You are Canadian by birth and finished your university education in Toronto in 1991, before moving to Europe to do a Masters of International Relations in Amsterdam. How was your first experience of Europe?
It was not my first stay. In fact, my family had a strong connection to Europe. We lived in the UK for 18 months when I was seven or eight, my sisters both married French men and we all lived in Aix-en-Provence together for a year and a half before my trip to Amsterdam. So we are Europhiles. Looking back, I would say that Amsterdam was a wonderful time, and very eye-opening for a Canadian. The cultures are very different, the city is very international and I had the real advantage of having a nice Dutch girlfriend whose family welcomed me into their circle. I got a true vision of Dutch life and have been a Dutchophile ever since.