The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
Role and Responsibilities
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State Visit to Colombia

Governor General to Undertake State Visits to Chile and Colombia 

OTTAWA—At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will conduct State visits to the Republic of Chile, from November 29 to December 3; and the Republic of Colombia, from December 3 to 6, 2014

All timings indicated are in local time zone (Chile Summer Time – UTC/GMT -3 hours; and Colombia Time – UTC/GMT -5 hours). 


Bogotá, Colombia
Wednesday, December 3

Arrival in Bogotá
Upon arrival in the capital city, Their Excellencies will be greeted by Carmen Sylvain, Ambassador of Canada to Colombia, and by representatives of the Government of Colombia.
CATAM–El Dorado–Bogotá International Airport

12:40 p.m.
Official Welcoming Ceremony 
Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed by His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of the Republic of Colombia, and by the First Lady María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera. During the ceremony, the Governor General will receive military honours and inspect a guard of honour. 
Plaza de Armas, Casa de Nariño 

12:50 p.m.
Meeting with the President of the Republic of Colombia
The Governor General will meet with President Santos Calderón to discuss key areas of Colombian engagement with Canada. 
Protocol Room, Casa de Nariño 
PHOTO OP FOR POOL MEDIA ONLY–At the beginning of the meeting between the Governor General and the President 
MEDIA AVAILABILITY Following their meeting, from 1:45 p.m. to 2 p.m., the Governor General and the President will deliver statements and answer questions from members of the media.   

12:50 p.m.
Meeting with the First Lady of the Republic of Colombia
Her Excellency will meet with the First Lady María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera to learn about the strategic Early Childhood Program addressing vulnerable youth living in poverty. 
Casa de Nariño 

2 p.m.
State Luncheon Hosted by the President of the Republic of Colombia
Their Excellencies will take part in a luncheon hosted by President Santos Calderón, in honour of their State visit to the country. The Governor General and the President will deliver remarks on this occasion.
Bolivar Room, Casa de Nariño
OPEN TO POOL MEDIA ONLY–Remarks by the Governor General and the President 

Bogotá, Colombia
Thursday, December 4

8:30 a.m.
Discussion with Colombian Leaders on Peace and Reconciliation Initiatives
The Governor General will participate in a round table with Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá,  Humberto de la Calle Lombana, Chief Government Negotiator for talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Camilo Gonzalez, Director of the Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation, and key Colombian leaders involved in peace and reconciliation initiatives. The discussion will be followed by a tour of the Museum for Historical Memory, during which Their Excellencies will have the opportunity to meet with victims of the armed conflict. As a symbol of peace and in honour of his visit, the Governor General will plant a tree on the grounds of the Museum.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has contributed $34 million in support of Colombia’s flagship peacebuilding initiatives such as victims reparations, land restitution, humanitarian demining and demobilization verification. The Museum recounts the armed conflict between the Colombian government, paramilitary groups, crime syndicates and left-wing guerrillas (such as FARC), and the National Liberation Army, who have been fighting each other to increase their respective influence over Colombian territory. The armed conflict began in the 1960s. It is historically rooted in the conflict known as La Violencia, which was triggered by the assassination of populist political leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948, and in the aftermath of strong, United States-backed anti-communist repression in rural Colombia in the 1960s that led liberal and communist militants to reorganize into FARC.

Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation

10 a.m.
Inauguration of the New LaSalle College Campus and Round Table on Education

Their Excellencies, joined by Gina Parody, Minister of Education in Colombia, and Claude Marchand, President of LaSalle College International Education, will inaugurate the new LaSalle College campus in Bogotá, the only private Canadian educational institution with direct investment in Colombia. 

The inauguration will be followed by a round table on education with representatives from Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge and Colciencias. Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge is a campaign supported by the network of accredited universities of Colombia, the Ministry of Education and other strategic local allies to promote Colombia as a destination for academic and scientific collaboration. Colciencias, the Colombian National Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, promotes public policies to improve research and development in these areas of study in Colombia. 

The Minister of Education and the Governor General will deliver speeches on this occasion. His Excellency will conclude his visit with a tour of the new campus during which he will speak with alumni who have studied in Canada and who have initiated their own businesses after studying at the college in Bogotá. 

With an international network of 18 establishments, LaSalle College International Education Network has become the most widespread Canadian educational institution worldwide. The College offers diplomas based on course content and methods developed in Montréal, Canada. It ensures that its educational programs are developed with the same approach and matches its training parameters with the demands of the job market. For more information, visit
Bogotá Campus, LaSalle College

12:15 p.m.
Launch of Canadian Rural Development Initiatives in Colombia
Joined by Aurelio Iragorri, Minister of Agriculture in Colombia, Their Excellencies will attend the launch of three Canada-funded rural economic development projects. These initiatives, totalling $45 million in Canadian assistance, will help small-scale farmers in Colombia strengthen their cooperatives, increase their production, and facilitate their access to financing and new markets. Their Excellencies will visit kiosks presented by key Canadian rural economic development partners (International Development Research Centre, Cooperative Association, SOCODEVI, Développement International Desjardins, McGill University, and the National University of Colombia) and will speak with project beneficiaries. 

At 1 p.m., Their Excellencies will participate in a round table with key Canadian and Colombian partners on the subject of Canada’s contributions to rural development in Colombia.
El Chicó Museum

7 p.m.
Friends of Canada Reception
On the occasion of his visit to Bogotá, His Excellency will offer short remarks and present the Governor General’s Visit Medallions to individuals for their continued and exceptional service in promoting and enhancing the Canada-Colombia relationship.

Medellín, Colombia
Friday, December 5

11:15 a.m.
Visit to Handicap International by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will meet with Natalia Londoño, Head of Co-operation and Donations at Hospital San Vicente Foundation, and with senior staff of both the hospital and of Handicap International. They will provide insight on the use of anti-personnel landmines and mine action in Colombia. An adult who survived a landmine accident will talk about his experiences and the support he received from the government and from Handicap International towards his rehabilitation. Mrs. Johnston will then tour the hospital’s rehabilitation ward and speak with staff about the different aspects of the integral rehabilitation programs, including psychological support and economic reintegration. 

Canada has been a lead donor in mine action in Colombia since 2003, supporting mine risk education via UNICEF, victims’ assistance via Handicap International, and humanitarian demining (Global Peace and Security Fund/Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force) via the Organization of American States. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development supports the Assistance to Civilian Landmine Survivors project via Handicap International to help with the recovery and socio-economic reintegration of landmine survivors, especially children and youth.
Hospital San Vicente

11:15 a.m.
Discussion on Innovation and E-Training Session
The Governor General will be welcomed by Aníbal Gaviria, Mayor of Medellín, and Juan Camilo Quintero, Executive Director of Ruta-N. He will be given an overview on how the corporation encourages the development of innovative, technology-based businesses to increase the competitiveness of the city, revitalize the economy, and create better jobs for the citizens of Medellín. 

Following the presentation, students benefiting from the Ruta-N and Pipeline Studios partnership will demonstrate how they use e-training for their design and animation studies. In 2014, Pipeline Studios, a Canadian production company that provides 3D and 2D animation services for the television, feature-film and entertainment industries, began a partnership with Ruta-N to offer training to Colombian students. Part of this training is offered remotely through a web-based application assisted by a local professor. The Governor General will interact with students and learn how e-training has been an essential tool in their studies. 

Ruta-N is a corporation created by the city of Medellín to promote the development of innovative technology-based businesses. It is supported by public and private organizations, educational institutions and various science and technology organizations. For more information, visit
Ruta-N Complex

1:45 p.m.
Address at the Faculty of Mines of the National University of Antioquia
The Governor General will meet with John Willian Branch Bedoya, Dean of the Faculty of Mines in Medellín and Manizales, to discuss mining, public-private partnerships, and professional accreditation of Colombian students in Canada. 

Following the meeting, the Governor General will hear testimonials from two local miners who have transitioned from illegal to formal mining. He will then speak on the importance of the mining sector in both Canada and Colombia, and emphasize sustainable development and corporate social responsibility in both countries’ mining activities.

Colombia is the world’s tenth-largest producer and fourth-largest exporter of coal, with an annual production of 85.5 million tons in 2013. With over 40 active mining exploration and production firms, Canadian presence accounts for more than 60 per cent of Colombia’s mineral (hard rock) exploration market.
National University of Antioquia
PHOTO OP–Upon arrival and at the beginning of the meeting with the Dean of the Faculty of Mines
OPEN TO MEDIA–Testimonials from Colombian miners and the Governor General’s address 

2:45 p.m.
Meeting with ACJ-YMCA Medellín and Visit to Biblioteca San Javier by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will meet with Professor Orlando Sánchez, Director of Escuela Virtual, Alexandra Castrillón, Director of ACJ-YMCA Medellín, and Esperanza Monsalve, Director of International Programs at YMCA Greater Toronto. She will then proceed to a classroom where she will hear about the YMCA Medellin and YMCA Greater Toronto partnership. She will have the opportunity to meet with youths and their parents to learn more about Escuela Virtual’s computer literacy program and how it is creating cohesive family links, as well as keeping youth away from violence. Mrs. Johnston will also visit the Biblioteca San Javier, to speak with youth and community members who have benefited from ACJ-YMCA programs such as the Memory and Mental Health Program, which promotes interactions between youth and senior citizens as a way to reduce isolation, share experiences on violence and conflict, and promote healing. 

The YMCA of Greater Toronto has worked with ACJ-YMCA Medellín since 1992, to promote health, basic education and skills development for the youth of Comuna 13, an unplanned settlement in west Medellín. The Government of Canada has supported this work via funding for the YMCA Canada Investing in Youth Program and the International Youth Internship Program, which deploy Canadian youth to ACJ-YMCA Medellín on work internships.
Escuela Virtual and Biblioteca San Javier, Comuna 13

7:30 p.m.
Friends of Canada Reception
On the occasion of his visit in Medellín, His Excellency will offer short remarks and present the Governor General’s Visit Medallions to individuals for their continued and exceptional service in promoting and enhancing the Canada-Colombia relationship.

Medellín, Colombia
Saturday, December 6

11:15 a.m.
Visit to the Community of Granizal-Bello
With an estimated population of five million people, Colombia has the second-highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world. Since receiving its first IDP arrivals in 1995, the population of the Granizal-Bello community has grown to at least 18 000 people. Approximately 90 per cent are IDPs originating from all parts of Colombia. Violence and intimidation by armed groups, death threats, risk of kidnapping, landmines and illegal land seizures are the main causes of displacement. 

Their Excellencies will visit Granizal-Bello, one of the largest informal urban settlements in Colombia. Upon their arrival, they will be greeted by Carlos Muños, Mayor of Bello. They will proceed to Casa de los Derechos, where they will meet with community leaders and representatives to witness first-hand how this human rights centre offers a wide range of social protection services to IDPs. Their Excellencies will also engage with development partners, beneficiaries and local authorities at Fundación Cometa, a local organization that provides access to education and training. As a token of appreciation, Their Excellencies will donate fruit trees to the community. 

Since 2006, Canada’s bilateral development program had provided more than $137 million in support of child protection, access to education, human rights protection, rural economic development, youth employment and trade-related technical assistance.
Casa de los Derechos and Fundación Cometa, Granizal-Bello

2 p.m.
Official Departure from Colombia
Carmen Sylvain, Ambassador of Canada to Colombia, and representatives of the Government of Colombia will be in attendance for Their Excellencies’ departure.
Rio Negro International Airport

Members of the public can follow the Governor General’s State visits to the Republic of Chile and the Republic of Colombia online at, where speeches, photos and videos will be posted. 


This itinerary is subject to change without notice.
To obtain the latest updates, please visit

Media information:                                                 
Marie-Ève Létourneau                                              
Rideau Hall Press Office


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