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Bob Watts – Founding Chair & Senior Fellow

Bob Watts Robert (Bob) Watts is an independent consultant and trainer, expert in Aboriginal policy, negotiations and conflict resolution. He recently completed his duties as CEO of the Assembly of First Nations and before that as the Interim Executive Director of the Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will examine and make recommendations regarding the Indian Residential School era and its legacy. Bob led the process, supported by an excellent team and many organizations from across Canada and internationally, to create the policies and processes in order to firmly establish the Commission. Bob also served as the Chief of Staff to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine, where he was a member of the team that negotiated the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class action settlement in Canada’s history.

A former Assistant Deputy Minister for the Government of Canada, Bob is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Fellow at the Harvard Law School where he researched and lectured on the role culture plays in conflict. Bob has had the benefit of excellent Indigenous mentorship and western learning which allows him to work well in both worlds. Some of his Indigenous learning has focused on medicine plants, traditional songs, traditional environmental knowledge and leadership. Bob has led the negotiations of co-management agreements, helped build strong corporate partnerships and has lead processes focused on strategic plans and community development.

Bob is a senior associate with the Consensus Building Institute, Cambridge MA and has worked as a practitioner and trainer in both negotiations and conflict resolution. He is also a governor of the Ridgewood Foundation for Community Based Conflict Resolution, and is a Fellow at the European Institute for Community Based Conflict Resolution. He has taught, debated and lectured at a number of universities in Canada and the United States.

Bob is married, has three wonderful daughters and four grandsons. He is from the Mohawk and Ojibway Nations and resides at Six Nations Reserve, Ontario.