2012 Lieutenant-Governor's Dialogue Award Recipients
September 21, 2012
(FREDERICTON) – The 2012 Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award were presented today at a ceremony in Fredericton. The recipients of the annual honour were: Experience Bathurst, Mr. Bernard Richard and Robert Whalen.
Speaking to guests at Old Government House, the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, said: “These three recipients promote both of our official languages – not in a heavy-handed way, but with tolerance and compassion to further the understanding of cultures and traditions we share.”
Established in 2003, the Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award is given out annually by Dialogue New Brunswick (DNB) – a provincial, non-profit organization that promotes understanding, respect and appreciation between English-speaking and French-speaking citizens of the province.
According to DNB’s executive director, Carole Fournier, recipients are selected by a jury. “There are many deserving people in this province – many who devote their time and energy to the cause of linguistic and cultural harmony and understanding. This year’s recipients follow in the tradition and lead in their commitment to these principles.”
In addition to the Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award, Dialogue New Brunswick organizes and operates the following annual initiatives: The My Friend-Mon ami(e) Pen-pal Program for school-age children, and Friends Meeting Friends! which provides opportunities for New Brunswick’s English-speaking and French-speaking children to directly experience each other’s cultural and linguistic richness and distinctiveness.
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2012 LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR’S DIALOGUE AWARD RECIPIENTS
Honourable Graydon Nicholas Lieutenant-Gouvernor, Monique Boudreau and Meredith Caissie from Experience Bathurst, Paul-Émile Chiasson Co-Chair of Dialogue Nouveau-Brunswick and Jennifer Whitehead Co-Chair of Dialogue Nouveau-Brunswick.
A unique and successful experiment in community development and tourism marketing, Experience Bathurst promotes all that the Bathurst region has to offer in a series 59 videos that convey authentic experiences, available and accessible, in a bilingual culture of mutual respect and linguistic harmony.
The project plays important roles – culturally, linguistically, economically – in fostering community development. Each video promotes an activity, an operator, or an experience that can be found in the Bathurst region and presents the information in both official languages in an entertaining way. Operators also use them to promote what they offer and to help train their staff.
As Experience Bathurst organizers say, “The videos serve as a subtle, yet effective, indicator that there is mutual linguistic respect among the people of this region, and an appreciation for the unique offerings each language presents. They are a positive weekly reminder that linguistic duality is thriving here, and we are extremely proud of the movement the project has created.”
Jennifer Whitehead Co-Chair of Dialogue Nouveau-Brunswick, Honourable Graydon Nicholas Lieutenant-Gouvernor, Mr. Bernard Richard and Paul-Émile Chiasson Co-Chair of Dialogue Nouveau-Brunswick.
As a member of numerous organizations committed to improving the conditions under which families and individuals survive in New Brunswick, Canada and abroad, Bernard Richard continues to be a tireless champion of cultural and linguistic diversity. A lawyer and former social worker, he is Chair of the Board of Directors of Plan Canada, which supports children in Third World countries, and Chair of a Working Group on children’s rights in Francophone countries.
Mr. Richard also served as a member of New Brunswick’s Legislative Assembly in roles as diverse as: Minister of State for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs; Acting Minister of Justice and Attorney General; Minister of Education and minister responsible for social policy renewal.
Between 2004 and 2011, he was New Brunswick Ombudsman and the province’s first Child and Youth Advocate. In these capacities he oversaw right-to-information and privacy issues and published numerous reports pertaining to youth mental health, First Nations child welfare and youth criminal justice system.
In January, Mr. Richard was appointed a Trudeau Foundation mentor for 2012. He is currently working with the Haiti Ombudsman to enhance the legal framework and independent oversight for children’s rights and child protection in that country.
Professor Robert Whalen
Jennifer Whitehead Co-Chair of Dialogue Nouveau-Brunswick, Paul-Émile Chiasson Co-Chair of Dialogue Nouveau-Brunswick, Honourable Graydon Nicholas Lieutenant-Gouvernor and Professor Robert Whalen.
As an academic, educator, author and community organizer, Robert Whalen has inspired a generation of French- and English-speaking New Brunswickers. Born in Boiestown, and educated in Fredericton at the University of New Brunswick and, subsequently, in Paris at the Sorbonne, where he pursued graduate studies in the French language and literature.
Mr. Whalen was an early promoter and driving force behind the English Language Program (ELP), established at UNB in 1950. Now in its 62nd year, ELP specializes in English second language instruction to students from around the world, though it continues to attract most of its students from the Province of Quebec.
Within learned societies and other professional circles across Canada, he was a forceful advocate of Acadian and French Canadian literature, stimulating dialogue among experts within English language and French language university centres. In the mid-1960s, he served as a contributing researcher with the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.
As one of his supporters eloquently testifies, “In his tireless and inspired life-long devotion to bridging the gap between our ʻtwo solitudesʼ, Professor Whalen clearly embodies an honorable citizen, one who exemplifies unwavering service, leadership and commitment to both his province and his country.”