Stephen Lewis is a Canadian politician and diplomat who is a fierce advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. He founded the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which supports community-based organizations that are “turning the tide of AIDS” in 15 African countries. He was the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988 and the Deputy Director of UNICEF from 1995 to 1999. From 2001 to 2006 he was the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and it was from this assignment that Lewis formed his 2005 Massey Lectures “Race Against Time”.
The Massey Lectures are commissioned annually by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in which notable scholars undertake research and present their findings in lectures over the course of a week. The lectures are adapted to book form and published by House of Anansi Press. The published form of Race Against Time is on The Global Poverty Project’s recommended reading list and upon realizing this I wondered if I might be able to listen to the lectures immediately, rather than wait to get hold of the book.
Part 1 is available for free online, with the remainder available on ITunes. In Part 1, Lewis delivers an earnest and scathing review of the crippling effect that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have had on the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Lewis’ tone is intense and unwavering in its insistence that little progress can be made if the debts that plague African countries are not significantly reduced or cancelled. The information he relays is often difficult to bear, but I encourage you to have a listen.