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Elizabeth Dowdeswell

  • Mentor 2004
  • Alumni
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Lieutenant Governor / President and CEO / Under-Secretary General
Government of Ontario / Council of Canadian Academies / United Nations

    She was the Trudeau mentor of 2003 Trudeau scholars Anna-Liisa Aunio and Ginger Gibson.

    Elizabeth Dowdeswell is the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Previoulsy, she was the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. Her public service career has spanned provincial, federal and international borders and transcended traditional disciplinary lines. Throughout, Ms. Dowdeswell's focus has been on engaging the public in public policy-making, and strengthening communications and education as a means to achieve results. Recently she served as founding President & CEO of Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization, an assignment which resulted in a government decision on the long term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. She is also an adjunct professor in public health at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto.

    As Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program from 1993 to 1998, Ms. Dowdeswell led the agency's transformation into a modern organization, tackling issues of trade and globalization, developing programs of environment assessment and reporting, and environmental law. Prior to joining the UN, she served as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada, responsible for the national weather and atmospheric agency.

    Ms. Dowdeswell is an active member of various Canadian and international boards, advisory panels and commissions. She holds nine honourary degrees and is the recipient of the prestigious Memorial Gold Medal awarded by Charles University in Prague.