Stephen Lewis is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, a post he’s held since June 2001. He is also a Commissioner for the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, and a Senior Advisor to the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York. Mr. Lewis serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). And is the chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
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 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, which drew up the first comprehensive policy on global warming.
Mr. Lewis holds 22 honorary degrees from Canadian universities and is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 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.
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 March 2004, Mr. Lewis was honoured by the United Nations Association in Canada with the Pearson Peace Medal, which celebrates outstanding achievements in the field of international service and understanding.
In April 2005, TIME magazine listed Stephen Lewis as one of the ‘100 most influential people in the world’. The same year, the International Council of Nurses awarded Mr. Lewis their prestigious Health and Human Rights Award, which is awarded quadrennially for outstanding contributions to international health and human rights.
Stephen Lewis’ book, Race Against Time was released in October 2005, and was short listed for the Writers’ Trust Award and the Trillium Book Award.