Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

August 05, 2008 11:18 ET

Governor General Talks Democracy With Youth From Around the World

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 5, 2008) - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, is hosting a multimedia Youth Dialogue on youth, democracy and civic engagement, during the 4th World Youth Congress. The Governor General is the honorary patron of the Congress, which is taking place from August 10 to 21, 2008, in the City of Quebec.

Her Excellency will be joining forces with Canadian artists such as Jully Black, K'naan, Samian and Ariane Moffat to host a dynamic discussion, which will focus on the new and exciting ways youth are using democracy to act as effective agents of change locally, nationally and internationally. The Youth Dialogue, hosted by Sol Guy and in collaboration with Apathy is Boring (http://www.apathyisboring.com/) and Democracy250 (http://www.democracy250.ca/), will gather nearly 500 youth attending from the Congress and from local youth organizations. It will also link to people from around the world via Webcast, and remote participants will be invited to contribute to the discussion by sending text messages and Webcam videos. The Youth Dialogue will take place on August 13, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. E.S.T. Anyone interested in joining in should log on to www.citizenvoices.gg.ca to find out how to get involved.

On August 11, 2008, Her Excellency will officially launch the World Youth Congress where 600 youth from around the world will assemble for the opening ceremony, and will receive the Champion of Youth award from Peace Child International. She will also be delivering a keynote address during the following morning's plenary session.

A detailed itinerary of the Governor General's visit to the City of Quebec from August 10 to August 13, 2008, will be made available in the coming days. A fact sheet on the Governor General's Youth Programme is attached and available at http://www.gg.ca/gg/youth/index_e.asp.


THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S YOUTH PROGRAMME

The Governor General has identified youth as a major priority for her mandate. During her official visits to each Canadian province and territory, Her Excellency consulted with young Canadians to understand how the institution of the governor general can be more accessible and relevant.

The Recommendations

The following is a summary of the main recommendations presented to Her Excellency by Canadian youth:

- Provide a national space in which youth perspectives can be taken seriously and youth initiatives can be supported

- Increase opportunities for young Canadians and youth overseas to collaborate and network around common aims

- Help foster greater awareness and support for initiatives that use urban art as a tool to combat youth crime and empower youth to improve their neighbourhoods and communities

- Encourage youth to improve their efforts to foster social change through mentorship opportunities with experts in a variety of fields

The Programme

Following her official visits across Canada, the Governor General developed a youth programme that incorporates the aforementioned recommendations. Through five initiatives, Her Excellency seeks to render the institution of the governor general more accessible, relevant and meaningful to young Canadians, providing them with an unprecedented opportunity to reach decision makers and citizens alike.

1. Urban Arts Forums

This initiative highlights how urban artists in disenfranchised neighbourhoods and communities are using urban art to combat youth crime and empower youth to build stronger communities. Decision makers, members of the Order of Canada and philanthropists participate in the forums to learn about the accomplishments of marginalized youth and to offer ways to assist them in their efforts. Forums have taken place across Canada as well as in Brazil and South Africa. New community-based initiatives have emerged out of the forums, often galvanizing entire communities around crime prevention and social transformation.

2. Youth Dialogues

The dialogues provide young Canadians with a national voice to debate current affairs. During each dialogue, 130 to 250 people participate in a discussion with the Governor General at Rideau Hall. During her first youth dialogue, the Governor General spoke with close to 300 university students, senators, federal ministers and community leaders in the first-ever student forum on abolition and anti-racism held by a Canadian governor general. Her Excellency always shares the ideas and perspectives presented during the dialogues with decision makers.

3. The Order of Canada Youth Mentorship Program

The Governor General has created the Order of Canada Youth Mentorship Program, an initiative that matches members of the Order of Canada with Youth in Motion's Top 20 Under 20™ award recipients, as well as five additional deserving young persons from across Canada.

Participants will use online tools to communicate throughout the year with their mentors. The Citizen Voices Web site (www.citizenvoices.gg.ca), launched in 2006 to create a space of dialogue for all Canadians, will offer mentorees and mentors a secure space in which to connect. They will also share their conversations with the public using blogs and forums that will be posted regularly on Citizen Voices to allow site users to follow along as participants go through this unique experience and see how the program enriches both sides of the mentoring relationship.

4. International Initiatives

As part of the Governor General's State and official visits overseas, youth dialogues and urban arts forums are organized to bring Canadian youth together with youth from other countries. The Governor General also ensures that youth are well represented within the delegations that accompany her overseas.

5. CitizenVoices

The Governor General's Web site, www.citizenvoices.ca, promotes the activities of the Office and creates a space for dialogue with and among citizens. Primarily targeted to youth, the Web site features blogs, forums, vlogs and other elements that encourage discussion and the emergence of networks connecting citizens.

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