Beverley Diamond

“Re” Thinking: Revitalization, Return, and Reconciliation in Contemporary Indigenous Expressive Culture.

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Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond

TO THE ARTS, CITIZENS! : Social Mediation through the Arts

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Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah

Society Matters: why should we value the Humanities?

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James Bartleman

Residential Schools: Have we forgotten our responsibility?

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Weaver, Johnson and Chuenpagdee

How Do We Build Resilient Communities in the Face of Climate Change?

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Gérard Bouchard and Graham Fraser

Pluralist Societies: what's their future?

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David Adams Richards

Threatened Identity: what do we lose when we lose the sense of place?

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Chief Shawn Atleo

First Nations Education: Can we afford to miss out?

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Antonine Maillet

Giving voice: Who speaks for the forgotten?

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Andrew Weaver, climatologist

How can Canadians keep their cool in a warming world?

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climate change panel

Using the arts to break down solitudes

Normand Forgues-Roy, Experience Congress

When Michaëlle Jean entered Rideau Hall in 2005, she decided to use “breaking down solitudes” as her motto. Upon her exit from Rideau Hall, she pursued this idea by founding the Fondation Michëlle Jean Foundation, over which she co-presides with her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond.

The couple spoke of the Foundation’s work through the example of the North Point Douglas neighbourhood in Winnipeg, where the former Governor General had organized a forum to allow citizens to reclaim their community.

While travelling, the former Governor General says she encountered a feeling of growing malaise. For the couple, the arts are essential to breaking down all solitudes, because they allow all people to express their feelings, fears and hopes, and to extend a hand to others. “Culture is the antidote to our ills,” said Jean-Daniel Lafond.

Once solitudes are broken, democracy may prosper and young people can take part in their community, according to Michaëlle. Her husband concludes that a country that neglects its culture is culturally doomed.

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