Michaëlle Jean

The Right Honourable

Michaëlle Jean

Michaëlle Jean 1 11072007.jpg
3rd Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Preceded byAbdou Diouf
Succeeded byLouise Mushikiwabo (designate)
27th Governor General of Canada
In office
September 27, 2005 – October 1, 2010
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime Minister
Preceded byAdrienne Clarkson
Succeeded byDavid Johnston
Personal details
Born (1957-09-06) September 6, 1957 (age 61)
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Spouse(s)Jean-Daniel Lafond
Alma mater

Michaëlle Jean PC CC CMM COM CD FRCPSC(hon) (French pronunciation: ​[mika.ɛl ʒɑ̃]; born September 6, 1957) is a Canadian stateswoman and former journalist who is the third and current Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, after succeeding Abdou Diouf in January 2015; she is the first woman to hold the position. From 2005 to 2010, Jean was Governor General of Canada, the 27th since Canadian Confederation.

Jean was a refugee[1] from Haiti—coming to Canada in 1968—and was raised in the town of Thetford Mines, Quebec. After receiving a number of university degrees, Jean worked as a journalist and broadcaster for Radio-Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as well as undertaking charity work, mostly in the field of assisting victims of domestic violence. In 2005, she was appointed governor general by Queen Elizabeth II, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Paul Martin, to replace Adrienne Clarkson as vicereine and she occupied the post until succeeded by David Johnston in 2010. Early in her tenure, comments of hers recorded in some of the film works by her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, were construed as supporting Quebec sovereignty and her holding of dual citizenship caused doubt about her loyalties. But Jean denied separatist leanings, renounced her citizenship of France (acquired through her marriage), and eventually became a respected vicereine noted for her attention to the Canadian Forces, Aboriginal Canadians, and the arts, especially youth involvement in them. In 2010, Jean was appointed to a four-year term as the Special Envoy for Haiti for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.[2]

Michaëlle Jean was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on September 26, 2012,[3] giving her the accordant style of The Honourable; however, as a former Governor General of Canada, Jean is entitled to be styled for life with the superior form of The Right Honourable.

Early life and education

Jean's family hails from Haiti; she was born in Port-au-Prince, baptised at the Holy Trinity Cathedral,[4][5] and spent winters in that city and summers and weekends in Jacmel, her mother's hometown.[6] Though her father worked as principal and teacher for an elite Protestant private school in Port-au-Prince, Jean was educated at home, as her parents did not want her swearing allegiance to the then Haitian president, François Duvalier, as all Haitian schoolchildren were required to do.[7]

With her family, Jean fled Haiti to escape Duvalier's regime, under which Jean's father was arrested and tortured in 1965.[7] Jean's father left for Canada in 1967 and Jean, her mother, and sister, arrived the following year;[7] the family settled together at Thetford Mines, Quebec.[5][8] Jean's father, however, became increasingly distant and violent, and her parents' marriage eventually fell apart; she, with her mother and sister, then moved to a basement apartment in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood of Montreal.[7][9]

The Catholic University of Milan, where Jean studied languages and literature

Jean received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian and Hispanic languages and literature from the University of Montreal, and, from 1984 to 1986, taught Italian Studies there, while completing her Master of Arts degree in comparative literature. She then went on with language and literature studies at the University of Florence, the University of Perugia, and the Catholic University of Milan. Besides French and English, Jean is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and Haitian Creole, and can read Portuguese.[8][10]

Concurrent with her studies between 1979 and 1987, Jean coordinated a study on spousal abuse and worked at a women's shelter,[7] which paved the way for her establishment of a network of shelters for women and children across Canada. She also involved herself in organizations dedicated to assisting immigrants to Canada obtain the entry they desired, and later worked for Employment and Immigration Canada and at the Conseil des Communautés culturelles du Québec, where Jean began writing about the experiences of immigrant women.[8] She married French-born, Canadian filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, and the couple adopted as their daughter Marie-Éden, an orphaned child from Jacmel.[11] Through her marriage to Lafond, Jean has two stepdaughters.

Other Languages
العربية: ميكائيل جان
беларуская: Мікаэль Жан
Ελληνικά: Μικαέλ Ζαν
español: Michaëlle Jean
Esperanto: Michaëlle Jean
فارسی: میشل ژان
français: Michaëlle Jean
한국어: 미카엘 장
հայերեն: Միկաել Ժան
हिन्दी: मिशेल जीन
Bahasa Indonesia: Michaëlle Jean
italiano: Michaëlle Jean
עברית: מיקאל ז'אן
Kreyòl ayisyen: Michaëlle Jean
मैथिली: मिशेल जीन
монгол: Микаэл Жан
Nederlands: Michaëlle Jean
português: Michaëlle Jean
română: Michaëlle Jean
русский: Жан, Микаэль
Simple English: Michaëlle Jean
српски / srpski: Микаел Жан
Türkçe: Michaëlle Jean
українська: Мікаель Жан
Yorùbá: Michaëlle Jean
粵語: 莊美楷
中文: 庄美楷