The president of the National Assembly of Québec and chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (APF), Yvon Vallières, recently bestowed the Ordre de la Pléiade on four individuals. The ceremony took place in the presence of participants attending the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CIDEC 2011).
La Pléiade, an order of la Francophonie dedicated to fostering cultural dialogue, seeks to recognize the efforts of individuals who have shown outstanding dedication to APF ideals, particularly in the areas of cooperation, solidarity, and democracy. The following individuals were honored:
His Excellency Mr. Abdou Diouf, secretary general of La Francophonie, received the rank of Grand Croix. He served in a variety of national functions in Sénégal beginning in the 1960s, following his graduation from La Sorbonne with degrees in public law and political science. He was prime minister from 1970 until 1980 and became president in 1981, succeeding Léopold Sédar Senghor. He has been secretary general of La Francophonie since 2003.
Writer Dany Laferrière was awarded the rank of commander. He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moved to Québec in the 1970s. Alongside his literary work, he has also pursued a career as a journalist and commentator. He has received a number of literary awards, including four for his most recent novel, L’énigme du retour, including the Prix Médicis.
Multidisciplinary artist Robert Lepage also received the rank of commander. Born in Québec City, he is known as a playwright, stage director, actor, and filmmaker. With his company, Ex Machina, he produced in 2008 the largest architectural projection in history, Le Moulin à images. He has also been internationally recognized for his work in opera since 1993. His work has been honored with over a hundred prizes and distinctions.
Professor Ivan Bernier was made an officer of the Ordre de la Pléiade. He received his doctorate from the London School of Economics and has spent most of his career at Université Laval (Québec, Canada). He is now a Laval professor emeritus specializing in international economic law, in which he is considered a leading authority, and has received numerous awards. He has released six full-length books and more than 50 publications, some jointly with other academics. Between 2002 and 2009, he published a series of studies on the diversity of cultural expressions. These studies can be accessed on the Government Secretariat for Cultural Diversity website.
The founder of Cirque du Soleil, M. Guy Laliberté, was also to be received into the Ordre de La Pléiade but was unable to attend. He will be honored at a future date.