2020 Symons Medallist:
The Honourable Bob Rae, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN)
Confederation Centre of the Arts awarded the Symons Medal to the Honourable Bob Rae, PC, CC, OOnt, QC on Friday, October 30.
The 2020 Symons Medal Ceremony and Lecture can be viewed via the Centre’s YouTube. Remarks of welcome were made by the Honourable Premier Dennis King and official response was delivered by the Honourable Roy Romanow, PC, OC, SOM, QC, former premier of Saskatchewan and current chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan. as per usual, the Medal Lecture was followed by a live question and answer component with viewers.
Hon. Rae’s lecture was entitled: Learning from The Past, Imagining the Future: Reflections from a Political Life. “I am delighted to be following so many distinguished Canadians as this year’s Symons Medal recipient,” stated Hon. Rae. “I have long admired Tom Symons’ vision and leadership and it is also wonderful to be associated with Confederation Centre of the Arts and my many friends in Charlottetown and Prince Edward Island.”
Throughout the video address, Hon. Rae explores themes around: Canada’s improbable origins as a nation; post-war emergence onto the global stage; active membership within the United Nations (U.N.); and the significance of the ever-evolving Canadian constitution—a “living tree document”.
Hon. Rae is the 2020 recipient in part for his many years of work on humanitarian issues, most recently the Rohingya Refugee crisis, as well as his time focusing on indigenous issues with Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, and his decades of public service and teaching. He has always been deeply involved in the political life of Canada including as MP, former premier of Ontario, and interim leader of the federal Liberal Party. While premier, he was involved in many of the initiatives for constitutional reform.
In July, Hon. Rae was appointed Canada’s ambassador to the U.N. by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues.