To our community,
I’m writing with some wonderful news.
As you may recall, our Foundation’s CEO of the past three years, Stephen Cornish, will move on this month to take up an important role as head of the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières international operations centre in Geneva combating the spread of COVID-19. We are grateful for Steve’s leadership at the Foundation and wish him the best in his work to fight the pandemic.
I am thrilled to let you know today that we have named environmental and cultural activist, speaker and author Severn Cullis-Suzuki our incoming executive director.
Severn has been a voice for intergenerational justice since childhood. She is a climate justice advocate, sustainability and social justice educator, community organizer and scholar. She has worked in B.C., throughout Canada, in Japan and at various UN summits. Severn currently lives on Haida Gwaii, where she is involved in revitalization of the Haida language, the heritage language of her husband Gudt’aawtis Judson Brown and their two children.
Severn has been involved with our Foundation since its inception. The daughter of our co-founders, Tara Cullis and David Suzuki, she has volunteered for many campaigns over the years and was a board member for 14 years (ending in 2017 to focus on her doctorate in Linguistic Anthropology). Our board of directors (with family members not participating) was unanimous in their selection of Severn as our new ED.
It is inspiring to welcome a lifelong activist to this role, at such a critical time.
The world’s scientists tell us we have just a decade to act and reduce global emissions by half. More than a million species worldwide are at risk of extinction. Our Foundation is set to launch a new 10-year strategic plan that calls for focus, urgency and collaboration in our work like never before. We know Severn will draw on her strengths as an activist, scholar, communicator, community leader and family member to shepherd our Foundation and movement through this critical decade.
Severn embodies what the Foundation is all about: the best science and environmental expertise communicated creatively and compellingly, with passion, to inspire action toward a better world.
Severn’s commitment to social justice and her solidarity with Indigenous Peoples will help us all find a better path. She knows that leadership must bring the strengths of diversity to the tough tasks that lie before us.
The board of directors enthusiastically welcomes Severn to this important role.
With excitement and with gratitude for your ongoing support of the David Suzuki Foundation,
Chair, David Suzuki Foundation Board of Directors
Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia