Speech: Canada’s Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston delivers an inspiring address on Knowledge Diplomacy at the official opening of the Global Centre for Pluralism

“Your Highness, establishing this centre in our capital city is a wonderful gift to Canada.

 

I often speak of the importance of knowledge diplomacy in our world, which I define as the process by which distinct peoples and cultures improve lives by sharing knowledge across borders and disciplines.

 

The Aga Khan is a wise practitioner of this brand of diplomacy.”

 

– The Governor General of Canada,

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

The world is my country /
The human race is my race

Those are the words of Canadian poet and lawyer F. R. Scott, from his great poem “Creed.”

I think those words capture something of the creed of this Global Centre for Pluralism.

The world is your country.

The human race is your race.

I’ve had the pleasure of hosting a number of you who serve on the Centre’s board at Rideau Hall several times during my mandate. And I’m inspired by what all of you are achieving here.

This centre is a beacon of internationalism and humanism. It shines brightly.

Thank you all, and a special thank you to His Highness the Aga Khan for showing such dedication to pluralism and to strengthening Canada’s commitment to and leadership of this critically important issue.

Your Highness, establishing this centre in our capital city is a wonderful gift to Canada.

I often speak of the importance of knowledge diplomacy in our world, which I define as the process by which distinct peoples and cultures improve lives by sharing knowledge across borders and disciplines.

The Aga Khan is a wise practitioner of this brand of diplomacy. He appreciates that the success of our increasingly interdependent world is based on people of many faiths, cultures and values expressing tolerance, openness and understanding towards others.

The depth of His Highness’ commitment to diplomacy and pluralism is profound. I know this from personal experience. We first met at another official opening, 36 years ago, in Karachi, Pakistan. The details may differ but the underlying theme is the same: diverse peoples working together to improve lives.

Back in those days, I was serving as principal of McGill, and I had the privilege of being present at the birth of a wonderful partnership between the Aga Khan University and a number of North American universities, including McGill.

This partnership saw renowned epidemiologist Walter Spitzer and his team working closely with their Pakistani counterparts to share McGill’s lessons learned in establishing a successful community medicine model.

Thanks to this collaboration, the new Aga Khan University Hospital was able to build on McGill’s experience in deploying public health services in the community.

I was and remain so impressed by the boldness of that initiative. The goal was ambitious: bring the best of Western medicine to a country with distinct customs and traditions.

This goal was only achieved by showing a great deal of cultural sensitivity.

In essence, this is the challenge of pluralism.

How do we ensure respect for diversity while sharing ideas and resources in order to improve our lives and societies?

Your mission at the Global Centre for Pluralism is to advance respect for diversity as a new global ethic and foundation for inclusive citizenship. And these headquarters are a place for learning and sharing the lessons of pluralism from a Canadian perspective.

I’d like to say a few words about the importance of that mission, as well as Canada’s unique opportunity to lead.

Read the complete speech at the source:

The Governor General of Canada | His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston | News | Speech | Official Opening of the Global Centre for Pluralism

 

All related

 

More…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s