Skip to main content

Canadian Press/The Canadian Press

Flora MacDonald spent 16 years serving Canada's Parliament, as a former Tory cabinet minister from the Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney eras, the first woman to become minister of foreign affairs in Canada, and the first woman to mount a serious campaign for the leadership of one of Canada's two major governing parties. When she lost her seat in the 1988 federal election, Ms. MacDonald delved into international humanitarian work.

In the mid 1990s, Ms. MacDonald was the host of the popular television show North South, a weekly human affairs series featuring countries in the developing world. She is the founder of Future Generations Canada, a foundation dedicated to rebuilding civil society in Afghanistan.

Ms. MacDonald has made multiple trips to Afghanistan, including a trip in 2001, while the government was still under the control of the Taliban, and, though in her mid-eighties, continues to visit the country regularly.

Ms. MacDonald and Future Generations Canada are focused primarily on the remote province of Bamyan, where the Taliban blew up the historic statues of Buddha carved into the mountainside, and where foreign aid often fails to reach, being mostly allocated to larger cities.

After her career in Parliament, Ms. MacDonald was also visiting fellow at the Centre for Canadian Studies of the University of Edinburgh and special adviser to the Vancouver-based Commonwealth of Learning. She has served on the boards or advisory councils of prominent development and human rights organizations including CARE Canada, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Partnership Africa-Canada and Future Generations International.

Nominator: Joanne Mumby, Belleville, ON.

Interact with The Globe