BLOG: We're listening, Brazil!
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July 6, 2007
by Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean
On behalf of Canadians, and at the Prime Minister’s request, it was with great enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility that I agreed to go on an important, 10-day State visit to Brazil. You followed my State visits last November-December to five African countries; now I will be going to South America—again with a delegation— with that same spirit to meet the people of Brazil. My journey begins today. It will be an opportunity to strengthen an old and natural relationship between Brazil and Canada, as Brazil has many similarities with Canada. This trip will also be an opportunity to strengthen the ties that exist in many different sectors, as Brazil is one of Canada’s most important partners in the Americas. The program we have set out will enable us to meet with the most dynamic associations and stakeholders in Brazil’s civil society in four cities: Salvador, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. We will be exercising what I like to call the art of diplomacy at the human level, through dialogue, listening, acknowledgement, meetings, the sharing of ideas and experiences, and the spirit of reciprocity and solidarity. In Rio de Janeiro, the last stage of our visit, we will be there to encourage the 700 Canadian athletes—acting as ambassadors for our country—who will be taking part in the Pan American and Para Pan American Games.
My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and our daughter, Marie-Éden, will also accompany us on the trip. Jean-Daniel will be in familiar territory, as the cinema plays a key role in Brazil-Canada relations. Brazilians place a lot of emphasis on the cultural industry—especially the film industry—in their bilateral relationships with Canada. We will also be holding the first-ever Art Matters forum abroad while on this trip. But we will talk more about that later. We will thus be exploring the many facets of Brazil, a society of contrasts facing a number of challenges, with our work team and a delegation of people from all regions of Canada and various sectors of Canadian society.
We chose delegates who will bring a wide range of contributions, ideas and expertise to the trip. Their presence, I am certain, will also enrich the social, political and trade partnerships between the two countries. I have also asked the delegates to share their thoughts with you throughout the trip and to blog according to their field of expertise: health, art, social development, economics . . .
So, with these passionate, committed people, we will hear what Brazilians have to say and share our ideas and successes in a variety of sectors, such as democratic development, human rights, security, fighting poverty, AIDS prevention and cultural diversity, to name just a few. In Sao Paulo, for example, we will discuss investment, science and technology, which are at the heart of economic development in Brazil. We will also discuss education, as well as art as a means of expressing cultural and historical diversity and as a tool to help people integrate and find their place in society.
Every day, we will also try to tell you about the importance of Canadian studies programs in this region of the Americas and the potential impact of Canadian aid projects on development in Brazil.
This trip looks to be very enriching and moving. Brazil is proud of its language, its history and its cultures, and has a lot to share with Canada and the rest of the Americas. So, follow along with us as we take part in these meetings, discussions and discoveries. Read the blog, watch the videos (which will sometimes be live) and look at the photographs.
Come along with us! We’re listening, Brazil!