The University of Ottawa formally recognizes Michaëlle Jean's commitment to youth

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2015

The University of Ottawa has announced that it will rename its student volunteer centre the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement in honour of the University's outgoing chancellor, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean.

Ms. Jean announced in April 2015 that she would be stepping down from the chancellorship at the University following her appointment as secretary-general of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).

Ms. Jean has had a profound influence not only on the institution itself but also on the many students she inspired every day. “We wanted to pay a fitting tribute to Ms. Jean, whose time as chancellor has been greatly characterized by her deep commitment to our students. Given that the purpose of this centre is to offer youth opportunities to become engaged in their community and develop a desire to help others, it seemed only natural to name it after our outgoing chancellor,” says University of Ottawa president, Allan Rock.

Throughout her career, the former governor general of Canada has been a vocal proponent of community engagement. Whether as chancellor of the University of Ottawa or the UNESCO special envoy for Haiti, Ms. Jean has consistently reinforced the same message—we must give youth the means to engage in their communities so that they develop the desire to work for the common good and build a better world.

“I'm honoured by the University's touching tribute. It's not without regret that I left my position as chancellor. But rest assured that the University of Ottawa will always hold a special place in my heart. And to see my name associated with such a centre, one that fosters community engagement as well as a connection and openness to the world, makes me extremely proud,” says Ms. Jean at a recent uOttawa ceremony in her honour.

The naming of the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement is also a way to highlight Ms. Jean's contribution to bolstering the University of Ottawa's reputation on the international stage in recent years. Her esteemed reputation has allowed her to contribute in concrete ways to raising the profile of the largest French-English bilingual university in the world, both at home and abroad. She has also been a catalyst for many partnerships and agreements between the University of Ottawa and numerous institutions of higher learning in the world's French-speaking countries.

The Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement, originally inaugurated in October 2011, is a one-stop shop for uOttawa students that provides information on volunteering and volunteer opportunities in the National Capital Region, across Canada and around the world. It also provides support to students looking to launch their own local initiatives.

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