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Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean

Former Secretary General, la Francophonie & Former Governor General of Canada

Michaëlle Jean shares her unique perspective on national and international issues through the prism of cultural diplomacy, philanthropy, good governance, deep diversity, and global solidarity. She is the former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the former the Secretary General of la Francophonie, UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, and the Co-President of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Transforming Lives and Revitalizing Communities
Drawing from her personal story, Ms. Jean speaks passionately about the importance of using leadership as a creative vehicle to transform lives and revitalize communities across Canada and around the world.

Sustaining Women in Leadership
Using her experience building networks of shelters for battered women and becoming Canada’s first female Commander-in-Chief of African descent, Ms. Jean shares her insights on the intrinsic value of women leadership and on the conditions necessary to transform young women into the new generation of leaders.

Education as the key to Freedom
Ms. Jean speaks from the heart about the extent to which educators can have a life-changing impact on their students by creating inclusive spaces of learning, creativity, and civic virtue.

Social Transformation through the Arts
Ms. Jean discusses the ways in which the arts can be used to foster social harmony, civic engagement, inclusion and innovation.

Platform Plus

Panelist/In Conversation


Grand Cross of the National Order of the Legion of Honour

United Nations Development Fund for Women | Canada Award

  • When she met the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, she showed a rare empathy for their pain. When she travelled abroad, she related as an internationally minded person to people in other situations, speaking different languages. When she went to the Arctic, she ate seal meat; when she met the poor, she was never condescending; when she gathered women's groups to Rideau Hall, she was one of them; when she handed out honours or met diplomats, she spoke to the occasion with fitting words.

    - Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail
  • Mme. Jean was a delight to have present in our group. Her message was inspiring and her presence was bold and impactful. She is the perfect touch of class and she was truly passionate in presenting her speech, and her passion was contagious. She showed us both her serious and professional side along with her fun spirit and charming nature. It was a perfect blend of both and really was a phenomenal end to a very powerful day.

    - Grant Thornton

Summary Profile

An eloquent and passionate speaker, Michaëlle Jean shows us that it is possible to stay grounded and true to your values, regardless of your occupation or the expectations placed on you by society. She is available for a limited number of speaking engagements exclusively through NSB. Proceeds from speaking engagements go directly towards supporting her legacy, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation (FMJF). The Foundation works with business leaders, government, artists, and civic leaders to empower youth to use the arts to transform disenfranchised communities. As the first female Secretary General of La Francophonie, Ms. Jean leads the development of political activities and actions of multilateral cooperation among 80 member states and governments.

A force on the international stage, she not only promotes the French language and culture, but also a sense of respect for the shared values of peace, democracy and human rights. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she immigrated to Canada with her family in 1968, fleeing the dictatorial regime of the time. After studying comparative literature at the Université de Montréal, she taught Italian in the Université’s Department of Literature and Modern Languages.

During her studies, Ms. Jean worked for eight years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later ventured into journalism and became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information programs at Radio-Canada television and CBC Newsworld.

Ms. Jean was the 27th governor general of Canada, serving from 2005-2010. She devoted her mandate to youth, women, Indigenous people, and culture, promoting social change and international diplomacy. In 2010, the tragic earthquake in Haiti took her back to her native land where she helped to initiate a vast and rapid mobilization while participating actively in orchestrating the relief efforts.

Lets not be fools but wise! We must strategize, remain vigilant and never give up the fight against racism. Apathy… https://t.co/QyFadbnq6q (2019-07-19 12:51:30)
Chassez la barbarie, elle revient au galop. Face et contre le racisme, la haine, la discrimination, l’ignorance nou… https://t.co/IPFoC8ORf9 (2019-07-19 12:43:15)
#JournéeMondialeDesCompétencesDesJeunes Savoir qu’Investir dans la formation professionnelle, technique et technolo… https://t.co/RvV7kNuPcd (2019-07-16 04:59:04)