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Louise Fréchette

Louise Fréchette, May 2015

Louise Fréchette, OC (born July 16, 1946) was United Nations Deputy Secretary-General for eight years, and a long-time Canadian diplomat and public servant. She is currently serving a three year term at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, an international relations and policy think-tank in Waterloo, Ontario, working on a major research project on nuclear energy and the world's security.

Born in Montreal, she graduated with a degree in history from the Université de Montréal in 1970 and from the College of Europe (Bruges) with a postgraduate Certificate of Advanced European Studies (equivalent to a master's degree) in 1978. She began her career in 1971 when she joined Canada's Department of External Affairs. She was posted to the Canadian embassy in Athens before joining Canada's UN delegation in Geneva in 1978.

In 1985, at the age of 39, she was named Canada's ambassador to Argentina. In 1989, she was sent on a secret mission to Cuba to lobby Fidel Castro to support the Gulf War. While unsuccessful, she impressed Ottawa with her efforts and was named Canada's ambassador to the United Nations in 1992.

In 1995, she left the foreign service to become assistant deputy minister of finance in Ottawa. She was later promoted to deputy minister of national defense, the first woman to hold that position.

In 1997, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced a series of reforms at the world body, including the creation of the position of deputy secretary-general to handle many of the administrative responsibilities which had previously been the responsibility of the secretary-general. Fréchette was offered the position and accepted and has been responsible for overseeing numerous reforms at the UN.

In 1998, she was made

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