As president of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) since 1 May 2013, Jean Lebel leads IDRC's contributions to Canada's international priorities. He is responsible for significant funding partnerships with foreign governments, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector in an institution that invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world.
Prior to assuming the presidency of IDRC, Lebel worked in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, where he conducted ground-breaking work in agriculture, mining, and urban development based on an ecosystem approach to human health. In 2010, Lebel drew on 20 years' experience managing programs in the developing world to spearhead a new program area at IDRC. This area, known as Agriculture and Environment, focuses on agriculture, food security, and climate change and adaptation. Together with Inclusive Economies and Technology and Innovation, Agriculture and Environment is a pillar of IDRC programming today.
Lebel holds a PhD in environmental sciences from l'Université du Québec à Montréal and an MScA in occupational health sciences from McGill University. He has served on the boards of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research, the Centre for Global Pluralism, and the International Economic Forum of the Americas. In 2016, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appointed him a Trudeau mentor.