Michaëlle Jean named Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie
Canadian statesperson and former journalist who served as 27th Governor General of Canada is the incoming Secretary-General of La Francophonie and is expected to take office January 1, 2015. She will be the third person and the first woman to hold the position.
The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), or less formally as La Francophonie is an international organization representing countries and regions where French is the first ("mother") or customary language; and/or where a significant proportion of the population are francophones (French speakers); and/or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture.
The organization comprises 57 member states and governments, three associate members and twenty observers.
Michaëlle Jean was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1968, fleeing the dictatorial regime of the time.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian and Hispanic languages and literature at the University of Montréal, she pursued her master’s studies in comparative literature and taught at the university’s Faculty of Italian Studies. Three scholarships allowed her to pursue her studies at the University of Perugia, the University of Florence, and the Catholic University of Milan. She is fluent in five languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish, Creole and fluently reads Portuguese.
The Michaëlle Jean Foundation (FMJF) supports youth arts initiatives that transform young lives and revitalize underserved communities across Canada.
During her studies, Ms. Jean worked for 10 years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later ventured into journalism and became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information programs at Radio-Canada and CBC Newsworld. She also took part in documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, including A State of Blackness: Aimé Césaire’s Way (La manière nègre ou Aimé Césaire, chemin faisant), Tropic North (Tropique Nord), Haiti in All Our Dreams (Haïti dans tous nos rêves), and Last Call for Cuba (L’heure de Cuba), all of which earned awards both in Canada and internationally. Read more