His excellency the right honourable David Johnston, the 28th Governor General of Canada spoke at the Community Foundations of Canada National Conference this morning. He was a breath of fresh air, inspiring and made me proud to be Canadian. He spoke of his mennonite neighbours who have taught him the important and long-held tradition of barn raising. It really is about looking after and taking care of each other to the betterment of individuals, families, society and really the evolution of human interaction and connection.
He illustrated his ideas with stories about his mennonite neighbours, his grandchildren, and really humanized and grounded the concept of volunteering and philanthropy. He talked about wanting to help Canada continue to develop and has three key goals:
1) Help families and children
2) Foster innovation
3) Support volunteering and philanthropy
Canada turns 150 years old in 2017.
The Governor General wants us to work towards these goals and ask serious questions about what we want our communities to look like as we reach this milestone. I know I want them to reflect the values and presence that I witnessed in listening to him speak and as I got to greet him and shake his hand. What a privilege!
(Here is an official version of his speech, it does not include some of his personal stories and is an abbreviated version)
Naomi Tutu was the lunch time speaker today and she had a very clear message – We need voices – voices of courage (to speak up about the roots of poverty and to stand up and name racism)
President Bill Clinton also spoke at the Conference and here is an blog entry from CFC about his messages.