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Michaëlle Jean

The Diplomat


The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

The Diplomat

27th Governor General, Commander-in-Chief of Canada

Former UNESCO Special Envoy to Haiti 

3rd Secretary General of La Francophonie

Founder of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation

On September 27, 2005, Michaëlle Jean—a Haitian immigrant to Canada who fled a dictatorial regime at the age of 11 to start over with her family—became the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. The first Black woman to occupy Canada’s highest office, she redefined the role by engaging actively in social issues, defending marginalized people, and fiercely upholding the rules of democracy, justice, and universal rights and freedoms for all. In empowering, inspiring keynotes, Madame Jean shares the powerful philosophy she believes will change the world: “Life’s biggest imperative and greatest reward is to serve something greater than ourselves.”

Michaëlle Jean is the 27th Governor General, Commander-in-Chief of Canada. As soon as her five-year mandate ended, the United Nations called on her to become UNESCO Special Envoy to support reconstruction efforts in Haiti, her country of birth devastated that same year as a result of a powerful earthquake. From 2011 to 2014, Madame Jean also served as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, where her offices as UNESCO Special Envoy were hosted. From January 2015 to 2019, Madame Jean served as the 3rd Secretary General of La Francophonie.

Together with her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, she founded and chaired the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, whose programs support, through art and culture, civic initiatives alongside some of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised young people in Canada. On March 21st, 2020, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation will kick off a campaign to end racial discrimination in Canada.

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean holds the following official titles: Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (C.P.), Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.), Commander of the Order of Military Merit (C.M.M.), Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (C.O.M.) and the Canadian Forces Decoration (C.D.). She has received many awards, distinctions, and honorary doctorates, including the Grand Cross, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Canada Award, Grand Officer of the National Order of Niger, and Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali.


Who We Are: Justice, Democracy, and Hope with the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

“I believe we stand at a crossroads,” says the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. “At issue is who we are as a people—and what we will become as individuals, as citizens, as a society.”

In this explosive talk, Madame Jean—27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada—challenges the state of the world today. She shares stories from her decades-long career in diplomacy and her extensive travels across the globe, revealing who and what is most at risk. She describes the threats facing our democracy, our vulnerable people, and our culture and society at large. And, she recounts where she has seen optimism and light: progress, possibility, and passion, especially in our young people.

“Our precious heritage—our culture of togetherness, so dear to us—is being challenged on an unprecedented scale,” she says. “[But] the dawn of a new generation is upon us. And the name of that generation is: hope.” 

Contact us to learn how Madame Jean can craft a message for your audience.

I will always speak of what’s right. I cannot work differently.
— The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean