Why do certain federated states play a role on the international stage? A variety of university activities are being held this spring to answer this question. Québec, which has been active internationally for 40 years and has a network of government offices in 20 countries around the world, is often singled out as a model. In an interview broadcast by VRT, when asked about the new Flanders House in New York City, Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy pointed to the example of Québec’s network of government offices abroad, which exists alongside Canada’s network of embassies.
Maryse Gaudreault, member of the National Assembly for Hull and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, embarked on a mission to Haiti on May 20 where she will attend the third meeting of the joint committee for the Haitian governance enhancement project (PARGEP). The meeting will lead to the adoption of the 2009-2010 action plan.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, recently marked the 25th anniversary of the Québec/Wallonia-Brussels Youth Office (OQWBJ). The organization, which aims to develop relationships between young people in Québec, Wallonia and Brussels, offers logistical and financial support to more than 600 individuals every year completing international internships in the cultural, business and environmental sectors.
On behalf of Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Maryse Gaudreault, the Minister’s parliamentary assistant and member of the National Assembly for Hull, presented the 2009 Hector Fabre award to the University of Québec at Chicoutimi (UQAC) for a project involving the international provision of university programs. The award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize, was presented on May 15 during the meeting of the Union of Québec Municipalities (UMQ) in Gatineau.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, will be meeting with key political and economic stakeholders in Chicago on May 14 and 15, in line with the Government of Québec's new US strategy, which is currently being developed. This will be Mr. Arcand’s third visit south of the border and his first to the state of Illinois, Québec’s seventh largest trading partner in the US.
Seventy cooperation projects between Québec and Wallonia-Brussels will be launched over the next two years in the fields of culture, language, science and technology, the economy, education and vocational training. The projects were selected during the sixth meeting of the Commission mixte permanente Québec/Wallonie-Bruxelles (Québec/Wallonia-Brussels standing joint committee), held in Québec City from May 11 to 14.
Québec’s very own Ariane Moffatt has been awarded the 2009 Rapsat-Lelièvre prize for her third album, Tous les sens, featuring a skilful and wide-ranging blend of musical styles and sounds. The singer/songwriter will officially receive her prize in July during the Spa Francofolies in eastern Belgium, at which she will also perform. The ceremony will mark the 25th anniversary of the Rapsat-Lelièvre prize, which honours francophone songwriters in Wallonia-Brussels and Québec.
Only a few weeks after the conclusion of the fifth Summit of the Americas, key inter-American cooperation issues are back in the spotlight at the sixth International Summer School on the Americas, which will be held at Laval University from May 10-16. Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, spoke at the opening ceremony of the summer school, which is organized by the Inter-American Studies Center (ISC) in affiliation with the Institut québécois des hautes études internationales (HEI).
At the end of work meetings held in Montréal and Québec City on May 4 and 5, 2009, Michèle Sabban, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), and Alfred Pilon, President, CEO and Secretary General of Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec (LOJIQ), confirmed their commitment to forging direct, formal relations between the AER and LOJIQ conducive to the establishment of agreements favouring the sharing of expertise and joint participation in youth programs, including Eurodyssey and the Youth Summer School, and activities to promote sustainable development and youth citizen involvement.
On May 8, Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, took part in the signing ceremony for an agreement between Montréal International and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), under which WADA will keep its secretariat in Montréal until 2021. The document was signed on the WADA premises by John Fahey, WADA President, David Howman, WADA Director General, and André Gamache, President and CEO of Montréal International.
Strengthening economic ties between Québec and Japan topped the agenda at the meeting between Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, and Hiroaki Isobe, Japan’s new Consul General in Montréal, on April 30 in Québec City. During his first official visit to the capital, Mr. Isobe also met with Premier Jean Charest and several members of his government, as well as with other Québec political figures.
At the European Union–Canada Summit today in Prague, European Council President Mirek Topolanek, EU High Representative Javier Solana, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the start of free-trade negotiations leading up to an economic partnership agreement between Canada and the European Union.
On April 30, David Fetter, US Consul General in Québec City, unveiled a plaque commemorating the 175th anniversary of the US’s consular presence in Québec at a ceremony attended by Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie.
Exhibitors from around the world were in Brussels from April 28 to 30 to take part in the international European Seafood Exposition. The trade fair provides a unique opportunity to arrange for the export of Québec products and form business partnerships in Europe. It is also an ideal venue for comparing products and suppliers, learning about emerging trends and tasting new products before they reach the consumer market. Over 1,500 exhibitors from 87 countries participated.
Brussels, March 4, 2009 — SNC-Lavalin1 is pleased to announce that Belgium-based BV2, a key pharmaceutical and biotechnology engineering firm in the Benelux countries, is joining forces with SNC-Lavalin in Europe.2 With a workforce of 63 employees, BV2 is headquartered in Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Waver near Mechelen (north of Brussels).