Glen Pearson was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, graduating from Ernest Manning High School in 1969. He then went on to undertake famine relief work in during the war in Bangladesh and later traveled to Ireland, where he assisted Roman Catholic and Protestant young people to put aside their differences and work on a more cooperative future.
In 1974, Glen traveled to London, Ontario and eventually joined the London Fire Department in 1976 as a professional firefighter in a career that lasted almost 30 years. He has been involved with numerous overseas development projects and started the London Food Bank in 1986. He has remained as volunteer director of the London Food Bank for 27 years, also serving as the chairperson of Ontario’s food banks for a three-year period and assisting in a number of feeding projects around the world.
In 1998, Glen and his wife, Jane Roy, began fighting slavery in Sudan. The Sudanese civil war between north and south was Africa’s longest-running conflict and claimed the lives of some 2.5 million people, with 5 million being displaced. Their success at freeing slaves led them to start Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan (CASS) in order to build schools, establish women’s programs and other development projects to help those who had returned from slavery and settled back into south Sudan. In 2005, they attended the peace talks between north and south Sudan – negotiations that were eventually successful and resulted in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which effectively put an end to the conflict. Since that time they have maintained their interest in the border region between north and south Sudan and have cooperated with other non-governmental organizations to enhance development projects in the region. They were made international observers to southern Sudanese referendum in January 2011, and initiative that resulted in the southern region of Sudan forming its own government and becoming the newest independent nation in the world – The Republic of South Sudan.
Glen and Jane have also adopted three children from Darfur, who had been detained in slavery and had lost their mother. They have now been flourishing in Canada.
On November 27, 2006 Glen became the member of Parliament for London North Centre – a position he held for almost 5 years. During that time he was the Official Critic for International Cooperation in the shadow cabinet and worked with the likes of Tony Blair, Paul Martin, Senator Romeo Dallaire, and numerous non-governmental organizations on African issues.
Glen presently continues his work as the co-volunteer director of the London Food Bank and the executive director of Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan. He sits on the board of the London Community Foundation, and recently served on the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty. He and his family are presently undertaking the construction of a secondary school as a means of providing a solid base for education in the Aweil East region of the Republic of South Sudan.
Glen has authored numerous books over the years, including:
- A Path Between Two Mothers – the moving story of the adoption of his daughter Abuk following the death of her mother
- For All the Right Reasons – a treatise on how to properly establish and expand the efforts of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
- Foreign Aid and the African Dilemma – a challenge to recommit ourselves to the development of Africa’s 48 countries of the sub-Saharan region
- Notes on Liberalism – thoughts on how liberalism, which had been the primary force a century ago in moving Canada and the western world into a new future, needs to be reintroduced in a new context today
- Notes on Citizenship – caught between the declining influence of governments and the domination of corporatism, citizens must re-establish their influence for the sake of their own communities
- Land of Designs – a true narrative taken from Glen’s interview with a struggling woman from Darfur who had fled the war-torn region and arrived in region of south Sudan where Glen and Jane have been building their development programs for the last decade.
He is the father of seven children, the grandfather of five, and lives contentedly in London, Ontario. He can be reached by email.