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avatar for Bob Watts

Bob Watts

Consensus Building Institute
Senior Associate

Bob Watts has been involved in many major Indigenous issues in Canada over the past 20 years and led the process, with support from across Canada and internationally, to establish Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is examining and will make recommendations regarding the Indian Residential School era and its legacy. He was Interim Executive Director of the Commission and was a member of the team, which negotiated the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

His current activities include working with Mediate BC to recommend ways for Aboriginal communities to respond to changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act and working on the Siting Process with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He is an adjunct professor and fellow in the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, and a frequent speaker on Aboriginal issues.

Mr. Watts is also a former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, served as the Chief of Staff to the Assembly of First Nations‘ National Chief Phil Fontaine, and is a former Assistant Deputy Minister for the Government of Canada. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and fellow at the Harvard Law School. Mr. Watts is from Mohawk and Ojibway ancestry and is a member of the Six Nations Reserve.

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