Alan Bowker served for thirty-five years in Canada's foreign service, including as High Commissioner to Guyana. He has a PhD in Canadian history and has taught at Royal Military College. He lives in Ottawa.
His latest book is A Time Such as There Never Was Before: Canada After the Great War. He has also edited two collections of essays by Stephen Leacock, whom he considers one of the most pereceptive commentators on early twentieth-century Canada. To learn more about these books click on the titles in the box at the upper right corner of this page.
Alan Bowker was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He received his primary and secondary education in Winnipeg, Toronto, Chatham (New Jersey), and Oakville (Ontario). In 1965 he graduated with an honours BA in Modern History (English Option) from the University of Toronto, followed by an MA in history, and a PhD in Canadian history from the same university.
After teaching high school, and university teaching as a graduate student, Bowker joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1973. He was posted to Tanzania (1975-7), and Zimbabwe (1982-5), and represented Canada in Mozambique, Seychelles, and Mauritius. He served as Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana and Ambassador to Suriname (1996-1999).
At headquarters he managed Canada-US economic, environmental, transport, and boundary issues (1978-82), and co-ordinated Canadian participation in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (today the OSCE) during the last years of the Cold War (1985-90). He managed Cabinet and Parliamentary Liaison (1990-93), and Access to Information and Privacy Protection (1993-1996).
As Director of International Academic Relations (1999-2005) he was responsible for international education policy, scholarship programs, Canadian studies abroad, education marketing, and international youth exchange programs. From 2005 until his retirement in 2008, Bowker was seconded to Royal Military College, where he taught Canadian history, military history, civics, foreign and defence policy, social history, and the history of the Cold War.
His books flow from the conviction, reinforced by his academic studies, his career in foreign affairs, and the experience of teaching officer cadets, that Canadians need to know their history if we are to understand who we are and why our experience matters in the world.
Bowker has served on the Board of an Ottawa classical music festival, and is President of the Friends of the Concert Hall, a non-profit charitable corporation dedicated to building an acoustically perfect, mid-sized concert hall in downtown Ottawa. He and his wife Carolyn, also a retired public servant, have visited Canadian battlefields in France and Belgium and travelled by car across Canada from Halifax to Victoria, and they enjoy visits with their two daughters, their husbands, and three grandchildren.