Elizabeth Dowdeswell, O.C.

President and CEO, Council of Canadian Academies & Former UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, Founding President & CEO NWMO
Toronto, ON


Elizabeth Dowdeswell’s eclectic public service career has spanned provincial, federal and international borders and transcended traditional disciplinary lines.

Ms. Dowdeswell served as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada, responsible for the National Weather and Atmospheric Agency and led a number of public inquiries, including into Canada’s unemployment benefits program and federal water policy. Her early career included terms as Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth for the Province of Saskatchewan, educational consultant, university lecturer and high school teacher.

Ms. Dowdeswell was appointed a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation mentor, is a Corporate Director, and contributes in an advisory capacity to a number of not-for-profit organizations

Ms. Dowdeswell holds a Master of Science degree in behavioural sciences from Utah State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics, a teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan and nine honorary degrees.

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