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Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond

Sunday, May 29, 2021
10:00 to 11:30
Margaret Norrie McCain Hall, Noel Kinsella Auditorium

Conveying the vision of their new foundation, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, Michaëlle Jean and her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, discuss the ways in which the arts can be used to foster social harmony, civic engagement, inclusion and innovation.

Over the course of her mandate as 27th Governor General of Canada, Madame Jean and her husband, the filmmaker and philosopher Jean-Daniel Lafond, made youth one of their main priorities. Through their travels and work across Canada, they saw firsthand the power of the arts to change lives and empower youth to build better communities. Convinced of the need to maintain their commitment beyond the mandate, they created the Michaëlle Jean Foundation whose primary objective is to enable youth, particularly in underprivileged rural, urban, Aboriginal and northern communities, to use the power of the arts to become catalysts for change and actively engaged in society.

According to Michaëlle Jean, “Art is a powerful means of assembling citizens, of opening meeting spaces for dialogue that remove the borders between us. Art allows us to understand who we are, and in so doing, it helps us deepen our sense of belonging.” For Jean-Daniel Lafond, “In all its forms, culture reminds us of our duty to build a better and more just world. Faced with increasing barbarism, it offers us a powerful weapon of mass construction.”

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean made human rights, citizen participation, global solidarity and inclusiveness, her priorities as 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada (2005-2010) and before that as a widely respected, award-winning journalist and news anchor.  This same passion  drives her work today as UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti and Co-President of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

Her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, a former philosophy professor, is a recognized filmmaker, whose award-winning films in Canada (Gemini) and abroad provoke thought and sometimes controversy. A prolific writer, he has authored several books, films and radio plays. His deep faith in the transformative power of culture is the linchpin of his artistic work. It also was the impetus for his work with his wife  during her tenure as Governor General. He is co-founder of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, where he is Co-President and CEO.

Category: Feature


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