Queen’s alum appointed Ambassador for Climate Change

Patricia Fuller appointed to three-year term 

Canada's new Ambassador to Climate Change, Patricia Fuller.
Supplied by Foreign Affairs

On World Environment Day, Queen’s alum Patricia Fuller became Canada’s next Ambassador for Climate Change. 

Fuller, ArtSci ’86, is a veteran of the Foreign Service and entered the role on June 5 for a three-year term.

She graduated Queen’s with a Bachelor’s in political studies and economics before joining the Foreign Service. Since then, she’s served as Canada’s Ambassador to Uruguay and Ambassador to Chile. Fuller also spent several years working at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. 

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Fuller will advise both the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and the minister of Foreign Affairs on how Canada can “best advance its climate change priorities on the world stage.”

Domestically, Fuller headed the Office of Energy Efficiency and contributed to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.  

With experience in both the Foreign Service and domestic climate policy, Fuller said “[I]bring both my international experience and my experience with climate change issues to contribute to advancing [Canada’s] priorities.”

“I think having worked on both sides gives me a special appreciation of the challenges involved in putting into place transformational programs that can lead us towards a lower carbon footprint,” she said.

Fuller’s new role involves engaging with Canada’s partners internationally to promote Canadian business interests and sustainable development. 

“It’s a very complex issue,” Fuller said. “Addressing climate change involves transitioning our economies towards clean growth and that’s not simple. We really have to bring all of our collective efforts globally to addressing that challenge.”

While at Queen’s in the 1980s, Fuller was active in the South African divestment movement. At its peak, Students organized demonstrations and lobbied the University to divest its South African holdings because of the country’s apartheid policies. 

“I had the opportunity to participate in some initiatives to seek to make change, and I think that is kind of what brought me to start working in the public service,” Fuller said.

Working with Queen’s undergraduate student government, the Alma Mater Society, Fuller represented students  and set the stage for her future career. 

“I remember the little office in the basement of the John Deutsch building, leading the charge on the divestment challenge,” she recalled.

“It’s a story about how collective global collaboration and a lot of Canadian leadership can contribute to a positive outcome. Of course the credit is due to the South African people themselves, but the sanctions movement and the international pressure certainly played a big part in bringing about the end of apartheid,” Fuller said.

As for her new role, Fuller looks ahead at the challenges of climate change with an urgency to advance solutions at home and abroad. 

“It’s a pressing problem,” she said. “I think the urgency of accelerating the transition towards clean growth is such that we need to find ways to move forward as quickly as possible.”

“Working together is really the key part of getting to solutions on this.”


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