Education in Canada Networking Reception
Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, April 27, 2012
Thank you for your warm greeting.
I am delighted be here to congratulate you on receiving scholarships through the Science Without Borders program, and to offer you an advance welcome to Canada!
A few days ago, I had the privilege of joining President Rousseff to announce Canada’s intention to welcome 12 000 scholarship recipients from Brazil. You are among that number, and I want to say on behalf of all Canadians how pleased we are to be your hosts.
Your time in Canada promises to be a remarkable journey of dialogue and discovery, during which you will study and work with some of the world’s brightest minds. Canadians have considerable expertise in a wide range of subjects, including science and technology, engineering and mathematics, and I am certain you will at once benefit from and strengthen our knowledge in so many ways.
I know this because people have been coming to Canada to learn and to grow for generations. In fact, together you represent the latest, exciting chapter in the development of our learning society.
Allow me explain what I mean by that.
Throughout our history, many people have come to Canada from abroad—by choice and by necessity—seeking to improve their lives and those of their children. And perhaps the single most important avenue of success has been accessible, quality education for all.
Learning is the foundation of Canadian society, and our inclusiveness strengthens our learning. For example, our approach to multiculturalism—which encourages people to integrate while also retaining their cultural heritage—means that most of the world’s languages are spoken in Canada.
That includes Portuguese, spoken by the many Brazilian-Canadians who make up our multicultural society.
This wonderful diversity—which is something we share in common with Brazil, likewise a multicultural country—is a distinct advantage in our learning. Every language provides us with another means of understanding. Every culture gives us another way of seeing the world and approaching the complex challenges of the 21st century.
It is an approach that lends itself well to partnership, which is why I am so optimistic about your time in Canada. The ability to work together—across borders and across disciplines—is the key to innovation today. Collaboration drives discovery, and this kind of partnership is the essence of the Science Without Borders program.
Now let me share with you some more specifics about what you can expect during your time in Canada.
I have already alluded to the warm welcome you will receive from Canadians. I also want to emphasize the diversity of perspectives within our student population, as well as the emphasis on critical thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship that distinguishes Canada’s education system.
Prior to becoming governor general, I spent much of my life in education, as a student, teacher and university administrator, and I can attest to the quality of the learning experience in Canada. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated teachers and mentors, who take such an interest in students and their studies. I have always been impressed by the high quality of teaching in Canadian institutions.
We are also very fortunate in Canada to enjoy safe and supportive environments in which to learn, both on and off campus. Any student knows this is a basic prerequisite of learning, and Canadian cities and institutions work hard to ensure safety and security for everyone.
For those of you who venture further off campus, you will encounter a country as large, varied and beautiful as your own. I truly hope each of you takes the opportunity to explore Canada during your stay—and that your families and friends come to visit too!
And finally, let me talk about one other subject of perpetual interest to Canadians, which you may have heard spoken of in relation to Canada: the weather. Canada is a northern country, blessed with four distinct seasons whose diversity mirrors that of our society. I encourage each of you to experience our natural environment in all its wonderful richness.
This is, after all, about learning.
You are about to embark on a journey of learning. Brazilians, like Canadians, recognize the critical value of education, and the role that scientific knowledge plays in building smart, innovative societies. That is why you are here today.
Together, you will form the partnerships and develop the expertise that is so necessary to furthering our knowledge today.
Each of you can play a role in building the smarter, more caring world of which we dream. I can think of few initiatives more likely to bring about that better world than international study abroad programs such as this one, with its promise of dialogue and discovery.
Along with all Canadians, I congratulate you on receiving this scholarship, and I look forward to seeing you in Canada.