Arthur A. DeFehr

Arthur A. DeFehr

Chairman, Palliser Furniture Holdings Ltd., Winnipeg

Biography

Arthur A. DeFehr is Chairman of Palliser Furniture Holdings Ltd., Winnipeg.  Palliser Furniture is a privately owned business in the residential furniture business with facilities in Canada, Mexico and Indonesia with sales in North and Central America.  He also owns a business in the real estate market with commercial and industrial buildings plus the development of land.  DeFehr has been involved in a number of assignments related to international development or refugees over his career.  This includes leadership of the Mennonite Central Committee in Bangladesh immediately following the civil war (agriculture and refugees), the boat people, the landbridge from Thailand to Cambodia in 1980, High Commissioner of UNHCR to Somalia in 1982-83 followed by assignments related to famine in Ethiopia and Sudan.  Beginning in 1989 there has been significant involvement with the Soviet Union.  This included conferences on Business and Ethic in the Soviet period, starting a private English-speaking University in 1990 and introducing and manufacturing high–tech farm equipment in Siberia.  DeFehr played an important role in founding the Canadian Foodgrains Bank – a politically independent provider of food assistance and food security around the world.  He was one of the founders of IDE (International Development Enterprises) which develops and promotes small scale technology for the poor farmers of the world.  DeFehr was involved in the creation of an innovative immigration program for his province which significantly altered the immigration pattern.  His interests also include education.  He chaired the process to bring German-style education to a University in Canada and was involved in the creation of the Canadian Mennonite University.  He was a member of the World Economic Forum and Pearson Peacekeeping Center and currently is a member of the Business Council of Canada, the Manitoba Business Council and YPO.  He has a M.B.A. from Harvard University and honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba and Cape Breton University.  He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004 and awarded the Order of Manitoba in 2011.