Mr. Stephen Lewis is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. He serves as the board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which is dedicated to turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and he is the co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World in the United States.
Mr. Lewis is a Senior Fellow of the Enough Project. He is an immediate past member of the Board of Directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Emeritus Board Member of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. He served as a Commissioner on the Global Commission on HIV and the Law; the Commission’s landmark report, Risks, Rights & Health, was released in July 2012.
Stephen Lewis’ work with the United Nations spanned more than two decades. He was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from June 2001 until the end of 2006. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organization’s global headquarters in New York.
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, Mr. Lewis became coordinator for the international study—known as the Graça Machel study—on the “Consequences of Armed Conflict on Children.” The report was tabled in the United Nations in 1996.
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 Programme on African Economic Recovery. He also chaired the first International Conference on Climate Change, in 1988, which drew up the first comprehensive policy on global warming.
From 1970-1978, Mr. Lewis was leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, during which time he became leader of the Official Opposition.
Mr. Lewis holds 35 honorary degrees from Canadian universities, as well as honorary degrees from Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Mr. Lewis was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement, in 2003. The same year, Maclean’s magazine honoured Mr. Lewis as their inaugural “Canadian of the Year.” In April 2005, TIME magazine listed Stephen Lewis as one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” In 2007, King Letsie III, monarch of the Kingdom of Lesotho (a small mountainous country in Southern Africa) invested Mr. Lewis as Knight Commander of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe. The order is named for the founder of Lesotho; the knighthood is the country’s highest honour.
During the course of his tenure as Special Envoy, Mr. Lewis received a number of prestigious awards. Amongst them are the Jonathan Mann Health and Human Rights Award from the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (2003); the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in recognition of outstanding contributions to public health (2003); the Pearson Peace Medal, awarded by the United Nations Association in Canada to celebrate outstanding achievement in the field of international service and understanding (2004); the International Council of Nurses’ Health and Human Rights Award, awarded quadrennially for outstanding contributions to international health and human rights (2005); the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Leadership Award, from the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas (2006); and the Health and Human Rights Award from the Doctors of the World, USA (2007).
Stephen Lewis’ best-selling book, Race Against Time was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Award and the Trillium Book Award. It won the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for non-fiction book of the year, and Mr. Lewis was named the CBA’s Author of the Year for 2005.