International Organizations

Canadian Heads of International Organizations

George B. Weber

(b. 1946)

Chairman of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRM), September 1, 2017 to present. Former president of the Canadian Red Cross (1983-1992) and secretary-general of the ICRM (1992-2000). First Canadian awarded the Henry Davison Award, the Red Cross' highest honour.

Kevin A. McKinley

(b. 1963)

Secretary-general and CEO of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) from August 1, 2015 to April 30, 2017. Former executive at the Standards Council of Canada and Canadian Standards Association.

Michaƫlle Jean

(b. 1957)

Secretary-general of La Francaphonie from January 5, 2015 to December 31, 2018. Haitian-born former governor general of Canada (2005-2010) and Canadian television host. First woman and first non-African to lead La Francaphonie

David Grimes

(b. 1952?)

President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) from June 6, 2011 to June 14, 2019. Longtime official within the Meteorological Service of Canada. Canadian delegate to the WMO since 2005.

Louise Arbour

(b. 1947)

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2008. Former Canadian Supreme Court justice (1999-2004) and CEO of the International Crisis Group (2009-2014). Appointed U.N. Special Representative for International Migration on March 9, 2017.

Philippe Kirsch

(b. 1947)

President of the International Criminal Court from March 11, 2003 to March 11, 2009. Belgian-born Canadian lawyer and diplomat involved in negotiations that led to the creation of the ICC. Served as the court's first-ever president.

Jack A. Whittleton

(b. 1936-2013)

Executive Director of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), 1997-1998. Former Canadian ambassador to Indonesia (1986-1989) and minister to Japan (1982-1986).

Donald J. Johnston


Secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from June 1, 1996 to May 31, 2006. Former Liberal cabinet minister under Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919-2000). First non-European to head the OECD.

William A. O'Neil

(b. 1927)

Secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization from 1990 to 2003. Former head of the Canadian Coast Guard (1975-1980), later chancellor of the World Maritime University (1991-2003).

Norman Inkster

(b. 1938)

President of Interpol from 1992 to 1994. Former head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1987-1994) who served in both positions simultaneously.

William Leonard Higgitt


President of Interpol from 1972 to 1976. Former head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1969-1973) who served in both positions simultaneously.

Arnold Smith


Secretary-general of the Commonwealth, June 1965 to June 30, 1975. Longtime Canadian diplomat, served as the Commonwealth's first secretary-general and moved it away from "Anglo-centricity."

Ronald Macdonnell


Secretary-general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from August 1, 1959 to July 31, 1964. Longtime Canadian diplomat, served as Canadian ambassador to Egypt, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

John MacAulay


Chairman of the International Red Cross from 1959 to 1965. Former president of the Canadian Red Cross (1950-1951). Accepted 1963 Nobel Prize for Peace on behalf of the Red Cross.

Brock Chisholm


President of the World Health Organization from 22 July 1946 to July 1953. Military doctor and director of medical affairs for the Canadian Army during World War II (1939-1945). Served as first president of the WHO.

Lester B. Pearson


President of the United Nations General Assembly from October 14, 1952 to September 15, 1953. Diplomat and Liberal politician, served as foreign minister while president. Later won 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. Served as prime minister (1963-1968).