A Short Biography of Stephen Lewis

In June, 2001, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Stephen Lewis his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Mr. Lewis' work with the UN has shaped the past two decades of his career. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organisation's global headquarters in New York. He was first appointed as Special Representative for UNICEF in 1990. In that capacity, he spoke and traveled regularly, acting as a spokesperson for UNICEF's passionate advocacy of the rights and needs of children, especially children of the developing world.

In 1997, in addition to his work at UNICEF, Mr. Lewis was appointed by the Organization of African Unity to a Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the Genocide in Rwanda. The Rwanda Report was issued in June of 2000.

In 1993, he became coordinator for the international study -- known as the Graca Machel study -- on the Consequences of Armed Conflict on Children. The report was tabled in the United Nations in 1995.

From 1984 through 1988, Stephen Lewis was Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations. In this capacity, he chaired the Committee that drafted the Five-Year UN Program on African Economic Recovery. He also chaired the first International Conference on Climate Change, which drew up the first comprehensive policy on global warming.

Prior to his nomination as Ambassador, Mr. Lewis was a noted radio and television commentator, and during this time he also became a prominent labor relations arbitrator.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Stephen Lewis was an elected representative to the Ontario Legislature, becoming leader of the New Democratic Party and leader of the Official Opposition.

Mr. Lewis holds 18 honourary degrees from Canadian universities. In May 2003, in recognition of outstanding contributions to public health, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health honoured Mr. Lewis with the Dean's Distinguished Service Award. And in 2003, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest honour for lifetime achievement.

Recently Mr. Lewis created the Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org) to help ease the pain of HIV/AIDS in Africa.