Biography of Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis is an inspiration to all Canadians who work for justice on the local, national or international stage. He is truly a Canadian hero!

  • 1970 – 1978: leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party and leader of the Official Opposition.

His work with the United Nations spans more than two decades:

  • 1984 – 1988: Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations
  • 1995 – 1999: Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the New York global headquarters
  • 2001 – 2006: UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa
  • 2003: While travelling in Sub- Saharan Africa, he realized that most of the middle generation had succumbed to AIDS leaving Grandmothers to care for their orphaned grandchildren. In response to the devastation and courage that he witnessed, he returned to Canada to establish the Stephen Lewis Foundation with the purpose of Easing the Pain of AIDS in Africa. Maclean’s magazine named him Person of the Year in 2003 and in 2004, he was awarded the Pearson Peace Medal
  • 2003: appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada
  • 2007: King Letsie III of Lesotho invested Mr. Lewis as Knight Commander of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe; the country’s highest honour named for the founder of Lesotho.
  • 2012: first recipient of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Author of the 2005 book Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-ravaged Africa which alerted Canadians to the scourge of the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa and the indomitable grandmothers who were left to raise their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.
  • Stephen Lewis holds 37 honorary degrees from Canadian universities as well as from Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University in the US.

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