In the 1960s, Lewis Perinbam was the first executive director to serve for the newly created CUSO, now called Cuso International. It was one stop along a lifelong journey of working to build bridges between Canada and the world.
Remembered for being a dynamic leader who helped many Canadian university students see the world, Lewis also worked with World University Service, UNESCO, and the World Bank.
“A lot of Canada’s internationalism comes from this man,” Ian Smillie told the Globe and Mail in 2008. Ian started as a Cuso volunteer in the early 1960s, and was a long-time friend and colleague to Lewis. “He was a new Canadian who was surprised at our parochialism … He pushed young Canadians out into the world.”
With an eye on international development, Lewis later became the vice-president of the former Canadian International Development Agency from 1974 until his retirement in 1991. In 1997, he received an Order of Canada for his contributions in Canada and overseas.
Lewis died in 2008, at the age of 82.