Meeting of the UNESCO Chairs of Canada and the 54th Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO in Victoria

The 54th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU), preceded by a meeting of the UNESCO Chairs of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, took place from June 5 to 7, 2014. The goal of this meeting of the UNESCO Chairs was, among other things, to contribute to the reflections about and the objectives of the AGM. The UNESCO Chairs and the CCU discussed the context of a new strategic plan for the CCU and UNESCO’s new strategy in the medium term.

Under the theme “Weaving Together the Aspiration of Canadians and UNESCO for the Common Good,” the AGM focused on this objective: show the mutually profitable relationship between Canada and UNESCO, and demonstrate concretely the value and pertinence of UNESCO to Canadians. Moreover, the AGM wished to provide a space to reflect on and discuss the collaboration between the various interested parties of the Commission and Aboriginal communities in the carrying out of UNESCO’s mandate in Canada.

The Meeting was a critical moment for those present to become aware of the diversity of Aboriginal culture in this country and the numerous challenges it faces. Jean-Pierre Simoneau, director of operations for the UNESCO Chair in Applied Research for Education in Prison, had been appointed to this mission, and he had the opportunity, during the two activities, to take pleasure in Aboriginal culture, which has a very strong presence in Victoria. This immersion enabled him, in particular, to discover the various facets and challenges Aboriginal communities have.

Bud Hall

Bud Hall

The UNESCO Chair in Applied Research for Education in Prison would like to thank the Canadian Commission for UNESCO for this invitation and the many activities organized, which made it possible to create awareness of the issues these cultures face. Particularly moving was the workshop hosted by Mr. Budd Hall and Ms. Lorna Williams, from the University of Victoria, which featured the challenges of constructing and deconstructing knowledge systems, and the preservation and revitalization of Aboriginal languages and cultures in Canada.


DanikasMichelle Stanton-Jean

Two other talks also held our attention, namely those by Ms. Michèle Stanton-Jean and Ms. Danika Billie Littlechild. Ms. Michèle Stanton-Jean’s presentation demonstrated how UNESCO “in the Canadian context [can] contribute to the weaving of a global network for the common good.” To read the transcription of Ms. Stanton-Jean’s talk, go to the UNESCO Chair website,, under the rubric News.

Ms. Danika Billie Littlechild is the first Aboriginal woman to be elected vice-president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. She was a member of the Youth Commission and is a legal counsel for the International Indian Treaty Council. Ms. Littlechild’s presentation focused on reciprocity, reconciliation, and participation in terms of the processes and decisions, as essential factors, needed to foster efficient and enriching relations between Aboriginal peoples, UNESCO, and Canada. Mr. Simoneau made the most of the situation by discussing those marginalized among those marginalized, specifically referring to the overrepresentation and overcrowding of Aboriginals in federal prisons in Western Canada. How are we to explain that Aboriginals have surpassed the non-Aboriginal population in prisons in Western Canada?

Being aware of the difficult living conditions is a first step in creating a rapprochement. The UNESCO Chair in Applied Research for Education in Prison invited Ms. Billie Littlechild to give information on education with the prospect of common collaboration. Furthermore, the UNESCO Chairs of Canada, including those of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), expressed their wish to support the creation of an Aboriginal UNESCO Chair.

For more information, visit the Canadian Commission for UNESCO website:


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