Few Canadians have acquired as much global clout and respect as Stephen Lewis. A former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, the acclaimed diplomat and longtime politician drew international praise for his work in Africa fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. Lewis’ focus has recently turned to the fight against cancer, a topic which he will be addressing as a featured speaker in the Hall building this Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Concordia is Lewis’ second stop on the People vs. Cancer tour organized by the Campaign to Control Cancer (C2CC). The C2CC states online that their goal is to “fundamentally transform Canada’s response to cancer from one of fear and insecurity to one of strength and control.”
The campaign hopes to engage students in joining a worldwide dialogue about cancer and learning about how the impact of the disease can be lessened. C2CC has published an action plan including specific initiatives and policy goals, such as “motivating Canadians to prioritize screening” and advising local governments. The event at Concordia, which will be broadcast live on the organization’s website, will communicate these initiatives to a young audience.
Last year’s tour “clearly struck a chord with university students,” said Lewis in an interview on C2CC’s website. “They were ready to be mobilized.”
According to Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the university tours have helped “bring the public voice to cancer control efforts across Canada.” Dr. Sutcliffe, who will be speaking alongside Lewis on Wednesday, stated in a testimonial on controlcancer.ca that the “C2CC is playing an important role in helping to build effective public awareness.”
Lewis’ international reputation and talented oratory skills are bringing widespread attention to the movement against cancer. After beginning his career in politics, serving as a member of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly for 15 years and subsequently as the leader of the Ontario NDP from 1970 to 1978, Lewis shifted his focus to international human rights and health-related issues when he was appointed Canada’s United Nations ambassador, later serving as the UN’s special envoy to Africa regarding HIV/AIDS.
Moderated by CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty, Wednesday’s event will take place in H-110 and will feature a panel discussion with several guest speakers as well as a question period. Students can send any questions to Lewis or other panelists via Twitter, using #PvsC2011, or by visiting controlcancer.ca.