Norman Bethune Sculpture Unveiling

May 30, 2014

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the University of Toronto, I join Dean Whiteside in offering our deepest gratitude to Mr. Zhang Bin and Mr. Niu Gensheng for their generous donation of this beautiful sculpture, as well as the Zhangbin-Niugensheng Bethune Bursaries and the Zhangbin-Niugensheng Bethune Award.

These gifts are wonderful tributes to Dr. Norman Bethune and to the longstanding friendship between the University of Toronto and China.

I extend special greetings also to the representatives from the Canadian, Chinese and Spanish governments who are here: Welcome to all of you; we are honoured and delighted that you have joined us. I am also delighted to welcome the members of the Bethune family who are here today.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Norman Bethune stands forever as one of our most famous alumni, and as an extraordinarily accomplished graduate of our Faculty of Medicine. World renowned in the history of humanitarianism, he served and continues to serve as a key bridge between Canada and China.

We at the University of Toronto are especially pleased that he remains a powerful link between our global community of scholars and alumni, and many of China’s leading institutions of advanced research and higher education. Our growing engagement with China includes joint research projects, faculty exchanges, postdoctoral fellowships, and student exchanges. And this remarkable sharing of ideas, knowledge, and people is delivering great benefits to the people of Canada and China and to our societies.

Ladies and gentlemen, the sculpture unveiled today will remind us of the brilliant example of Dr. Norman Bethune, and of the ideals to which we aspire, at the Faculty of Medicine and at the University as a whole. And it will serve as a tangible landmark, reflecting the shared history and friendship between China and the University of Toronto.

Now it is my privilege and pleasure to invite The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to address this gathering. A leading figure in Canada’s cultural life – whom we are very proud to count as a triple alumna of U of T – Madame Clarkson has built a magnificent career in journalism, broadcasting, the arts, and public service.

She is the author of five books, including a celebrated biography of Dr. Norman Bethune. From 1999 to 2005, she served with great distinction as Canada’s 26th Governor-General.

Since then, she and her husband, Dr. John Ralston Saul, have co-chaired the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, a national charity they founded to promote the inclusion of new citizens.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson.