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Jillian Stirk | Former Ambassador and Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Affairs Canada

Jillian Stirk (she/her) is a former Ambassador and Assistant Deputy Minister at Global Affairs Canada where she was responsible for strategic policy, global issues and European affairs. Over the course of her career, she has worked on a wide range of issues including security, peace support operations, human rights and democracy. In 2020, she led the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Election Observation Missions to Slovakia and Georgia. She has been an associate with the Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue since 2014, and she co-led a project on diversity and inclusion for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation where she also served a mentor. She has been a director on several not-for-profit boards, in the area of education, research and literacy, including as chair of the West Vancouver Library Board. She is frequent speaker and commentator on foreign policy and diversity issues in Canada and abroad. Jillian speaks both French and English, as well as several other languages. She currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Why Equitas?

My interest in Equitas stems from a life-long commitment to advancing human rights and equity. I believe we are at a pivotal moment in our history where the degree to which we embed values of respect and inclusion across society will affect the future of our nation. At the same time, human rights and democratic principles are under threat around the world. I would like to be part of the effort to influence that trajectory.  

Throughout my career in Canada’s foreign service, the promotion of human rights has been a consistent theme in my work. During early assignments to Poland in the 1980s prior to its transition to democracy and to the United Nations where I was responsible for Women’s Equality, to later work on the Balkans, the Middle East or as an Assistant Deputy Minister responsible, among other issues, for UN Affairs, I have always approached human rights issues from the legal as well as the operational perspective, whether in multilateral institutions or in country, through local partnerships. I have seen how human rights education both at home and abroad can lead to tangible improvements on the ground. 

I believe I can offer a strong background in governance, both as a senior public servant and the not-for profit sector where I have served on several boards. I also hope to use my connections inside and outside government to advance Equitas’ goals and objectives and to be a strong advocate for the work of the organization in Canada and abroad. I am honored to be part of the board of one of Canada’s leading human rights organizations.