Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean to Visit Haiti

Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean will travel to Haiti on Monday, March 8, 2010, for a two-day visit. She will travel to Jacmel, where she was born, to visit her family still living in her native town. After this she will go to the cities of Port-au-Prince and Jérémie, and then a trip to the Dominican Republic. This is her first visit since the catastrophic earthquake on January 12.

A well-known journalist and broadcaster in Quebec, Michaëlle Jean moved to Canada from Haiti with her family at an early age in 1968, as violence under dictator Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier escalated. Her father had been arrested, jailed and tortured under Duvalier’s dictatorship. Jean completed her undergraduate studies at the Université de Montréal earning a degree in Spanish and Italian language and literature and a master’s degree in comparative literature. She went on to study Italian language, culture and literature at universities in Florence, Milan, and Perugia, Italy, between 1982 and 1985. While she was completing her university studies, Jean was also deeply involved with helping women and children who were the victims of domestic violence. She co-ordinated a groundbreaking study—published in 1987—that looked at abusive relationships in which women were the victims of sexual violence at the hands of their spouses.

Among her many awards: the Amnesty International Journalism Award in 1995 for a 15-part series on women; the 1994 Anik Prize for information reporting; France’s Médaillée de l’Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade des Parlementaires de la Francophonie (2003) for promoting francophone culture; and the 2000 Galaxi Award for best information program host.

Jean’s passion has been making documentary films. She has worked with renowned filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, her husband, on three major projects: L’heure de Cuba (1999), about the 40th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, Tropique Nord (1994) about being black in Quebec, and the Hot Docs award-winning Haiti dans tous nos rêves (1995).

Fluent in five languages—French, English, Italian, Spanish and Haitian Creole—Jean is the first black Governor General of Canada. Jean continues to be a social activist for women and children at risk and plans to use the office of Governor General to help disadvantaged young people.

“The Governor General will also use the opportunity to underscore the importance of education, culture, women and youth within the broader reconstruction and recovery,” a news release said.

Jean was to commend the Dominican Republic for “its leadership in responding to the crisis in Haiti, and will encourage the Dominican Republic to remain engaged in the long-term reconstruction of Haiti, as well as in the development strategy for the Island of Hispaniola.”

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2 thoughts on “Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean to Visit Haiti

  1. hi do you think that if you would have stayed in would be happy or really sad and wish that you had a better life.

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