Harlem Desir was born in 1959 in Paris. In 1982, he graduated from the Pantheon-Sorbonne University with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy and History.
In 1984, he established the French anti-racist organization “SOS Racisme” and was its President till 1992. He anchored the cultural news at Europe 1 Radio channel and was the editor of “Mix” magazine on urban planning. In 1999, he was elected to the European Parliament, where he worked in the committees on industry, research and energy, on employment and social security, on development and cooperation until 2014. From 2012 to 2014, Desir was First Secretary of the Socialist Party of France.
In 2014-2017, he worked as the State Minister for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France.
Harlem Desir is the author of several books, many articles and publications on racism, humanitarian issues and human rights. He has been awarded the Olof Palme Prize (Sweden, 1990), the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix (Greece, 2016).