawa. In prior decades, he worked as an editor at Vanity Fair, Interview, and First for Women magazines. He can be reached through his web site www.alphabet-history.com.
Vice President: Akaash Maharaj, St Edmund Hall
Akaash works in peace and international conflict resolution. He also serves as Ambassador-at-Large for the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and as a Governor and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Outside of his professional life, he has been a national athlete for Canada, and was a triple gold medallist at the International Championships of Equestrian Skill‑at‑Arms. At Oxford, he read PPE, and was successively elected President of the St Edmund Hall JCR and President of the Oxford University Student Union. He can be reached through his web site www.maharaj.org.
Treasurer: Helen Gao, Green Templeton College
Helen is a lifelong advocate for sustainable change and currently serves as policy advisor for the Minister of International Development. She rowed, dined, and was heavily involved in student life at Green Templeton College while completing her masters degree. She has extensive experience in the field of international development, having worked in Kenya, China, Thailand, and Ghana. Her focus largely centres around education and livelihoods for vulnerable populations, including refugees, IDPs, and indigenous communities. She can be reached by e-mail.
Secretary: Ali Pasha, Wolfson College
Ali is a Jean F Chagnon scholar at HEC Montreal and a Leadership Fellow at McGill University, working on the intersection of international business and geopolitics. He is also the founding partner of Lachine Institute, an EdTech non-profit that guides students in applying to Oxford and Cambridge for postgraduate studies. Alongside completing his Master’s degree at Wolfson College, he was elected to the College’s General Purpose Committee, was appointed Vice President of the Oxford Guild, and served two terms as International Officer of the Oxford Union. He can be contacted through his website www.aapasha.com and on LinkedIn.
Alumni Network Liaison: Hilary Clauson, St Cross College
The daughter of two teachers, Hilary is passionate about education and lifelong learning. Her introduction to international development took place in a primary school classroom in Kenya, and her career has included positions with the Canadian International Development Agency, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, Aga Khan Foundation Canada, and Plan International Canada. Hilary’s university days saw her attend five universities on three continents in two languages, including earning a Master’s degree in African Studies from Oxford University. A lifelong Girl Guide, Hilary is always prepared with a smile (and a box of cookies to sell!). She can be reached by e-mail.
Director: John Chenier, University College
Before and after his DPhil at Univ, John had a varied career as a public servant, university lecturer, policy analyst, consultant, and entrepreneur. He spent the best part of three decades building up then selling a newsletter business that operated from the Parliamentary Press Gallery. For the past tens years, he has been active in the Lowertown community, serving as vice president of the community association and as communications coordinator on the board of the Federation of Citizens Association of Ottawa. For the past two years he has been editor of The Lowertown Echo de la Basse-ville. He is married to St Cross College graduate, Nancy Miller Chenier. He can be reached through his web site www.cathcartmuse.com.
Director: Harold Corrin, New College
Harry did a post-graduate course in comparative education at Oxford, dined at New College, and was invited to join OUS Ottawa in 1986. In 1988, he became Ottawa Branch Secretary, a post he occupied intermittently since then. High school English teacher, department head, principal, and Senior Examiner with the Carleton Board of Education, he was appointed Secular Headmaster of Ottawa Torah Institute High School in 2000 until his retirement in 2015. He is married to Cheryl Petersen. He can be reached by e-mail.
Director: Piers Hutchinson, Oriel College
Piers is a specialist in new product development and co-founded Ipsos-Reid, Canada’s largest market research firm. He is about to launch the first complete Theory of Everything that he dreamed of 60 years ago at Oxford. Starting from the ultimate particles and waves, his theory excludes all inherently untestable mysteries like the Big Bang, Black Holes, and spooky action at a distance. For the first time, it explains the physics of feelings and addresses the most difficult problems in science: how inanimate cells can co-operate to produce the creative profusion of life from embryo to old age, and how, unlike a robot, we can understand it all from a privileged frame of reference. He can be reached by e-mail.
Director: Oz Jungic, Magdalen College and St Antony’s College
Oz is a policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada. For several years, he has contributed to the Economist Intelligence Unit on politics and economics in southeastern Europe. He completed his Master’s degree at St Antony’s College and his DPhil at Magdalen College, where he served President of the Middle Common Room.
Director: John Matheson, St Antony’s College
John currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Prior to this, John worked in the “war room” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 election campaign. Whilst at Oxford, John’s thesis examined the economic and political dimensions of the Canada-Brazil bilateral relationship. His interest in foreign policy was, in part, informed by five years at British American Tobacco where he led human resources strategy development in Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, and London. He can be reached by e-mail.
Director: Helen Morris, St Antony’s College
Helen was born and grew up in Edinburgh. She has a DPhil in International Relations from St Antony’s College. Dr Morris worked as a political analyst in Brussels and in Oxford, where her focus was on outside intervention in inter-ethnic disputes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, and is currently a speechwriter. Away from work, her interests include biking, sailing, swimming, dark chocolate, and Wensleydale cheese.
Director: Sacha Nandlall, St Anne’s College
Sacha is a defence scientist with Defence Research and Development Canada, working on space intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. After completing undergraduate studies at McGill University, he worked in Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Development and Economic Planning, through Voluntary Service Overseas Canada. His Engineering Science DPhil thesis at Oxford was on High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound in cancer treatment. Sacha also worked at Columbia University studying aortic aneurysm disease, and at Haverford College as a Physics instructor to the blind. His interests include improv theatre, soccer refereeing, and skiing. He is also an executive member of the Research Group of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada labour union. He can be reached by e-mail.
Director: Keith O’Rourke, Worcester College
Keith took a DPhil in Statistics while he was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine and a Research Associate in Worcester College’s Senior Common Room. He was Secretary of the OU Amateur Boxing Club, having done kickboxing before and until the current pandemic. His primary interests have been in striving for a (scientifically) profitable management of an economy of research – how to enable himself and others to hasten getting less wrong about the world. He has held appointments at the universities of Oxford, Duke, Ottawa, and Toronto. The major topic of his publications was Meta-analysis. He currently works in pesticide risk assessment at Health Canada. One of his current interests is deflating the misperceived value of complexity in methodologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. He can be reached by e-mail.
Director: John Price, St Catherine’s College
John studied punting and modern languages at St Catherine’s College, pursuing each subject with equal vigour. He attended the College at a time when it was still largely a construction site, just as it was emerging as Oxford University’s jewel of functionalist architecture. He taught and translated languages in Canada until his retirement in 2011. He can be reached by e-mail.
Director: Michael Stott, Lincoln College
Michael is a serial entrepreneur who has retired several times. His current incarnation is as President of Astrocom Associates Inc, a space, radar, and communications consulting company in Ottawa. Prior to that, he was founder and President of Neodym TeleMed Inc, a company specialising in design of medical electronics devices. In a previous lifetime he was co-founder of Canadian Astronautics Ltd (CAL Corporation), a space, radar, and communications systems engineering company, where he was responsible for building many spacecraft and related high technology systems. Prior to that, he was spacecraft systems manager at Telesat Canada, involved in the development and launch of Canada’s first communications satellite. While at Oxford he read Physics.
Director: Christopher Wilkie, Corpus Christi College
Christopher is currently Secretary of the International Joint Commission. He was previously Canada’s Ambassador to Algeria, and has worked for Global Affairs Canada across Europe and Africa. At Oxford, he managed to find the time to complete a DPhil in International Relations, where he was also MCR President at Corpus. Dr Wilkie also has an MSc(Econ) from the LSE, a BA(Hons) from Queen’s University, an International Baccalaureate from the United World College of the Atlantic, and has published widely on trade, investment, and international governance.