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Michaelle Jean: UNESCO Special Envoy to Haiti

Dear All,

Fantastic news abt Michaelle Jean, and note that she has a foundation now, focusing on helping youth through arts and creative media. I sense an Arts and Culture Subgroup partner :))))! Janet

Haiti is at the heart of Jean's new mission

By Tobi Cohen

With her term as governor-general slated to end in the fall, Michaelle
Jean has enthusiastically agreed to become a United Nations special envoy to
Haiti -- her beloved homeland devastated in a massive
earthquake in January.

As a special envoy with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Jean's task will be to promote and seek donor
funds for reconstruction efforts.

During her four-year posting -- which will take effect when her mandate
as the Queen's representative in Canada ends on Sept. 27 -- she will
help rebuild the country's heritage infrastructure and national
education system.

"As special envoy, I will be encouraging the international community,
all of the donor countries and their partners to make basic education,
vocational training and higher education a priority and to work with
the Haitian government and population to ensure sustainable and human
development," she said in a statement released Tuesday, hours after the
prime minister confirmed the posting.

"It is with great passion, conviction and enthusiasm that I have agreed
to take on this important mission, which fits in perfectly with the
people-to-people diplomacy I have practised throughout my term as
governor-general of Canada."

That said, Jean assured she will "remain engaged" with her "fellow
Canadians" through the Michaelle Jean Foundation, a new, Ottawa-based
organization aimed at engaging youth, particularly those from
underprivileged, rural and northern communities, through art and other
creative media.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office say Stephen Harper had been
angling to get the prestigious post for Jean for some time.

Tuesday, he welcomed her appointment, calling it a "tribute to Canada's
leadership role in rebuilding Haiti.

"As UNESCO special envoy to Haiti, Michaelle Jean will draw upon her
unique experience and dedication to Haiti, as well as her commitment to
educational and cultural initiatives," Harper said.

"She will be in a position to further advance the international
community's response to the urgent needs in Haiti as it recovers from
January's devastating earthquake."

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova further praised Jean's career-long
commitment to press for freedom, dialogue between communities, equality
of the sexes and economic development through education.

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