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News

Governor General to lead State Visit to four European countries

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November 17, 2008

OTTAWA— At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, along with her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, will make a State visit to the Republic of Hungary, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovenia, from November 24 to December 6, 2008.

This State visit will highlight, among other things, democratic transition in the four countries, our historic and cultural ties, our growing trade relationships, and our joint participation in NATO missions, especially the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

A delegation of Canadians representing a variety of fields—including diversity and governance; minority integration; arts and culture; civic engagement; youth; and the rules of law and freedoms—will play an active role in Their Excellencies’ meetings with civil society.

“This visit will be an opportunity to recognize the remarkable strides these four countries have made since the end of the last century,” remarked the Governor General. “It will also give us the chance to reinforce and strengthen our ties and alliances in Europe, especially with the European Union.”

State visits by governors general play an important role in Canada’s relations with other countries.

Information about members of the Canadian delegation is available at www.gg.ca. Blogs written by Their Excellencies and the delegates will be posted on www.citizenvoices.gg.ca.  

Below is the detailed itinerary for the State visit (local time):

State Visit to the Republic of Hungary

Monday, November 24
Budapest, Hungary

10 a.m.
Official welcoming ceremony with military honours
Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed to the Republic of Hungary during a ceremony with military honours.
St-Georges Square, Sándor Palace, Budapest
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

10:30 a.m.
Meeting with the President of the Republic of Hungary
Their Excellencies will meet with His Excellency László Sólyom, President of the Republic of Hungary, and Mrs. Erzsébet Sólyom to discuss relations between Canada and Hungary. An expanded meeting with the official delegation will follow.
Sándor Palace, Budapest
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – At the beginning of the meeting.
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press at 11:30 a.m.

12:15 p.m.
Meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly
Their Excellencies will meet with the Honourable Dr. Katalin Szili, Speaker of the National Assembly, at a luncheon in their honour.
House of the Nation, Budapest
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

1:45 p.m.
Visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Governor General will lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a ceremony to commemorate the men and women who perished in war.
Heroes’ Square, Budapest
OPEN TO MEDIA 

5 p.m.
Meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary
Their Excellencies will have the opportunity to discuss Canada-Hungary relations with His Excellency Ferenc Gyurcsány, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary.
House of the Nation, Budapest
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

8 p.m.
State dinner hosted by the President of the Republic of Hungary
His Excellency László Sólyom, President of the Republic of Hungary, and Mrs. Erzsébet Sólyom will host Their Excellencies at a State dinner in their honour.
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
OPENING REMARKS OPEN TO MEDIA

Tuesday, November 25
Budapest, Hungary

9:30 a.m.
Visit to Kesztyûgyár Community Centre and roundtable discussion on youth at risk
The Governor General will take part in a micro-conference organized by His Worship Gábor Demszky, Mayor of Budapest, and the Mérei Ferenc Institute of Education and Career Guidance, to discuss challenges faced by youth in Hungary and in Canada, and the programs that are in place to address these challenges. The Governor General hopes to bring forward information she has gathered during the many Youth Dialogues and discussions she has hosted across Canada. The visit will also include a walking tour of this multicultural neighbourhood to witness its revitalization efforts.

Kesztyügyár Community Centre is located in the eighth district of Budapest, and is part of the City’s efforts to improve living conditions in the neighbourhood. Opened in August 2008, the Centre offers various classes and counselling to youth, and is host to several organizations, such as the Roma Youth Association and the Drug Prevention Association.
Kesztyügyár Community Centre, Budapest
OPEN TO MEDIA

Dunakeszi, Hungary

1:45 p.m.
Visit to the Bombardier Rail Assembly Plant
Her Excellency will arrive at the Bombardier Rail Assembly Plant by train and will visit the carriage assembly area and other working areas of the plant. Along with a representative of the Hungarian government and a representative from Bombardier, the Governor General will offer remarks highlighting the benefits of Canadian-Hungarian commercial collaboration.

Bombardier Rail is the largest Canadian employer in Hungary and is a partner of the Hungarian National Railway. At this plant, Bombardier manufactures, refurbishes, rebuilds and overhauls passenger vehicles. The plant and the Nyugati Train Station in Budapest were designed by the Gustav Eiffel atelier.
Departure from Nyugati Train Station, Budapest to the Bombardier Rail Assembly Plant, Dunakeszi
OPEN TO MEDIA – Media will be able to board the train at 1:20 p.m. and follow the Governor General during her visit of the Bombardier Rail Assembly Plant.

Budapest, Hungary

4 p.m.
Reception with members of the Canadian community in Hungary
Their Excellencies will have the opportunity to meet with Canadians living in Hungary, at the Lukács Cukrászda (Lukács Confectionary), a business owned by the Hungarian-Canadian Huszti family, located in a historic building they recently renovated. The executive chef, Devin Ticmanis, is Canadian.
Lukács Cukrászda (Lukács Confectionary), Budapest
OPEN TO MEDIA

7 p.m.
Art Matters: The role of films in our society
His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will host an Art Matters forum to discuss the Canadian and Hungarian film and cultural industries.

Art Matters, a series of forums, provides exciting opportunities to bring together artists, academics and administrators to observe and discuss the challenges related to culture in society. Over 30 Art Matters forums have been held in Canada and abroad.
Uránia National Film Theatre, Budapest
OPEN TO MEDIA – Media will be able to listen to the Governor General’s opening remarks and attend the discussion hosted by His Excellency, in the company of filmmakers, students, professors, film journalists and critics.

Wednesday, November 26
Budapest, Hungary

9:30 a.m.
Unveiling of a memorial plaque in honour of Hungarian-Canadians
After the 1956 Revolution, Canada accepted 40 000 refugees from Hungary. Since then, the community of Canadians of Hungarian origin has grown to approximately 300 000 people. To commemorate Hungarians who found refuge in Canada, the Governor General will unveil a plaque financed by Canadian-Hungarians, in Budapest’s largest public park, in an area near the 1956 Hungarian Revolution memorial.
Városliget City Park, Budapest
OPEN TO MEDIA

State Visit to the Slovak Republic

Wednesday, November 26
Bratislava, Slovakia

3:30 p.m.
Official welcoming ceremony with military honours
Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed to the Slovak Republic during a ceremony with military honours.
Main Courtyard, Presidential Palace, Bratislava
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

3:45 p.m.
Meeting with the President of the Slovak Republic
Their Excellencies will meet with His Excellency Ivan Gašparoviè, President of the Slovak Republic, and Mrs. Silvia Gašparovicova to discuss the relationship between Canada and Slovakia. An expanded meeting with the official delegation will follow.
Presidential Palace, Bratislava
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY –At the beginning of the meeting.
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press at 5 p.m.

8:30 p.m.
State dinner hosted by the President of the Slovak Republic
His Excellency Ivan Gašparoviè, President of the Slovak Republic, and Mrs. Silvia Gašparovicova will host Their Excellencies at a State dinner in their honour.
Presidential Palace, Bratislava
CLOSED TO MEDIA

Thursday, November 27
Bratislava, Slovakia

9 a.m.
Wreath-laying Ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1968 events
The Governor General will lay a wreath by the plaque commemorating the deaths of three Bratislavan citizens after the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion.
Comenius University, Bratislava
OPEN TO MEDIA

9:15 a.m.
Panel discussion: Solidarity in a Global World
To highlight the importance of solidarity in this era of globalization, Her Excellency will deliver the keynote address at and participate in a discussion about solidarity with students, community leaders, politicians, and the diplomatic corps.
Comenius University, Bratislava
OPEN TO MEDIA

12 p.m.
Meeting with the President of the National Council
The Governor General will meet His Excellency Pavol Paška, President of the National Council.
National Council of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

12:30 p.m.
His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond
Film Discussion
His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will meet with representatives of Slovakia’s film industry, to discuss the achievements and recent developments in the Slovakian and Canadian film industries.
Restaurant Woch, Bratislava
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

Friday, November 28
Hronsek, Slovakia

10:15 a.m.
Visit to the Articular Wooden Church
Their Excellencies will visit the Articular Wooden Church in Hronsek. The visit will also include a short organ concert on the 18th-century Baroque organ.

The local Lutherans built the church during a period of religious persecution, when they were allowed to erect only wooden churches. Even nails were made exclusively of wood.
Articular Wooden Church, Hronsek
OPEN TO MEDIA

Banska Bystrica, Slovakia

11:15 a.m.
Discussion with local non-government organizations
Their Excellencies will meet with representatives from three organizations: VIA IURIS, a non-governmental, non-profit organization whose mission is to broaden access to justice and public participation; Ekopolis, a foundation that has been managing grant programs focused on democracy and nature conservation; and the Healthy City Community Foundation, the first of its kind in Europe, committed to improving the environment and quality of life in the city. They will discuss and compare public participation in Canada and Slovakia, respectively.
VIA IURIS (Centre for Public Advocacy), Banska Bystrica
OPEN TO MEDIA

2:15 p.m.
Opening of the exhibit Images and Reflections, from the Triangle Gallery of Calgary
Their Excellencies will officially open Images and Reflections, which features the work of 15 leading Canadian artists from Calgary and Western Canada.

The Triangle Gallery is a public art gallery operated by the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society, and financed by the City of Calgary.
State Scientific Library, Banska Bystrica
OPEN TO MEDIA

Bratislava, Slovakia

7:30 p.m.
Reception hosted by the Canadian ambassador
In order to showcase the cultural ties between Canada and Slovakia, Their Excellencies will attend a reception hosted by Mr. Michael Calcott, Ambassador of Canada to the Slovak Republic..The evening will include a performance by the Slovak National Ballet.
Historical Building of the National Council, Bratislava
OPEN TO MEDIA

State Visit to the Czech Republic

Saturday, November 29
Brno, Czech Republic

2:45 p.m.
Panel discussion—Canadian Cultural Diversity: Gender, Minority and Public Life
Their Excellencies will attend a panel discussion with Canadian delegates and their Czech counterparts to will explore both countries’ experience in the field of cultural diversity and integration of minorities. The audience will include local and national government officials, representatives from non-governmental organizations, academics, students, community leaders and members of the general public. The Governor General will say a few words.
Masaryk University, Brno
OPEN TO MEDIA

4:30 p.m.
Visit to the Muzeum romské kultury (Museum of Romani Culture) and discussion
To learn more about the history, the arts and the culture of the Roma, Their Excellencies will tour the Museum of Romani Culture, meet with contemporary Roma artists and engage in a discussion on the revival of Romani art.
Museum of Romani Culture, Brno
OPEN TO MEDIA

8:45 p.m.
Traditional dinner hosted by the Governor of the South Moravian Region
Their Excellencies will attend a traditional dinner given by the Governor of the South Moravian Region.
Slavkov Castle, Brno
OPENING REMARKS OPEN TO MEDIA

Monday, December 1
Prague, Czech Republic

10:30 a.m.
Official welcoming ceremony with military honours
Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed to the Czech Republic during a ceremony with military honours.
Mathias Gate, Prague Castle, Prague
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

10:45 a.m.
Meeting with the President of the Czech Republic
Their Excellencies will meet with His Excellency Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, and Mrs. Livia Klausova to discuss relations between Canada and the Czech Republic. An expanded meeting with the official delegation will follow.
Prague Castle, Prague
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – At the beginning of the meeting.
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press  at 11:50 a.m.

12:45 p.m.
Luncheon hosted by the President of the Senate of the Parliament
Their Excellencies will attend a luncheon given by The Honourable Pøenysk Sobotka, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament.
Senate, Prague
OPENING REMARKS OPEN TO MEDIA

3 p.m.
Courtesy call on the Lord Mayor of the City of Prague
Their Excellencies will meet with His Worship Pavel Bém, Lord Mayor of the City of Prague.
City Hall, Prague
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

4 p.m.
Meeting with the Chairman of the House of Deputies
Their Excellencies will meet with The Honourable Miloslav Vlèek, Chairman of the House of Deputies.
Location to be confirmed
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

7 p.m.
State dinner hosted by the President of the Czech Republic
His Excellency Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, will host Their Excellencies at a State Dinner in their honour.
Prague Castle, Prague
OPENING REMARKS OPEN TO MEDIA

Tuesday, December 2

9:15 a.m.
Meeting with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Their Excellencies will meet with His Excellency Mirek Topolánek Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, to discuss the relationship between Canada and the Czech Republic.
Location to be confirmed
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

10:30 a.m.
Conference: Multicultural Dialogue
The conference, organized by the City of Prague, is part of the eighth Meeting of National Minorities. The Governor General will offer opening remarks. The panel discussion with Canadian delegates and their Czech counterparts will explore both countries’ experience in the field of integration of minorities in urban centres. The audience will include academics, local and national government representatives, and members of civil society.
New City Hall, Prague
OPEN TO MEDIA

3:30 p.m.
Governor General’s Youth Dialogue on Civic Engagement
The Governor General will host a Youth Dialogue with Czech youths from all walks of life to discuss the civic engagement of youth and how they can act as agents of change locally, nationally and internationally.

The Governor General has hosted several Youth Dialogues across Canada to provide young people with a voice to debate current affairs.
DOX, Prague
OPEN TO MEDIA

6:30 p.m.
Art Matters: Political Art
His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will host an Art Matters forum to discuss the role of film and art in the promotion of political ideas and ideologies.

Art Matters, a series of forums, provides exciting opportunities to bring together artists, academics and administrators to observe and discuss the challenges related to culture in society. Over 30 Art Matters forums have been held in Canada and abroad.
La Fabrika, Prague
OPEN TO MEDIA – Media will be able to listen to the Governor General’s opening remarks and attend the discussion hosted by His Excellency in the company of filmmakers, students, professors, film journalists, activists and critics.

Wednesday, December 3

9:30 a.m.
Wreath-laying ceremony at the Commonwealth War Grave
Their Excellencies will lay a wreath at the Commonwealth War Grave section of the Olšany Cemetery, where nine Canadian soldiers are buried.
Olšany Cemetery, Prague
OPEN TO MEDIA

Lidice, Czech Republic

10:30 a.m.
Visit to Lidice Memorial
Their Excellencies will visit the site of the Lidice Memorial. Razed completely on June 10, 1942, during the Second World War, the village of Lidice has become the symbol of fascist cruelty. The former scene of the Lidice tragedy now holds a museum and a sacred site containing the Memorial to the Child Victims of War.
Lidice, Czech Republic
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

Prague, Czech Republic

5:15 p.m.
Governor General’s Youth Dialogue at the Palaestra Youth Centre
Their Excellencies will visit the Palaestra Youth Centre and engage youths who benefit from its services in a discussion on the role the Centre has played in their lives.

The Palaestra Civic Association was founded in 1999 by Jan Balog, a former Czechoslovakian boxing champion who became a social field worker and a member of the Czech government’s Roma Issues Council. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has supported the Centre with the purchase of equipment.
Palaestra Youth Centre, Prague
OPEN TO MEDIA

State Visit to the Republic of Slovenia

Thursday, December 4
Ljubljana, Slovenia

10:15 a.m.
Official welcoming ceremony with military honours
Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed to the Republic of Slovenia during a ceremony with military honours.
Presidential Palace, Ljubljana
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

10:30 a.m.
Meeting with the President of the Republic of Slovenia
Their Excellencies will meet with His Excellency Dr. Danilo Türk, President of the Republic of Slovenia, and Mrs. Barbara Miklič Türk to discuss relations between Canada and the Republic of Slovenia. An expanded meeting with the official delegation will follow.
Presidential Palace, Ljubljana
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY –At the beginning of the meeting.
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the press conference at 11:55 a.m.

12:30 p.m.
Meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia
Their Excellencies will have the opportunity to discuss Canada-Slovenia relations with His Excellency Borut Pahor, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia.
Presidential Palace, Ljubljana
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

1:15 p.m.
Meeting with the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia
Their Excellencies will meet with the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, His Excellency Dr. Pavel Gantar.
National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

2 p.m.
Luncheon hosted by the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia
The President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, His Excellency Dr. Pavel Gantar, will host Their Excellencies at a luncheon in their honour.
Vila Podrožnik, Ljubljana
OPENING REMARKS OPEN TO THE MEDIA

8 p.m.
State dinner hosted by the President of the Republic of Slovenia
His Excellency Danilo Türk, President of the Republic of Slovenia, will host Their Excellencies at a State dinner in their honour.
Brdo Castle, Ljubljana
OPENING REMARKS OPEN TO MEDIA

Friday, December 5

9:30 a.m.
Courtesy Call on the Lord Mayor of Ljubljana
Their Excellencies will meet with the Lord Mayor of Ljubljana, Mr. Zoran Janković. They will be welcomed by city trumpeters.
Ljubljana City Hall, Ljubljana
OPEN TO MEDIA

10 a.m.
Lecture on at the International Criminal Court and the Enforcement of International justice at the International Forum of the Law Faculty
The Governor General will deliver opening remarks and Canadian Judge Philippe Kirsch, President of the International Criminal Court will deliver a lecture titled “The International Criminal Court and the Enforcement of International Justice.” His Excellency Dr. Danilo Türk, President of the Republic of Slovenia, will also attend.

The lecture is presented as part of the Law Faculty of the University of Ljubljana’s International Forum. The Faculty invites leading experts from Slovenia and abroad to deliver pro bono lectures on legal aspects of processes underway in various parts of the world.
Law Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana
OPEN TO MEDIA

12:30 p.m.
His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond
Film Discussion
In order to discuss the Canadian and Slovenian film industries, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will be meeting with representatives of Slovenia’s film industry. They will talk about the achievements and the recent developments of each industry.
Restaurant Pri Vitezu, Ljubljana
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

3:15 p.m.
Meeting with Slovenian soldiers who served with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan
The Governor General will have the opportunity to meet with Slovenian soldiers who served alongside members of the Canadian Forces in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Memorial Room, Barracks Franc Rozman Stane, Ljubljana
OPEN TO MEDIA – Some restrictions apply.

7 p.m.
Reception with members of the Canadian community in Slovenia
Their Excellencies will have the opportunity to meet with Canadians living in Slovenia at Kinodvor Art Cinema, one of the first cinemas in Ljubljana, which played a significant role in the modernization of the Slovenian capital.
Kinodvor Art Cinema, Ljubljana
OPEN TO MEDIA

7:30 p.m.
Official launch of the Canadian Cinema Series
Their Excellencies, members of the Canadian community in Slovenia and representatives from the film industry will be on hand for the official launch of the Canadian Cinema Series at Kinodvor Art Cinema. “Heaven on Earth” by Deepa Mehta will be featured.
Kinodvor Art Cinema, Ljubljana
OPEN TO MEDIA

Saturday, December 6

9:30 a.m.
Discussion: Common solutions to drug addiction problems
The Governor General will visit the Človek Rehabilitation Centre, a centre that assists young people in overcoming drug addictions. Her Excellency will then join a group of experts and health practitioners to discuss drug addiction and to share views on possible solutions.
Sprejemni center Človek, Ljubljana
OPEN TO MEDIA

-30-

The itinerary is subject to change. Photos and speeches of the Governor General’s State visit to four European countries will be available at www.gg.ca. To obtain footage, media are invited to click on the following link: www.combatcamera.ca/gg. This page will be updated on a daily basis.

Media information
Rideau Hall Press Office 
613-998-0287

Isabelle Serrurier 
Rideau Hall Press Office
iserrurier@gg.ca

Marthe Blouin
Official spokesperson to the Governor General of Canada
mblouin@gg.ca

www.gg.ca 
www.citizenvoices.gg.ca