Désirée McGraw currently serves as Executive Director of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation in Montreal and is responsible for its flagship global Sauvé Scholars Program – Canada’s premier global leadership program for young professionals and social entrepreneurs from around the world. In her prior capacity as Director of Policy to Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, Désirée coordinated all key ministerial files in the areas of sustainable development, stakeholder relations and multilateral organizations. Désirée has lectured in International Development at McGill University since 2002. Dating back to the 1992 Earth Summit to which she served as one of two Global Youth Ambassadors appointed by Conference Chair Maurice Strong, and with twenty years of experience as a reporter, author, senior advisor and spokesperson in the field of sustainable development, Désirée has been described by the national media as “one of Canada’s ten most influential people on environmental issues”.
Désirée first became involved in international organizations at age 18 when she was appointed by the Governor General of Canada (then the Right Honorable Jeanne Sauvé) to serve as a youth advisor to the Canadian Delegation to the UN’s Third Special Session on Disarmament. Since that time, she has served on a number of other Canadian delegations to UN conferences, including on Environment and Development (Rio, 1992), the Biodiversity Convention (Nairobi, 2000) and the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol (Montreal, 2005). At age 16, Désirée embarked on a national speaking tour promoting global peace and security issues during the Cold War era. The eight-month cross-country tour reached a quarter of all Canadian secondary schools and was followed by special invitations to the UN, the US and the former USSR. The tour received international media attention and was the subject of an award-winning documentary by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) entitled “Mile Zero: The SAGE Tour” (1987). Désirée also co-hosted an NFB video series featuring David Suzuki entitled “Alive in the Nuclear Age” (1989). Other media experience includes conducting political research, analysis and commentary for the CBC, Radio-Canada International, CTV and the BBC World Service.
She serves as co-founder of Al Gore’s Climate Project in Canada and chaired the 2006 federal Liberal Renewal Commission’s Taskforce on Environment and Sustainable Development. Désirée pursued her graduate studies in International Relations as a Commonwealth Scholar at the London School of Economics. She is active in a number of community organizations and causes in her native Montreal, where she and her husband are raising their young family.