Michaëlle Jean honoured for her community engagement and openness to the world

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Michaëlle Jean at the centre of attention during the announcement of the renaming of the CGCE.

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and Louis de Melo, Vice-President, External Relations, at a ceremony to recognize Jean’s term as University Chancellor. She was presented with a work of art created out of pages of La Rotonde student newspaper, a reminder of her former career as a journalist.

By Johanne Adam

The Centre for Global and Community Engagement is getting a new name. The centre, which is dedicated to student volunteerism, will be renamed the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement.

“We were looking for a way to pay tribute to Ms. Jean, whose time as chancellor, from February 2012 to this past spring, was strongly marked by her commitment to public service and community service learning. What better way to do so than to name our volunteer centre in her honour, to ensure its future?” said Allan Rock, University president and vice-chancellor.

In April, Michaëlle Jean announced that she would be leaving as chancellor following her election as secretary general of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.  

The new name highlights Jean’s contribution to internationalization at the University. Indeed, Jean used her position as a public figure to raise the profile of uOttawa’s programs, both in Canada and abroad.  Showing both leadership and deep commitment, she was also a catalyst for numerous partnership agreements between the University of Ottawa and many institutes of higher learning in French-speaking countries.

“I am touched and honoured by the tribute the University has offered me. I’m sorry to have to leave my position as chancellor. Rest assured that the University of Ottawa will always have a special place in my heart. I am particularly proud to see my name associated with a centre that promotes community engagement and openness,” said Jean at a campus ceremony in her honour.

Throughout her career, Jean, a former governor general of Canada, has advocated for community engagement. Whether as University chancellor or as UNESCO special envoy for Haiti, she has stressed that making sure that youth can get involved in their communities matters, to develop their desire to serve and thus contribute to a better world.

The Centre for Global and Community Engagement was inaugurated in October 2011.  Serving the student body, it is a one-stop shop for information on volunteer opportunities in the region, across the country and around the world.

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