Maurice Strong and the IDRC

Posted on November 30, 2015  /  0 Comments

I read today that Maurice Strong had passed away. I’d never met him. But I knew of him.

The very first paper that I wrote in Graduate School was on how IDRC mobilized research networks. This was in December 1979, 37 years ago. IDRC had been in existence for nine years.

Part of my reading included contextual information on the founding of the IDRC. I learned that a former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was the moving spirit. So much so that he became the first Chair of the IDRC Board upon retiring as Prime Minister.

He was clearly the thinker behind the IDRC. The idea that research, conducted in situ in the developing world, would do more for development than just money is a minority view now. Imagine what a radical idea it was 45 years ago. A Prime Minister cannot do the grunt work of creating a new agency. According to what I heard when I asked around that man was Maurice Strong, then the head of the newly created Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

So let us remember his life and achievements. With gratitude.

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