The common thread that runs through Lloyd Axworthy’s lengthy career in politics, international affairs and academia, is his commitment to defending the rights of marginalized individuals, children, indigenous peoples, and those who inhabit war-torn countries.
He graduated in 1961 with a BA from United College and received an MA and PhD from Princeton University. In 2004, he returned to the University of Winnipeg to serve as President and Vice-Chancellor for ten years, working to make post-secondary education more accessible to inner-city, Aboriginal, new immigrant and refugee students. He also significantly expanded the University’s outreach in the areas of Indigenous education, environmental studies, and human rights.
He began his 27-year political career in the Manitoba legislature before moving on to the House of Commons in 1979. His exemplary dedication to his constituents and to fellow Canadians resulted in several Cabinet appointments, most notably as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
After leaving Canadian politics, he extended this ethic of service worldwide, from East Africa, where UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed him as Special Envoy to help implement a peace agreement, to Peru, where the Organization of American States appointed him to lead the OAS observers who monitored the 2006 general election in that country. His international leadership culminated in initiating the Ottawa Treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines, for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and extended to his work to create the International Criminal Court and the Protocol on child soldiers, for which he was awarded the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe, one of many prestigious awards he has received.
Lloyd Axworthy has been awarded the Madison Medal from Princeton University for his record of outstanding public service, and the CARE International Humanitarian Award. He has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received honorary doctorates from 14 universities.
He is currently the recipient of the Bulloch Fellowship at Hebrew University as well as the Richard Weiszacker Fellowship from the Bosch Foundation in Berlin.
In 2016, Lloyd Axworthy was named Companion of the Order of Canada - a promotion within the Order. The citation stated: "Lloyd Axworthy remains a trusted voice whose call for global citizenship is heard in Canada and abroad."