Michaëlle Jean, a former governor-general of Canada and chancellor of the University of Ottawa, has been named the first Canadian and the first woman to lead the Francophonie, an association of countries where French is a national language or is widely spoken.
Canadian media reported that Jean was supported actively for the position by Prime Minister Stephen Harper (an Anglophone), who viewed it as a way to enhance the country’s international image. Canada is the second-highest contributor to the group’s budget.
Jean, who was a journalist in her early career, also served as Unesco’s representative in Canada. She was born in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, in 1957 and moved with her family to Quebec in 1968. Her candidacy for the position of secretary–general of la Francophonie overcame competition from rivals in France and in Lebanon, according to UNforum, a monthly blog published by Samir Sanbar, a former United Nations under secretary-general for information.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, an Egyptian educated in France who now lives in Paris, led the French-speaking organization after retiring as UN secretary-general in 1997.
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Dulcie Leimbach is a co-founder, with Barbara Crossette, of PassBlue. For PassBlue and other publications, Leimbach has reported from New York and overseas from West Africa (Burkina Faso and Mali) and from Europe (Scotland, Sicily, Vienna, Budapest, Kyiv, Armenia, Iceland and The Hague). She has provided commentary on the UN for BBC World Radio, ARD German TV and Radio, NHK’s English channel, Background Briefing with Ian Masters/KPFK Radio in Los Angeles and the Foreign Press Association.
Previously, she was an editor for the Coalition for the UN Convention Against Corruption; from 2008 to 2011, she was the publications director of the United Nations Association of the USA. Before UNA, Leimbach was an editor at The New York Times for more than 20 years, editing and writing for most sections of the paper, including the Magazine, Book Review and Op-Ed. She began her reporting career in small-town papers in San Diego, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., graduating to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and then working at The Times. Leimbach has been a fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies as well as at Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; taught news reporting at Hofstra University; and guest-lectured at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Journalism School. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has an M.F.A. in writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.