Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond named Honorary Patrons of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games for Youth Arts and Creativity

Former governor general and husband renowned for work empowering young people across Canada
Jean speaking tonight at TO2015 headquarters in a salute to Games volunteers

TORONTO, May 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) is pleased to announce The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond as Honorary Patrons of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games for Youth Arts and Creativity.

Tonight, the former governor general and Jean-Daniel Lafond will address hundreds of Games volunteers as part of the TO2015 Volunteer Leadership Forum.

"Inspiring and engaging the next generation of leaders is central to the vision of the TORONTO 2015 Games, which is why we're so pleased to welcome Michaëlle Jean and her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond as Honorary Patrons," explained TO2105 Chief Executive Officer, Ian Troop. "Their leadership and experience will be invaluable in empowering youth and artists to forge a lasting social legacy from these Games and build relationships with their counterparts throughout the Pan American nations.

Through the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, Jean and Lafond will inspire youth and creators in Ontario and across Canada to be directly engaged with the Games by encouraging them to ignite the spirit of sport and culture embodied by the Games in their communities.

They will also work with the TO2015 Youth Advisory Council — composed of 34 ambassadors — as they plan the TO2015 Youth Summit, an international forum bringing together young people throughout Canada and the Americas, including the Caribbean, and plan and develop other Games-related opportunities for youth and communities in southern Ontario and nationwide.

"Young people have an unprecedented opportunity to use the arts, creativity and sport as tools to make the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games transformational for themselves and the nation," said Jean and Lafond. "That is why we look forward to working with young people, emerging creators and the TO2015 Youth Advisory Council as they chart a course for the Games, build bridges with their counterparts across the Americas and leave a lasting legacy of change in their communities."

"We are delighted that Mme. Jean and Mr. Lafond have agreed to act in this capacity and are sure they will inspire the young people on the Council to engage in outstanding social, cultural and community development," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "We are proud to see these young people participating in a sporting event of this scope and contributing to a lasting legacy for our society."

"The members of the Youth Advisory Council have visionaries in Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond who together, will inspire young Games volunteers," said Michael Chan, Ontario Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.  "Ontario's support of the People's Games is creating important social legacies, including a force of volunteers and energized young people who will be active in our communities for years to come."

About the Honorary Patrons
During her mandate as the 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Jean served as the honorary patron of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce and officially opened the Games. She also worked with her husband, a well-known filmmaker and philosopher, to help gather 700 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth at the Games to raise awareness about the power of sport and arts as tools for social change.

As co-founders and co-chairs of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, Jean and Lafond continue their work with young people by supporting youth initiatives that transform young lives and revitalize underserved communities across Canada.

The Foundation is now offering up to $10,000 bursaries to underserved youth, supporting youth engagement projects in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, and it will be hosting Canada's inaugural Power of the Arts Forum: Advancing Social Change on September 27-29, 2013, at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Jean is currently the UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti and Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. Lafond is a Senior Scholar at the University of Carleton's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. For more information about the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, please visit www.fmjf.ca.

About the TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games
The Pan American and Parapan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and 28 member nations of the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC).  The Pan American Games are comprised of all Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports, while the Parapan American Games are comprised of the majority of Paralympic Summer Games sports. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games will draw more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and team officials and feature 51 sports in municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14. For more information about the Games, please visit toronto2015.org.

SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

For further information:

Teddy Katz
Director, Media Relations and Chief Spokesperson
C: 647.404.5263

Peter Flegel
Director of Communications and Programs
Michaëlle Jean Foundation
C: 613.897.4001

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Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

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