Honorary Degrees

N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may be available at the University Archives.

Name: Leonard J. Edwards
Convocation date: June 5, 2018
Discipline / contribution: public service ; foreign service; diplomacy
Citation / biographical information:
Leonard (Len) Edwards is one of Canada's longest serving and most distinguished diplomats, serving in a long list of diplomatic posts and senior public service positions during his 41-year career.
Born in 1946, Mr. Edwards grew up on the family farm outside Melfort, Saskatchewan. He attended school in and around Melfort, graduating from Melfort Composite Collegiate Institute in 1964.
Entering the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan, he focused on history and political science. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968 and his Masters in History in 1969. Among his student activities, he participated in the College of Arts and Science Student Association and was a member of the Greystone Singers.
He joined the Federal Public Service in the fall of 1969 as a foreign service officer in the Department of External Affairs. Over the next 32 years, half were spent serving Canada abroad through assignments to Vietnam, Turkey, Brussels (NATO) and the United Nations Organization in Geneva. Mr. Edwards was Canada’s ambassador to the Republic of Korea (1991-94) and to Japan (1998-01).
Among his Ottawa-based assignments, Mr. Edwards led the teams responsible for the logistical arrangements for the 1988 Toronto and 1995 Halifax G7 Summits, and the 1987 Commonwealth Summit in Vancouver. He was assistant deputy minister both for Economic and Trade Policy and for Asia Pacific Affairs. As Canada’s senior official to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, he oversaw Canada’s hosting of the 1997 APEC Summit in Vancouver.
Returning from Japan in 2001, Mr. Edwards left the foreign service to work over nine years in three federal deputy minister assignments: International Trade (2001-04), Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (2004-07) and Foreign Affairs (2007-10). In 2008 Mr. Edwards was appointed Prime Minister Harper’s Personal Representative (or Sherpa) to the G8 and G20 Summits, and in this capacity led the preparations for the Muskoka G8 and Toronto G20 Summits hosted by Canada in the summer of 2010.
Among his many activities since retiring in 2010, Mr. Edwards is a distinguished fellow with both the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in Vancouver. He is a former chair of the board of directors of VIDO-InterVac at the University of Saskatchewan.
The College of Arts and Science has honoured Mr. Edwards as an Alumni of Influence. He is a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal of Canada for his work on the 2010 summits, and has been awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his contributions to Canada-Japan relations.
Degree received: Doctor of Laws

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