New Award Honours Michaëlle Jean, Student Efforts in Emergency Relief

February 25, 2011 - News Release

A new international award inspired by the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean's outstanding leadership and commitment to emergency relief efforts was unveiled tonight by the University of Guelph and Universities Fighting World Hunger.

The Michaëlle Jean Emergency Hunger Relief Award honours the humanitarian work of the UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti and former governor general and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, especially her work in Haiti after the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake.

"I am delighted to lend my name to this award, which will support exceptional students who are acting as catalysts for change in global efforts to combat hunger in crisis situations,” said Madame Jean.

The award was announced during the sixth annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit being held at the University of Guelph this weekend. This is the first time the event has been held in Canada.

“Madame Jean continues to show incredible strength and vision while dealing with emergency relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee.

“Her dedication to improving the lives of people in Haiti is heartfelt, and it has touched and inspired people. We felt that there was no better way to recognize Canadian students who are working to better conditions for people around the world than to create an award that carries Madame Jean’s name.”

The new award will be presented annually to a student, from any country, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the fight against hunger in an emergency relief situation and who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people affected by natural disaster and war where there is an acute crisis of food supply.

The award is sponsored by U of G and Universities Fighting World Hunger, an alliance of higher-education institutions begun in 2004 along with the United Nations World Food Program. The partnership now involves more than 150 universities.

“We are proud to be part of this award honouring Madame Jean and recognizing the next generation of global change-makers,” said June Henton, founder of Universities Fighting World Hunger and dean of human sciences at Auburn University in Alabama.

“Our hope is that it motivates others to get involved in efforts aimed at providing emergency relief and fighting global hunger, and in educating others about how they can join the movement.”

The first award will be presented during the 2012 Universities Fighting World Hunger summit. Worth $1,500, the award must be used by recipients to learn about alleviating hunger during emergencies.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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