Presentation of Letters of Credence (Myanmar, Croatia, Mozambique, Namibia)
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Rideau Hall, Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Welcome to Rideau Hall.
One of my primary goals as Canada’s governor general is to inspire Canadians to a deeper, richer and more devoted level of public service. The kind of service where each of us fulfills our duty to uphold what is good and just in our country, and in our world. The kind of service that I’m sure all of you have modeled throughout your careers.
Public service can be incredibly rewarding. But it can be discouraging too. Sometimes, the challenges we face can just seem too big. Too daunting. Too complex. Too much for us to manage on our own.
That is why diplomacy is so important. Why diplomacy is so absolutely essential, as we work together to address the challenges that face our world today.
Diplomacy brings us together. It encourages us to share our own experiences as we seek to overcome our differences. To talk with one another to find a way forward. To work side-by-side as we seek to replace conflict with peace.
We all know that diplomacy takes time. It requires people from around the world to build relationships with one another. To devote themselves to making small contributions each and every day. Contributions that can eventually sustain ambitious courses of action on the international stage.
C.S. Lewis, a renowned British philosopher and author, once said, “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.” He was right. Effective multilateral actions are the result of small, incremental steps. To put his words into the context of diplomacy, “What saves a world is for a diplomat to take a step. Then another step. And then another step,” towards an international goal.
Thank you for the steps that you have taken, and will continue to take, during your time in Canada. I know that you will continue to serve your countries, and indeed our world, with honour and distinction.
Ambassador Kyaw Tin, I congratulate you on your more than 30 years of public service. I hope to learn more about your experiences, and the lessons you have no doubt learned over your career. I understand that you were posted in Ottawa once before, and trust that you will feel at home here again.
Canada is hopeful that the mutual accreditation of our Ambassadors will provide us with more opportunities to communicate our key interests and concerns. Canada looks forward to engaging with you on important issues of human rights, democratic development, and the rule of law during your tenure as Ambassador. These issues are of fundamental importance to Canada, both at home and abroad.
Ambassador Grubišić, I am certain that your experience in the private and public sectors will position you well as you begin your term in Canada. I am particularly interested in your work as a chemical engineer. My tenure at the University of Waterloo — an institution known for its excellence in engineering — has given me a profound respect for the contributions engineers can make in our world.
Canada and Croatia enjoy an excellent relationship. We appreciate what Croatia continues to do in NATO, and we look forward to your membership in the European Union. We value the many ways that our large Croatian community enriches our society, culture and economy. We look forward to strengthening our ties even more, as we work together on economic, security and human rights issues.
High Commissioner Sumbana, you must be commended for your many years of public service as well. I would like to learn more about your work in Mozambique’s Ministry of Education and Culture. As a lifelong student and educator, I can think of no worthier pursuit than that of educating our children.
Mozambique is a friend and ally of Canada’s. We remain committed to working with you to improve the economic and social well-being of the Mozambican people. We appreciate the contributions you have made to peacekeeping in Africa. Canada will continue to work in partnership with you to promote peace and stability throughout the African continent.
High Commissioner Andjaba, you have also had a long career in public service. I am certain that your work at the United Nations has given you a wealth of insight into how countries can work together to advance the multilateral issues of today. I sincerely hope you will have a chance to visit the Namibian Consulate in Waterloo. It is a wonderful city that showcases the rich heritage of that part of south-western Ontario.
Canada looks forward to deepening the good relationship we have with Namibia. We know that the many partnerships between Namibian and Canadian businesses are paying dividends for both of our countries. We are hoping to strengthen our commercial ties, and see our recent tax agreement as a solid step in the right direction. Just as I said to High Commissioner Sumbana, Canada appreciates the contributions that Namibia has made to peacekeeping in Africa. We will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in this regard.
So once again, it is my sincere pleasure to welcome all of you to Canada on behalf of all Canadians. My wife, Sharon, and I look forward to getting to know each one of you better.