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  2. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
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News

Governor General to Undertake Visits to Slovenia, Croatia and Greece

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October 14, 2009 

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, will make an official visit to the Republic of Slovenia, from October 21 to 22, a State visit to the Republic of Croatia, from October 23 to 27, and a State visit to the Hellenic Republic, from October 29 to 31, 2009, during which she will be accompanied by her husband His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond.

“Slovenia and Croatia are young democracies whose roots reach back through centuries of history. Canada is young, but it has one of the oldest democratic traditions, and we who call this country home have a duty to encourage their vision of openness, as they try to fully assume their role in the international community,” said the Governor General. “I also think it is serendipitous that this trip ends in Greece, considered the cradle of democracy and Olympism. It is there that the Olympic flame, the foremost symbol of solidarity and reconciliation between peoples, will be passed to us, in preparation for the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver,” she added. 

The purpose of the official visit to the Republic of Slovenia is to recognize that country’s efforts towards democratization and to celebrate its integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union. The visit will also underscore the importance of the trade and cultural ties that Canada and Slovenia share. The Governor General will hold discussion forums with young people, women’s associations, cultural representatives and citizens, all of whom are concerned about social cohesion and peace in that country. In December 2008, the Governor General had to cut short her visit to Slovenia and return to Canada because of the political situation in Parliament. 

During the State visit to the Republic of Croatia, the Governor General will commend the country’s recent membership in NATO, as well as the proactive and exemplary role Croat officials are playing in promoting security in the region and elsewhere. Her Excellency will hold a number of discussions with members of civil society on, among other things, cultural diversity, heritage preservation, and reconciliation efforts after years of conflict that divided communities. 

While visiting the Hellenic Republic, the Governor General and His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will attend the official ceremony in which the Olympic flame will be passed to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, at the Panathenaic Stadium, in Athens. Their Excellencies will listen to young Greeks during a dialogue and to the cultural milieu on the occasion of an Art Matters Forum. The State visit will also highlight Greece’s and Canada’s commitment to bringing peace and security to Afghanistan.

A delegation of Canadians representing a variety of fields—including diversity, governance, arts and culture, civic engagement and youth—will interact with their Slovenian, Croatian and Greek counterparts as well as play an active role in Their Excellencies’ meetings with civil society. Information about members of the Canadian delegation will be available at www.gg.ca.

State visits by a governor general play an important role in Canada’s relations with other countries. They are the highest form of diplomatic contact, and they mark further developments in bilateral relations and exchanges among peoples.

 The public can follow the official visit to Slovenia and the State visits to Croatia and Greece through the speeches, photos and videos available daily at www.gg.ca. Blogs written by Their Excellencies and the delegates will be posted on www.citizenvoices.gg.ca.

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 Media Information:            

Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-0287
613-302-0912 (cell.)
meletourneau@gg.ca

Marthe Blouin
Official spokesperson to the Governor General of Canada
613-993-0397
613-301-3379 (cell.)
mblouin@gg.ca

www.gg.ca
www.citizenvoices.gg.ca