Appointments to the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Centre

(No. 145 - May 29, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced the appointments of Margaret Biggs, Elizabeth Parr-Johnston and Monte Solberg as Canadian members of the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). At the same time, the Minister announced the appointments of Gordon Shirley and Rory Stewart and the reappointment of Faith Mitchell as international members of the Board.

“IDRC will benefit from the years of experience in the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally, that these outstanding individuals will bring to its Board,” said Minister Cannon. “Their knowledge in areas such as education, communications, management and development will be an asset for the Centre. I am certain that they will all make significant contributions to the continued success of IDRC.”

The International Development Research Centre is a public corporation created by Parliament in 1970 to help developing countries use science and technology to find practical, long-term solutions to the social, economic and environmental problems they face. Support is directed toward developing an indigenous research capacity to sustain policies and technologies that developing countries need to build healthier, more equitable and more prosperous societies.

A Crown corporation, IDRC works collaboratively with many federal government departments, especially Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency. Guided by a 21-member international board of governors, IDRC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

For more information on IDRC, consult International Development Research Centre.

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Biographical notes on the appointees follow.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Jennifer Pepall
A/Director of Communications
International Development Research Centre

Biographical Notes

Margaret Biggs (BA [Political Science], University of British Columbia; MA [International Affairs], Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University) was appointed president of the Canadian International Development Agency on July 1, 2008. Prior to that, she was deputy secretary to Cabinet, Plans and Consultation, in the Privy Council Office, a position she held since May 2006. Ms. Biggs has held a variety of senior positions in the federal government, including assistant secretary to Cabinet, Priorities and Planning, Privy Council Office; assistant deputy Minister, Human Investment Programs; and associate executive head, Strategic Policy, Human Resources Development Canada. She began her career as a research officer, and was later director of research for the North-South Institute.

Faith Mitchell (BA with high distinction [Anthropology], University of Michigan; MS [Anthropology], University of California, Berkeley; PhD [Medical Anthropology], University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco; and Pew senior postdoctoral fellow [Health Policy], Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco) is presently vice-president for program and strategy with Grantmakers in Health in Washington, D.C. Previously, Ms. Mitchell held several positions at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., including that of senior program officer at the Institute of Medicine; deputy executive director for special projects for the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; and director of the Center for Social and Economic Studies, Commission of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. She has contributed to several publications and is affiliated with various organizations, including the Population Reference Bureau, Washington, D.C.; the Center on Social Disparities in Health, University of California, San Francisco; and the Population Resource Center, Princeton, New Jersey.

Elizabeth Parr-Johnston (BA, Wellesley College; MA and PhD, Yale University) is the president of Parr Johnston Economic and Policy Consultants and a director of Scotiabank, Emera Inc., the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, and Future Generations Canada. She also chairs the Council of Canadian Academies. From 1996 to 2002, Ms. Parr-Johnston served as president and vice-chancellor of the University of New Brunswick. Prior to that, she was president and vice-chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University (1991-1996). Her career has included academic appointments at the University of Western Ontario and Huron College, the University of British Columbia, Wesleyan University (Connecticut) and Carleton University. Her federal government career included positions at Statistics Canada and the Department of Regional Economic Expansion. She served as senior policy adviser and chief of staff to the Minister of Employment and Immigration. Senior positions in industry included serving as director of Government Affairs for Inco Ltd. and holding various positions at Shell Canada. She is a member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.

Gordon Shirley (BSc [Engineering], University of the West Indies [UWI], St. Augustine; MBA Honours [Operations and Finance], and PhD [Business Administration in Operations Management], Harvard University) is principal of the UWI, Mona Campus, in Kingston, Jamaica. Prof. Shirley was Carlton Alexander professor of management and head of the Department of Management Studies at UWI. He was appointed director of the Mona School of Business in 2001, and served concurrently as executive chairman of the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited. He served as Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the Organization of American States. He chaired the Permanent Executive Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, the arm of the OAS responsible for funding development activities and for awarding scholarships. In addition, he has published widely in the areas of manufacturing and operations management, and computer-based management information systems.

Monte Solberg currently works as a senior adviser for Fleishman-Hillard Canada in Calgary and writes a weekly column for the Sun Media newspapers. Mr. Solberg was previously minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada. He also served as minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada from 2006 to 2007. He was an opposition member of Parliament, for Medicine Hat, from 1993 to 2006, during which time he served as critic for Canadian Heritage, Human Resources and Development, National Revenue, Foreign Affairs and Finance. He also served as vice-chairman of several related committees. Mr. Solberg has been involved in a variety of community activities, including as a member of the Brooks & District Chamber of Commerce, as a director of the Alberta Association of Broadcasters, and as a member of the board of directors for the 1989 Alberta Summer Games. Monte Solberg is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Alberta Centennial Medal.

Rory Stewart (BA and MA [Modern History and Politics, Philosophy and Economics], Balliol College, Oxford University) is director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Stewart served in the British Embassy in Indonesia from 1997 to 1999. He served as the British representative to Montenegro in the wake of the Kosovo campaign, and, in 2003-2004, as coalition deputy governor of Maysan and senior adviser in Dhi Qar, two provinces in southern Iraq. He also worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003. In June 2004, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. Mr. Stewart is the founder and chief executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the regeneration of the historic commercial centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is the author of The Places in Between and The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq. He has also written for a number of publications, including The New York Times Magazine and the London Review of Books.