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Book launch: The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson's Room for All of Us

October 17, 2011 | Institute for Canadian Citizenship

adrienneclarkson rathikasitsabaiesan"When people come to Canada and are transformed,” says the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, “we as the country that welcomes them are also transformed. That is the transactional quality of Canadian life.” This transactional quality – of changing and being changed by the immigrant experience – lies at the heart of Clarkson’s new book, Room for All of Us.

More than one hundred people joined Clarkson, a former Governor General of Canada, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat on Monday, October 17, 2011 for a book launch co-hosted by the Global Centre for Pluralism in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). The Global Centre for Pluralism is located at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat pending renovation of its heritage facility at 330 Sussex Drive.

Secretary-General John McNee welcomed Madame Clarkson and guests – who included Chief Justice of Canada the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin and members of the Ottawa diplomatic corps – to the Centre’s inaugural event. Taking inspiration from the Canadian experience, the Global Centre for Pluralism seeks to help societies around the world embrace pluralism – both as a way to avoid conflict and as a means to harness the power of human diversity in solving local and global problems. The Secretary-General acknowledged the Government of Canada’s critical support as a founding partner.

In her remarks, ICC Executive Director Gillian Hewitt-Smith highlighted the ICC’s innovative programs for newcomers, including its very successful citizenship ceremonies and Cultural Access pass. The ICC was founded and is co-chaired by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul.

Enthusiastic applause greeted Madame Clarkson’s arrival at the podium. Room for All of Us originates,  she explained, from a desire to show that her personal journey from refugee to Governor General of Canada, although extraordinary, is by no means exceptional. In Room for All of Us, she tells the stories of ten “extraordinary people” who arrived in Canada, like her own family, as refugees from the press of world events – including the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Ugandan expulsion of Asians, and the oppression of political opponents by Chile’s Pinochet regime. Together, their stories form a tale of many destinies written with humour, insight, and personal revelation. Room for All of Us is published by Penguin Group (Canada).

Madame Clarkson is a member of the Global Centre for Pluralism’s Board of Directors and chairs its Executive Committee.

Secretary General John McNee sat down with Madame Clarkson to discuss her new book and the dimensions and importance of pluralism.

Watch the videos:

Would Canada be a different place without some of           How did pride in diversity  
the individuals profiled in "Room for All of Us" ?                  become central to Canadian identity? 


Human migration is reshaping virtually every society
around the world as people move from villages to
cities and accross international borders. The process
of integration is not always peaceful.
What difference would pluralism make?


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