Anne Leahy

Tel. 514-398-4106 – Email:

Anne Leahy-3

Doctor of Laws, Honoris causa (St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish)
D.Litt., Honoris causa (University of St. Thomas, Fredericton)
M.A., Economics (University of Toronto)
Hon. B.A., Economics (Queen’s University)



Born in Quebec City, Anne Leahy is a Canadian diplomat with 40 years of experience that culminated in Rome as Ambassador of Canada to the Holy See (2008-2012). Soon after retiring, she returned to Rome as Papal Transition Coordinator for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs in early 2013.

Anne Leahy is Affiliate Member of the School of Religious Studies at McGill University and teaches the course on ‘Catholicism in the Global Context’ in McGIll’s Catholic Studies Program. In 2014-2017, she taught ‘Catholicism and Public Policy’.

Economics graduate from Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, her areas of expertise focus on Catholicism and public policy as well as religion in foreign policy, the Holy See’s diplomacy, Russia and the Great Lakes of Africa. While Diplomat-in-Residence at York University she delivered the John Holmes Annual Lecture on ‘Putin’s Russia’ (2000).

As Ambassador for the Great Lakes Region of Africa (2004 – 2007), she co-chaired the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes (28 countries and international organizations) of the International Conference for Peace, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.  The ICGLR was a confidence-building process for reconciliation and development between the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbours.   She also served as Ambassador to Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic (1989 – 1992), to Poland (1993 – 1996) and to Russia, Armenia, Uzbekistan and Belarus (1996 – 1999).  Her earlier postings were at the Mission of Canada to the European Community, the Canadian Embassy to the Soviet Union and the Mission of Canada to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

From 2000 to 2002, as the Federal Coordinator of the three levels of government with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, she helped organize the largest youth event ever held in Canada, World Youth Day 2002, in conjunction with the visit of Pope John Paul II to Toronto.

Her current pro bono activities include membership on the Conseil of the Institut d’études internationales de Montréal at UQAM of which she was the first Director in 2002-2004; the Advisory Board of the School of Religious Studies of McGill; the Governing Board of Regis College, University of Toronto, Toronto and the Executive Board of the Retired Heads of Mission Association.

She joined the Board of the Newman Association of Montreal in summer 2017.

Catholic Social Thought from 2014

‘Religion and Foreign Policy: Challenges of Religious Pluralism’, at the International summer school course with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation June 2013

Past Courses

‘Aftermath of the Fall of Communism in Europe’, York University, Toronto 1999-2000


‘L’éthique de l’intervention dans la politique étrangère canadienne : la Responsabilité de protéger’ in ‘L’Intervention armée peut-elle être juste ?’ dir. Jean-François Rioux, Collection Points Chauds – Fidès  Montréal 2007

 Conferences and Presentations

  • Festival de la Bible, Montmartre canadien, Religions causes de guerre ou sources de paix, Conférencière, Québec le 27 août 2016
  • ‘Pour une guérison de la mémoire au Québec’ Colloque de l’Observatoire Justice et Paix, Conférencière, Québec le 25 juin 2016
  • 4th Meeting Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Holy See with the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Jordan, Catholic delegate, Holy See, May 3-4 2016
  • ‘Violence against Women in Pakistan’ Panelist, McGill Students for OXFAM, March 15 2016
  • ‘Antigone’, Speaker in Lectures radicales, Université d’Ottawa – Faculté de droit, Ottawa, March 14 2016
  • ‘ONU 70 ans de gouvernance mondiale’, présidente du panel d’ouverture, IEIM-Association des Nations-Unies à Montréal, Maison du développement durable October 21- 22 2015
  • ‘Overcoming Differences Between Western Democracies in Developing a Common Religious Freedom Policy’ Keynote Conversation, Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University, October 8 2015
  • ‘Pope Francis: Reshaping The Diplomatic Role of the Vatican’ Main Speaker at the World Affairs Council, Pittsburgh PA September 17 2015
  • ‘Violence Against Women’, Presentation at a Conference on UN Sustainable Development Goals, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Holy See, May 2015
  • ‘Diplomacy and the Vatican: A First-Person Account’ Christian Culture Lecture, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S., March 4 2015
  • “Freedom of conscience abroad and human rights at home.” Christian Culture Lecture, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S. March 5 2015
  • Transatlantic Project on Freedom of Religion and Belief, participant, Wilton Park, February 2015
  • 3rd Session of the Catholic-Muslim Forum, Catholic delegate, Holy See, November 2014
  • ‘Religion et Relations internationales’ invitée au cours POL-7028 de Daniel Caron, Hautes études internationales, Université Laval 23 octobre 2014
  • Jean-Paul II 30 ans après sa visite au Québec, Présentation à l’Observatoire Justice et Paix, 12 septembre 2014
  • Vatican : Mythes et Réalités – Conférence des Belles Soirées, Université de Montréal, 13 mars 2014.
  • The Legacy of Claude Ryan, 2-day conference at McGill University with the Newman Centre. Co-organizer. Moderator of the panel ‘Claude Ryan: l’homme politique’, February 13 -14, 2014.   Podcast no.1 /   Podcast no.2.
  • ‘Vatican et Saint-Siège : Relations internationales’ séminaire au “Laboratoire de recherche empirique des groupes religieux” de Solange Lefebvre, Université de Montréal, 10 février 2014
  • Panel on Religious Freedom and Canadian Foreign Policy, Presentation at the conference on Bridging the Secular Divide, McGill University, May 2013
  • ‘Religion and Foreign Policy: Canadian Perspective’ Keynote address at an International Conference on Religion and Foreign Policy: Challenges of Religious Pluralism, jointly organized by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and McGill University, June 2013:  Podcast Recording
  • ‘La guerre est un massacre inutile’ – Relations internationales et le Saint-Siège, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montréal, 30 octobre 2013.  Podcast Recording


Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of St. Thomas, Fredericton, NB (2010)
The Women’s Y Foundation of Montreal / Advancement of Women Award (2004)
Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (1996)

August 2016