The annual John Holmes Memorial Lecture at Glendon honours the late John W. Holmes (right), O.C., Canadian diplomat, writer, administrator, and professor of International Relations at Glendon from 1971 to 1981. Holmes was a tireless promoter of Canada at home and abroad, in political, diplomatic and educational circles. He also participated in the founding of the United Nations and attended its first General Assembly in 1945.

Shortly after Holmes’ death in 1988, a memorial fund was set up at Glendon under the leadership of Professor Albert Tucker, Principal of Glendon from 1970 to 1975 and Chair of the History Department at the time, to create a series of annual lectures honouring Holmes, sponsored by Glendon’s International Studies Program. It was launched in 1989 by the late Edward Appathurai, who established international studies at Glendon, Tucker, and three Glendon graduates, Jim Dow, Marshall Leslie, and Martin Shadwick, who had attended Holmes’ course on Canadian foreign and defence policy.

The first John Holmes Memorial Lecture was delivered by Sir Brian Urquhart, retired Under-Secretary General of the United Nations in 1989. Other distinguished speakers have included former Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell; Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Louise Fréchette; Canadian ambassadors Geoffrey Pearson and Anne Leahy; renowned author and public figure John Ralston Saul; retired Supreme Court Justice Peter deCarteret Cory; former Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International (and Glendon alumnus) Vincent del Buono; lawyer and retired Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court Thomas R. Berger O.C., Q.C., O.B.C. and others.