What makes you feel like you belong?
“…we are most fully human, most truly ourselves, most authentically individual, when we commit to the community.”
-- The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
On Wednesday, May 25, the University of Waterloo in partnership with House of Friendship and The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, brought The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to campus to talk about the importance of belonging. Expanding on her highly successful 2014 CBC Massey Lectures Tour and her recent book, Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship, Mme. Clarkson captivated close to 500 community members about the need for diversity, community capacity, and contribution in today’s society.
Arriving in Canada with her family in 1941 as a refugee, Mme. Clarkson is a Hong Kong-born Canadian journalist, politician, and stateswoman. After receiving a number of university degrees, and spending time working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), she was appointed as the 26th Governor General of Canada by Queen Elizabeth II, making her the first visible minority (Chinese-Canadian) and second woman to ever hold the position. Mme. Clarkson has subsequently published her memoirs, founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, and became Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
Touching on her personal experiences with immigration and belonging, and bringing her background in Canadian theory and culture to the forefront of her talk, Mme. Clarkson spoke eloquently about the various ways an individual can feel like they belong:
“In other words, when we belong together, we are more than we could possibly be alone.”
Followed by an engaging question and answer period, members of our Waterloo community inquired about the role of public education and the private sector, and how they can help to amplify ongoing volunteerism and philanthropy efforts:
“I believe that a public education is the single most valuable institution that our society provides to help people belong.”
Through collaboration with local partners, the University of Waterloo was proud to provide our community with an opportunity to hear from The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson. By sharing her insight on community, diversity, and inclusion, regional residents explored what it means to belong. Whether it’s joining a sports team, signing up to volunteer, or simply smiling at someone on the street, building a sense of belonging is integral to the overall health, well-being, and success of any community.
To purchase a copy of Adrienne Clarkson's book, please visit the Bookstore.