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Rosemary McCarney

President and CEO, Plan International Canada

Rosemary McCarney is an award-winning humanitarian and business leader, a recognized public speaker and author, and an expert on international economic development. She is the Canadian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. She was the former President and CEO of Plan International Canada Inc. ( Plan Canada).

Founded in 1937, Plan International is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, it has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children.

Rosemary has had an extensive international career in law, business and the not-for-profit sector, having worked in more than 100 countries. Prior to joining Plan Canada, she was the Executive Director of Street Kids International.

Rosemary received her law degree from the University of Western Ontario and her MBA from Case Western Reserve University. She has taught both international and constitutional law. Rosemary has worked in international economic development with the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, USAID and CIDA, as well as other governments and UN bodies.

Rosemary has been a member of the Board of Directors of numerous private sector, not-for-profit and community organizations. She is currently the Chair of The Humanitarian Coalition, Chair of the Canadian Network on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and serves on the Advisory Board of The Canada-United States Law Institute as well as on the Public Policy Committee of Imagine Canada.
Dare to Dream in Technicolour for a Better

Dare to Dream in Technicolour for a Better World

In September, I take up my new responsibilities in Geneva, Switzerland as Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament. The UN reflects the dreams and aspirations of not just Canadians but of the world. My new role will allow me to address global challenges from a different perspective than I've had at Plan Canada, but as I prepare to leave I reflect on a few proud accomplishments that bolster my confidence and hope for the future.
08/04/2015 05:24 EDT
The Number of Refugees in the World Today Is an Unacceptable

The Number of Refugees in the World Today Is an Unacceptable Catastrophe

This Saturday, June 20, is the UN World Refugee Day. It's a day set aside every year to recognize the plight of refugees and acknowledge the efforts of those who assist them, often in the face of life-threatening obstacles. We need to recognize realities but not despair. We need to focus the global mind on our collective responsibility. We need to roll up our sleeves and help those who are so deserving of our assistance while urging others to double and triple their efforts to end the underlying conditions that have created this unacceptable human catastrophe.
06/18/2015 05:42 EDT
Malaria Makes No Laughing Matter of

Malaria Makes No Laughing Matter of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are re-emerging as a serious North American health threat as carriers of the West Nile Virus. In the developing world, mosquitoes pose an even more menacing danger. There, they transmit malaria, the deadliest disease borne by any insect or animal anywhere. This year, malaria deaths are expected to spike upwards, after more than a decade of steady decline. The reason: Ebola. The fragile health systems in West Africa have been stretched to the limit in the Ebola fight, and routine measures to combat malaria have gone by the wayside.
04/24/2015 10:52 EDT
104 Years Later Women Still Demand and Deserve

104 Years Later Women Still Demand and Deserve Better

More than a century ago, an international conference of some 100 working women meeting in Copenhagen decided to establish an annual Women's Day. As we approach the 104th International Women's Day on March 8, large gender gaps remain both in Canada and globally. This time, however, the annual event may become a catalyst for meaningful action, at least in election-year Canada.
02/28/2015 12:53 EST
Terror and Turmoil -- We Have Been Here

Terror and Turmoil -- We Have Been Here Before

In today's wars -- no less destructive than others in history because they are undeclared -- how do we bring the fighting parties to the table? None of the usual diplomatic and military carrots and sticks are working. So what to do?
02/06/2015 05:41 EST
2015 and the UN: Great Expectations in Times

2015 and the UN: Great Expectations in Times Ahead

2015 promises to be a transformative year on the international development front and is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on a noteworthy milestone. The United Nations enters its 70th year -- and like some 70-year-olds, the beleaguered UN has found new vigour and relevance in people's lives, with Canada playing a role in some noteworthy accomplishments.
01/21/2015 12:30 EST
25 Years After the Montreal Massacre, Gender-Based Violence Still

25 Years After the Montreal Massacre, Gender-Based Violence Still Thrives

When the gunman, a rejected engineering student, shot those young women he was enraged that they were pursuing studies in a profession he believed was meant for men. That was a quarter of a century ago. Today, more and more women are flooding into professions, including engineering, once considered male preserves, but there is still so much more progress to be made in changing those attitudes that enable gender-based violence.
12/05/2014 12:43 EST
25 Years of Child Rights, But Much More to

25 Years of Child Rights, But Much More to Do

When hundreds of girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, disappearing into the night for months and counting, the world is outraged. When boys are handed guns and forced into militias, the world is shocked. When children work as slave labourers in mines, there are global cries for action. But these atrocities are only part of the picture.
11/18/2014 07:49 EST
We Can Create New Realities for

We Can Create New Realities for Girls

In a new global report conducted by Plan entitled Hear Our Voices, we spoke with more than 7,000 adolescent girls and boys from 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. We wanted to learn more about what issues and concerns adolescent girls faced and how boys felt about those issues too.
10/16/2014 07:45 EDT
Canada Is Poised to Lead Real Global Change on Child and Maternal

Canada Is Poised to Lead Real Global Change on Child and Maternal Mortality

Some six million children under the age of five die every year and there are still nearly 300,000 maternal deaths annually. It all comes down to the political will and necessary funds to make it happen. Canada is a recognized leader in both. In May, Canada committed a further $3.5 billion over five years to help eliminate these unnecessary deaths.
09/24/2014 08:19 EDT
Fear Won't Put a Stop to Ebola, Humanitarian Action

Fear Won't Put a Stop to Ebola, Humanitarian Action Can

As I scan the latest headlines about Ebola, I think not only of the rising death numbers, but also of the children, families, and local Plan staff that I have encountered during my visits to West Africa. We can all be humanitarian actors when it comes to fighting Ebola.
08/12/2014 05:20 EDT
It's Time to Connect the Dots on Gender-Based

It's Time to Connect the Dots on Gender-Based Violence

When the headlines fade, the daily, persistent, and pervasive violence against girls and women around the world will continue unabated and generally unreported. And it <em>will</em> persist until people and their governments start connecting the dots between these headline-making atrocities and the everyday, out of the headlines, violence targeted at girls and women on public streets, in the household, in the workplace, and in and around schools and <em>why</em> these incidents happen.
06/27/2014 12:25 EDT
There's No Excuse For Failure on Maternal and Child Health

There's No Excuse For Failure on Maternal and Child Health Anymore

The officials revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was about to announce that Canada would renew its five-year $2.85-billion commitment to saving the lives of mothers, babies, and children who die needlessly from preventable causes around the world every year. After we digested that, there were lots of smiles in the room.
06/17/2014 12:58 EDT
Nigerian Kidnapping Signals a Larger, Global Problem That We Can

Nigerian Kidnapping Signals a Larger, Global Problem That We Can Change

The latest headlines about the kidnapping of some 300 Nigerian girls are part of an even larger and generally unreported story -- the widespread, worldwide tolerance of violence against women and girls. While the kidnapping is clearly an act perpetrated by an extremist group, it is also much more than that.
05/21/2014 05:35 EDT
A Loud Message from Girls for Malala -- and the

A Loud Message from Girls for Malala -- and the World

Over the past nine months, I learned first hand the truth of one well-worn cliché -- a picture really is worth a thousand words. In this case, it's a select group of photos of young girls from around the world that forcefully convey their struggles for basic human rights.
03/05/2014 04:25 EST
Ice Storms, Typhoons and Even Wars Can't Beat Human

Ice Storms, Typhoons and Even Wars Can't Beat Human Resilience

During the ice storm, people on my street helped each other in a number of ways, from providing food and shelter to clearing tree branches. People rose to the occasion. The community came together. Whether it is in Toronto, Tacloban or the South Sudanese capital of Juba, neighbours are the first responders. They are the ones who will rescue us from the rubble.
01/11/2014 05:51 EST
Three 2013 Moments with Profound Implications for our

Three 2013 Moments with Profound Implications for our Future

Three remarkable events from the past year stand out from my perspective as the head of an international development agency. All made headlines at the time, but those headlines merely touched the surface of the events' profound ramifications as we look forward to 2014.
12/20/2013 12:18 EST
A Special Countdown to Save the World's

A Special Countdown to Save the World's Mothers

Today I am thinking of another kind of ticking clock that's taking place on the world stage. That clock is keeping time and also counting the millions of mothers and babies worldwide that we are trying to save from unnecessary and preventable deaths by 2015 and in decades following. With nearly 1,000 women in developing countries dying daily from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and too many of the world's children dying before their fifth birthday, we knew that maternal, newborn and child health was an issue for our time that needed global attention and action. So we voiced our strong concerns.
05/06/2013 05:12 EDT