Harlem Désir joins the IRC from the Forum on Information and Democracy in France, where he was Executive Director. Prior to this position Harlem Désir was the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media from 2017 to 2020.
Désir held numerous government roles in French and European politics. He was French Minister of State for European Affairs from 2014 to 2017 and was a Member of the European Parliament for three terms from 1999 to 2014. In these roles Mr Désir has been involved in the adoption of measures on migration policy such as Schengen reform, the relocation of refugees and development policies.
In 1984, Désir co-founded the French not-for-profit association SOS Racisme with the mission to fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and all other forms of discrimination at a time when many young people from different ethnic groups faced racial discrimination in the suburbs of major French cities.
Harlem Désir is the child of a Martinique-born father and a mother from Alsace. He received his BA from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris. He has been awarded the Olof Palme Prize (Sweden, 1990), the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix (Greece, 2016), and the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Germany, 2018).