The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean once said Canadians are "encouraged to believe that everything is possible in this country." The former Governor General of Canada fled to Canada from Haiti with her family at age 11. She watched as her father - a victim of torture under the Duvalier regime - fell apart. She saw her mother work tough jobs to make the rent.
But Michaëlle found success through hard work: as a television and radio host, broadcaster, and activist. And, ultimately, Governor General. It was a role in which despite criticism from both sides - some said Michaëlle overstepped her role, others say she didn't step up enough - she certainly connected with Canadians - meeting them where they lived.
She found common cause with her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond - a celebrated documentary filmmaker and writer who's generated his own controversy due to comments some see as too sympathetic to separatists. Together, through the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, they're working to empower young people to use the arts to ignite positive change in their communities. It's a way to get kids on the margins, a place at the table. And since both Michaëlle and Jean-Daniel found their voices through creative expression they hope that that a new generation of young people will find theirs too.