Pluralism and the Pandemic

“We Are in This Together”:
How Our Shared Fragility Reminds Us of Our Shared Humanity

Interview with The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

Publication Date: July 2020

Author: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

Illustration by Brandon Serbec

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson arrived in Canada from Hong Kong as a refugee in 1942 and made the astonishing journey from penniless child refugee to accomplished broadcaster, journalist, and distinguished public servant in a multi-faceted lifetime. Madame Clarkson is the bestselling author of the 2014 CBC Massey Lectures Belonging: The Paradox of CitizenshipRoom for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and TransformationHeart Matters: A Memoir, and a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian hero of the Chinese people. 

Madame Clarkson was Canada’s 26th Governor General from 1999-2005. When she left Rideau Hall, she co-founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship which helps new citizens to feel involved and included in Canadian life. The ICC hosts annual 6 Degrees events — a global forum on citizenship, immigration, inclusion, and diversity in the 21st century – across many cities including Toronto, Mexico City, Berlin, Montreal and Calgary. 

She was interviewed by Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General for the Global Centre for Pluralism on June 23, 2020.  

In this wide-ranging interview, MadamClarkson reflects on the fragility of our societies that has been exposed by COVID-19the changing nature of media and journalism, and how far Canada has come since she arrived as a child refugee.