UNB Alumni
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UNBeknownst #26: Deborah Lyons on being an Ambassador and UN representative in Afghanistan – and why education for women is critical for global stability

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Feb 8, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton , Arts , Podcast , Inspiring Stories

Deborah Lyons UNB Alumni Podcast

Ambassador Deborah Lyons (BA’71, DLitt’15) is a diplomat with 21 years of professional experience in political affairs, international cooperation and economic development. Her most recent assignment was as special representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, having served prior to that as Ambassador of Canada to Israel and before that as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Ms. Lyons has held several senior positions with Canada’s Department of Global Affairs, including as deputy ambassador at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, assistant deputy minister for strategic policy and planning and chief strategist, as well as directorships covering commercial relations, international finance and technology. She has also worked with Canada’s Department of Natural Resources and Privy Council Office and owned and managed an environmental consulting firm. Ms. Lyons is from Miramichi, New Brunswick and graduated from UNB in 1971 with a bachelor of arts degree.

In this episode:

  • Deborah’s account of being in Afghanistan during an extremely challenging transition period of the American withdrawal of troops and takeover by the Taliban.
  • Why she’s such a fan of the United Nations and why she wanted to be in Afghanistan at that time.
  • The progress she saw in the country prior to the Taliban takeover and her feelings on the state of women in Afghanistan today.
  • Her insights on the future for women in Afghanistan, and on engaging and educating women for global societal stability.
  • What Canada and Canadians can and should do to help support women in Afghanistan.
  • Deborah’s two realities - that formed who she is.
  • Her thoughts on next steps in her career and role in diffusing the growth of divisive hate speech and discourse in Canada and around the world.
  • Her advice on how we move forward in a changing world.

Where to listen: 

Links and resources:  

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