University News

Human Rights Hero Stephen Lewis to Speak at SUU

Published: March 25, 2008 | Category: Special Events

Southern Utah University is excited to welcome Stephen Lewis, this year’s Grace Adams Tanner Distinguished Lecturer. Lewis will speak on Time to Deliver: Winning the Battle Against Poverty and Disease in the Developing World, on Thursday at 11:30 a.m., in the Randall Jones Theatre.

Stephen Lewis is one of Canada's most respected commentators on social affairs, international development and human rights. In 2005 TIME named him one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World—in the same category as the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. Lewis is also the recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal for his outstanding achievements in the field of international service and understanding.

Lewis is the former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. The Stephen Lewis Foundation, of which Lewis is the chair of the board, is similarly dedicated to easing the pain of HIV/AIDS in Africa. His 2005 international bestseller, Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa, is a heartfelt and sometimes maddening look at how the world is failing the UN's eight Millennium Development Goals, which were meant in part to cut poverty in half by 2015.

Lewis is formerly a commissioner for the World Health Organization's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. He is a senior advisor for health and human rights to the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. From 1995 to 1999, Lewis was deputy executive director of UNICEF, where he spoke and traveled regularly, advocating for the rights and needs of children, especially children of the developing world.

In 1997, 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. From 1984 through 1988, Lewis was Canadian Ambassador to the UN, where he chaired the Committee that drafted the Five-Year UN Program on African Economic Recovery.

Lewis also chaired the first International Conference on Climate Change, which drew up the first comprehensive policy on global warming.

Currently, Lewis is a professor in global health at McMaster University. He holds 25 honorary degrees from Canadian universities and is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is a Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto, and, in 2003, was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest honor for lifetime achievement.

Each year the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values at Southern Utah University sponsors a distinguished lecture. Funded by the Tanner Trust for Utah Universities through the generosity of the late Professor Obert C. and Mrs. Grace A. Tanner, the center seeks to promote access to scholarly and scientific learning in moral, artistic, intellectual and spiritual concepts. The director of the center is Dr. James W. Harrison, professor of German and Humanities.

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