Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

June 22, 2010 14:07 ET

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, Following Her Nomination as UNESCO Special Envoy to Haiti

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) - Since the earthquake that claimed nearly 300 000 lives, left hundreds of thousands wounded and traumatized, and transformed much of Haiti into a field of rubble and debris, Canadians have continued to respond in a thousand and one ways. Each of our heartfelt gestures makes a world of difference.

As part of this outpouring of solidarity and friendship, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Government of Canada are proposing that I become a special envoy to UNESCO to support efforts to rebuild Haiti's heritage infrastructure and national education system. I'm delighted to be able to work closely with Mrs. Bokova for UNESCO.

In taking this initiative, Canada recognizes the crucial role that UNESCO can and must play in this regard. As Special Envoy, I will be encouraging the international community, all of the donor countries and their partners to make basic education, vocational training and higher education a priority and to work with the Haitian government and population to ensure sustainable and human development.

It is with great passion, conviction and enthusiasm that I have agreed to take on this important mission, which fits in perfectly with the people to people diplomacy I have practised throughout my term, as Governor General of Canada, particularly during the official and State visits I undertook, at the Prime Minister's request, to Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

I will remain engaged with my fellow Canadians. A foundation initiative took shape almost a year ago, the brainchild of a group composed of Canadian leaders from the arts and business communities, creative minds, decision makers and cultural workers eager to ensure the continuity of the actions taken with citizens during my five years in office. This foundation will support and develop the arts and culture as tools for mediation and social transformation.

Based in Ottawa, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation will seek to support Canada's many social and cultural actors, especially youth-serving and youth-led organizations, engaged across the country in constructive civic activities. Through creativity and artistic expression, these myriad stakeholders are reaching out to strengthen and consolidate Canada's social links.

This is the logical continuation of what my husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and I developed throughout my term in office by founding Art Matters, Youth Dialogues and Urban Art Forums, which have supported the activities of thousands of youth and creators across the country and enabled them to network with one another. We can attest to the positive results these actions have had in the field, both in major urban centres and in the regions.

 Michaëlle Jean

Contact Information