She may have cleaned out her desk at Rideau Hall, but Michaelle Jean will soon be busy at her new office at the University of Ottawa.
The former Governor General of Canada has been designated as UNESCO Special Envoy to Haiti by Director General Irina Bokova.
Beginning later this year, Jean will lead a team inside Tabaret Hall at the U of O where she will work with officials responsible for education, culture, and science projects to restore her native Haiti which is still recovering from the Jan. 12 earthquake.
“I will soon join the big United Nations family to take part in this reconstruction [of Haiti], proud of our Canadian perspective and of our contribution.
“Moreover, although I will be working with UNESCO, whose headquarters are in Paris, I have chosen to work here primarily, and I thank the University of Ottawa for offering me offices on its campus,” wrote Jean in an open letter on her new Michaelle Jean Foundation website.
Jean has already built a strong relationship with UNESCO.
Last October she addressed the Organization’s Executive Board stressing the importance of dialogue between cultures and in March she travelled with Bokova to the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jacmel, Haiti, which was severely damaged in the quake.
Michaelle Jean’s other job description will be co-head of the Michaelle Jean Foundation with her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond.
- The Ottawa-based foundation is focused on youth empowerment and plans to use art and creativity to encourage Canadian youth to be more publicly engaged and to improve their well-being.
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada will contribute $3 million initially to the foundation, and will match up to $7 million raised privately.
- While she was Governor General, Jean has workshops to help youth across Canada who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.