Alex Himelfarb

Alex Himelfarb bigraphy, stories - Canadian diplomat

Alex Himelfarb : biography

1947 –

Alexander "Alex" Himelfarb (born 1947) is a senior Canadian civil servant and academic.

Born in Germany, he was raised and educated in Toronto. He received a Ph.D in sociology from University of Toronto. In 1981, he married Frum Himelfarb (Weiner), and they have three children.

He was a professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick from 1972 to 1981. He authored two introductory textbooks on sociology with co-author C. James Richardson that were used extensively in Canadian universities in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These were:

  1. People, Power and Process
  2. Sociology for Canadians (2 editions, and a reader)

He started with the Canadian public service in 1981 joining the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada. In 1999, he became Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage. In 2002 he was appointed to the dual role of Clerk of the Privy Council (Canada) and Secretary to the Cabinet. On June 14, 2006, an Order in Council was issued appointing him Ambassador to Italy, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Albania and the Republic of San Marino, and as High Commissioner in the Republic of Malta, and as Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in Rome.

In 2000, he was awarded The Outstanding Achievement Award, considered to be the most prestigious award in the Canadian public service. In 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Memorial University in Newfoundland. In September 2009, Himelfarb was appointed as Director of the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, at York University.