By Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco

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In Confluence, Canada's Tech Envoy in Silicon Valley, Consul General Rana Sarkar delves into issues shaping technology and diplomacy through the lenses of Silicon Valley, Canada, and the world. Each episode, Sarkar presses critical topics with subject matter experts to gain an unrestricted, deep dive into the tech policy issues defining our times.

Episode Date
Canada’s Digital Policy Landscape with Taylor Owen

How do we regulate the Internet when there are so many components and so many ways it can go wrong? That’s what host Rana Sarkar discusses with guest Taylor Owen on this week’s episode. Taylor Owen is the Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications, and founding director of The Center for Media, Technology and Democracy, and an Associate Professor in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. In their conversation, Rana and Taylor dive into the challenges of monitoring content online; frameworks for tech regulation; how the information ecosystem has changed in the past decade and tensions that Web 3 may create for future tech regulations. The episode also links back to earlier conversations on Confluence about global tech policy, as Rana and Taylor share updates on Canadian tech policy and discuss the role that Canada can play in global tech regulation. 


Taylor Owen Website

Taylor Owen Twitter

Big Tech podcast

Sep 22, 2022
Geopolitics, Tech and the Indo-Pacific with James Crabtree

Welcome back for season two of Confluence! On this week’s episode, host Rana Sarkar sits down with James Crabtree, Executive Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies - Asia office to discuss the current geopolitical and geoeconomic moment. Prior to joining the IISS, James was a Singapore-based author and journalist, and an Associate Professor of Practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. His best-selling 2018 book, The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age was shortlisted for the FT / McKinsey book of the year. Prior to academia, James worked for the Financial Times, most recently as Mumbai bureau chief, and has written for a wide range of global publications. He also worked as a senior policy adviser in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair. Crabtree recently hosted the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a conference of heightened importance in this critical time in the Indo-Pacific region. In the weeks prior to the conference, we spoke to Crabtree about the wide range of issues facing the Indo-Pacific region including the impact of climate change on our current geopolitical moment; the rise of minilateralism; the evolving posture of the tech sector in the Indo-Pacific; the role of China and how the United States and Canada are engaging in the region.


James Crabtree Website

James Crabtree Twitter

The 2022 Shangri-La Dialogue

James Crabtree May 26, 2022 Financial Times essay - “Still Top Gun? What Tom Cruise’s new movie tells us about American Power”

Jun 30, 2022
Diversity in the Boardroom

On this week’s episode of Confluence, we tackle the critical issue of diversity in company leadership. Host Rana Sarkar speaks with two experts on the topic: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Founder and Chair of theBoardlist, and Jennifer Holmstrom, Head of Platform at GGV Capital. Both women have long histories of advocating for both inclusive talent acquisition and hiring practices, as well as diverse boards. In this episode, learn more about why making sure that talent—at the top and bottom—is equitable and representative, and the role that both companies and government policy play in keeping our business and innovation ecosystems fair and representative. What tools do we need to ensure diversity in the boardroom? How can we work together to nurture diverse talent pools with equal opportunities? And why is this good for business?


·       Sukhinder Singh Cassidy LinkedIn

·       Sukhinder Singh Cassidy Twitter

·       theBoardlist 

·       Forbes: Aim For Impact With Your Choices, Advises Founder Of theBoardlist Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

·       Bloomberg: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy on Entrepreneurship

·       Jennifer Holmstrom LinkedIn

·       Jennifer Holmstrom Twitter

·       GGV Capital

·       Go Big, Go Vertical: with Dave Vasen (Brightwheel) and Jen Holmstrom (GGV Capital)

Mar 24, 2022
The Cost of Doing Nothing: A Conversation with Janice Stein on Leadership, Geopolitics and Tech

On this week’s episode of Confluence, host Rana Sarkar sits down with Dr. Janice Stein, founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, to discuss how organizations and leaders must adapt to our rapidly changing geopolitical moment. Dr. Stein shares observations and lessons from years of advising with leaders and organizations allocating scarce resources to respond to rapid scale crises. How can leaders prepare to succeed in today’s uncertain environment and what is the cost of doing nothing? What critical skillsets are needed for organizations to adapt? What new frameworks will be needed as the fourth industrial revolution continues to change how we work and live? How can the private sector and government build co-literacy to improve collaboration going forward? 


Mar 17, 2022
MOVE: Migratory Tech Futures with Parag Khanna

With massive global shifts happening due to forces like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, people have started to migrate further away from cities. To understand how people, ideas, and innovation are moving around the world, host Rana Sarkar talks to geo-strategist Parag Khanna: Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario-based strategic advisory firm. 

Khanna recently authored a new monograph MOVE: The Forces Uprooting Us. According to Khanna, economic collapse, the destablization of democracy, and technological disruption is leading us into a new era of mass migration. In this episode, we try to understand how we got here, and follow along with Khanna on a journey to where we’re going. In times of unequal resource distribution, how will people organize themselves in the future? How will governments adapt to changing population demographics? And how can we come to terms with new climate geographies for the future?

Parag Khanna Website

Parag Khanna LinkedIn

Parag Khanna Twitter

FutureMap Website

Move: Mapping Human Talk at Google

McKinsey & Company Author Talks: Parag Khanna on the forces creating a new geography of opportunity

Migration, geography and humanity: Parag Khanna, author of ‘MOVE’ on the Book Club Podcast

Immigration, booming population and global influence: Is this the ‘heroic’ Canadian dream?

Jan 27, 2022
Tech Talent & Diversity: What is Canada’s ‘Secret Sauce’?

How does immigration policy impact Canadian tech’s ability to thrive globally? How do flows of both Canadian and foreign talent into and out of the country work? How can the private sector work to actually make companies, and their leadership, more diverse? And what ‘secret sauce’ makes Canada such an amazing place to work?

To help us better answer those questions, you’ll hear from two key players working to make Canada’s technology sector more robust and diverse. Host Rana Sarkar speaks to Marco Mendicino—Canada’s former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship who recently transitioned to become Minister of Public Safety—on the importance of immigration for opportunity, growth, and innovation. The policies that the government creates to foster inclusion and dynamism in the workforce are crucial to creating the kind of ecosystem that Canada has become known for. We also sit down with Andre Charoo, Toronto-born founder of Maple VC, to discuss the Canadian values that give our tech companies a competitive advantage. We discuss how diverse populations increase economic opportunity, and how true diversity in technology will only happen when the people at the very top are representative of the communities they serve.


Min. Marco Mendicino Profile

Min. Marco Mendicino Website

Min. Marco Mendicino LinkedIn

Min. Marco Mendicino Twitter

Andre Charoo LinkedIn

Andre Charoo Twitter

Maple VC


Andre Charoo on Need to Know Podcast

Andre Charoo on 

Rep Matters


Dec 23, 2021
The History and Future of Silicon Valley

In order to understand what’s happening in Silicon Valley today, we look back at the history of the world’s most famous innovation hub. On this week’s episode of Confluence, host Rana Sarkar speaks with Margaret O’Mara, Professor in the Department of History at the University of Washington and author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America. Her book traces the region’s lineage back to its humble beginnings as the agricultural, “prune capital” of the world. It describes the unique set of circumstances and environmental factors which made Silicon Valley a global research hub before today’s leading tech companies had even been conceived. Rana then connects with Jennifer Stojkovic, Executive Director of, an organization that represents and advocates for tech with the City of San Francisco. Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been researching and reporting on demographic changes in the city—mapping the so-called “techxodus.” Growing costs of living in the city have led to a real housing crisis, which leaves the road ahead for Silicon Valley somewhat uncertain. As global communications technologies make remote work easier than ever before, will Silicon Valley remain in the San Francisco Bay area? Could there be a “Silicon Valley” somewhere else in the world, or in other words, is Silicon Valley a place, or an idea? Tune in this week for sharp discussion on the past and future of Silicon Valley. 


Margaret O’Mara Website

Margaret O’Mara Twitter

Margaret O’Mara LinkedIn

Margaret O’Mara Wikipedia 

Margaret O’Mara New York Times

The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America at Penguin Random House

Jen Stojkovic Twitter

Jen Stojkovic LinkedIn

Jen Stojkovic Wikipedia Website

Vegan Women’s Summit 

Rolling Stone Culture Council

Nov 18, 2021
Techplomacy for Tomorrow with Brad Smith

On this week’s episode of Confluence, we speak with President of Microsoft, Brad Smith. In 2019, Smith penned Tools & Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, a book which explains how Big Tech has a core responsibility to address the issues and potential harms of the technologies they create. This year, Smith updated the book with a second edition for 2021 that includes new chapters on cybersecurity and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke to Smith about these updates, and how he’s seen the landscape in Silicon Valley change in the years since the book’s first publishing. How should Government policy makers be engaging with the private sector? What kinds of collaboration can lead to the development of more ethical innovation? And, from the perspective at the helm of one of the most important companies in the world, where is Microsoft headed for the future?


Nov 04, 2021
Canada’s Tech Community: Leading the Way

On this week’s episode of Confluence, we continue our conversation with leading Canadians who are at the forefront of global tech. Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder of Cloudflare, is back to talk about whether or not there is a special Canadian sauce that puts Canadian entrepreneurs in a unique position to foster innovation. We also spoke to Atlee Clark, Director of Operations at Ottawa-based Shopify and former Executive Director of the C100 in the Bay Area. These women have set standards in their fields for innovation and business leadership and we set out to find out how.


Is Silicon Valley confined to its geographical location or has its ‘borders’ expanded? Could Canada be home to the next Big Tech Hub? As talent continues to circulate around the world, how should we be paying attention to ‘brain flow’, and what strategies can be deployed at scale to attract and retain talent? And finally, what values should leaders be focusing on to support diverse communities and more equitable innovation?


- Michelle Zatlyn LinkedIn

Aug 12, 2021
Canada in the Valley: Owning the Podium

On this week’s episode of Confluence, we’re coming back home and talking about Canada’s role in defining the future of tech. There seems to be a special Canadian sauce that gives us an edge. To help us figure out where Canada belongs in this conversation, we’re talking to three powerhouses in the tech landscape (who also all happen to be Canadian!). First, you’ll hear from C100s Laura Buhler and Chris Albinson, two Canadian expats working in the Bay Area to galvanize the global Canadian tech diaspora . We also sat down with Michelle Zatlyn, founder of Cloudflare, who reveals the differences between Canadian and American cultures within tech and how much community matters within Canada’s growing landscape. 

Is Silicon Valley confined to its geographical location or has it become so much more than that? How is Gen Z reshaping the way we think and work within tech? Will global pandemic provide an opportunity for Canada to define best business and investment practices for the future? And finally, is there something holding Canada back from being a top player on a global scale?


Aug 05, 2021
The Case for Pro-Human Tech and How We Get There

The need to create and shift towards pro-human tech is more important than it’s ever been. The question is, how do we get there? Do we leave it up to the governments, policy makers and diplomats to figure out or do we let Big Tech answer this for us? Does a world exist where they can all work together while our democracy is at stake? This week, Rana sits down with Zvika Krieger, Director of Responsible Innovation at Facebook, who is searching for the answers to these questions everyday. His breadth of experience in every corner of the tech world has equipped him with unique perspectives on how to tackle these issues. 

We talk to Zvika about what motivated his career trajectory to go from journalism, government, and now into the private sector. We also discuss the evolution of tech diplomacy in Silicon Valley, the biases that are inherent to product decisions, and how the societal impact of products are an existential risk for Big Tech companies like Facebook. 

Connect with us on Twitter. We’re @CanCGSF and @RanaSarkar_. We look forward to continuing the conversation.



Zvika Krieger

Zvika Krieger Twitter

Scoop: Facebook hire aims to infuse ethics into product design

A Practical Guide for Building Ethical Tech

WEF Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Center for Humane Technology

All Tech Is Human

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Opinion | Who Will Teach Silicon Valley to be Ethical?

The World’s First Ambassador to Silicon Valley

Jul 22, 2021
Pro-Human Technology

On this episode of Confluence, host Rana Sarkar turns to the private and not-for-profit sectors to get the perspective of folks who really understand the human side of technology and the implications of technology policy on real people. To do this, Sarkar speaks with Aza Raskin—Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology and the Earth Species Project—as well as Yael Eisenstat—Future of Democracy Fellow at the Berggruen Institute, Founder of Kilele Global risk advisory firm, and former Senior Intelligence Officer for the United States. Coming from diverse backgrounds in engineering, intelligence, and corporate leadership, these two guests understand the harms that misuse of tech can cause to unwitting citizens. These harms are serious, and both guests advocate for a more humane standard for the tech industry that is grounded in supporting rather than exploiting users. In this conversation, Sarkar and his guests discuss the role that public-private partnership in tandem with comprehensive regulation can have in shaping the landscape.


Aza Raskin LinkedIn  

Aza Raskin Website

Aza Raskin Wikipedia

Yael Eisenstat Website

Yael Eisenstat LinkedIn

Yael Eisenstat Twitter

Yael Eisenstat Wikipedia

Center for Humane Technology

Earth Species Project

Berggruen Institute

Kilele Global

Additional Resources:

Section 230 Debate on Electronic Frontier Foundation

Section 230 Debate on The Verge

Section 230 review by US Department of Justice

Your Undivided Attention Podcast

Yael Eisenstat TED Talk

Yaël Eisenstat: 'Facebook is ripe for manipulation and viral misinformation'

What This CIA Veteran Learned Helping Facebook With Elections

Jul 15, 2021
Techplomacy Deep Dive

In this episode of Confluence, host Rana Sarkar takes a closer look at what techplomacy is, how it works, and why it’s important. To better understand the global stakes at play, we hear  from two experts from Stanford University: Eileen Donahoe—Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator and former US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva—and Marietje Schaake—International Policy Director of the Cyber Policy Center and former Member of the European Parliament. Both guests have strong backgrounds in governance and law, with extensive practical experience working on the frontlines of diplomacy for public good. This episode takes the conversation from Episode 1 on the importance of techplomacy deeper by focusing on specific policy issues and their international ramifications. Both speakers explain some of the thorniest problems faced by governing bodies today—like the rise of digital authoritarianism and a growing digital divide . They offer some possible solutions and frameworks for action that can be achieved through greater diplomatic coordination. 


Eileen Donahoe Stanford Profile 

Eileen Donahoe LinkedIn
Eileen Donahoe Twitter

Marietje Schaake Stanford Profile

Marietje Schaake LinkedIn
Marietje Schaake Website

Marietje Schaake Twitter

Cyber Policy Center

Global Digital Policy Incubator

Additional Resources:

The Digital Technology Agenda at the Summit for Democracy

Democratic Source Code for a New U.S.-EU Tech Alliance

Report of the Working Group on Platform Scale

Top Technology Policy Priorities for the New Administration

A Transatlantic Effort to Take on China Starts with Technology

A Rights-Respecting Digital Policy Agenda: Human Rights Community Perspectives for the New U.S. Administration

Jul 08, 2021
Welcome to Confluence

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Confluence! Meet Consul General Rana Sarkar, Canada’s Tech Envoy in Silicon Valley. In this first episode, Sarkar introduces the concept of techplomacy, or technology diplomacy. Over the past five years, Sarkar and his team at the Consulate of Canada in San Francisco have been using diplomacy to help shape the future of technology regulation. To help illustrate this work, Sarkar speaks to Peggy Hicks—Director, Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures, and Right to Development Division at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)— and Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen—Tech Ambassador for Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Technology and Sustainable Development lead at the World Economic Forum. Both guests are diplomats working at the intersection of human rights and technology policy. Together, they help Sarkar introduce the concept of techplomacy,  give examples of this kind of diplomatic work, and describe the  global importance of techplomacy—with implications for everyone. Both guests on this episode provide a global perspective that is both rooted in yet extends far beyond Silicon Valley. While their approaches to dealing with the enormous impact of the tech industry may differ, human rights frameworks are a  common throughline that many actors can agree upon as a guide for action.

Peggy Hicks WEF Profile

Peggy Hicks LinkedIn

Peggy Hicks Twitter

Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen WEF Profile

Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen LinkedIn

Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen Twitter

Danish Tech Embassy

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

Canada in San Francisco Twitter

Rana Sarkar Twitter

Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco

Additional Resources:
The rise of TechPlomacy in the Bay Area

Why techplomacy is more important than ever

Introducing ‘Techplomacy’: A roundtable with Denmark’s Tech Ambassador - Casper Klynge

All Tech is Human, August 2020

Massey Dialogue, September 2020

Dane against the machine: Tech-diplomat aims to protect fundamentals of democracy in digital age

Citizen Lab Submission to the Government of Canada

Canada Digital Government

Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s Efforts to Support Human Rights

Canada and the United States

Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat

Jul 01, 2021
Introducing: Confluence With Rana Sarkar

In the Consulate of Canada’s first podcast, Rana Sarkar, Canada’s Tech Envoy in Silicon Valley, will delve into the issues shaping technology, diplomacy, and economic recovery through the lenses of Silicon Valley, Canada, and the world. In each episode, he will discuss pressing topics with subject matter experts to gain an unrestricted, deep dive into the tech policy issues shaping our times. Working at the intersections of big tech, public policy and change, Sarkar brings a unique perspective to these conversations and offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the global technological revolutions happening all around us. Audiences can tune in for sharp, informative, and entertaining conversations in this limited series. 

Jun 22, 2021