Jean-Daniel Lafond, Senior Scholar
Jean-Daniel Lafond is appointed as a visiting Senior Scholar in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University. As part of his role as Senior Scholar, he is overseeing the Power of the Arts National Forum, a partnership between Carleton University and the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, to take place November 6-8, 2015.
M. Lafond is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation. As a prolific filmmaker and philosopher, his conviction that the arts and culture are “weapons of mass construction” drive the Foundation’s commitment to supporting youth initiatives that transform young lives and revitalize underprivileged communities.
Jean-Daniel Lafond was born in France at the end of the Second World War. At a very early age, he discovered his first passion – the theatre, cinema and writing – while attending school. He performed on stage on a regular basis until 1971, and again in June 2000.
After studying literature and philosophy, Mr. Lafond taught philosophy from 1966 to 1971, while pursuing research in communications, pedagogy, audio-visual training, the semiotics of imagery and the social role of cinema. He worked closely with the research branches of the Service de radiodiffusion télévision française, the Institut National de la Recherche Pédagogique and the Atelier de Création Radiophonique de Radio-France.
Between 1974 and 1979, he shared his time and work between France and Canada, where he became a visiting professor and researcher in education sciences at the University of Montreal. In the early 1980s, he left academia to dedicate himself entirely to filmmaking, radio and writing. At the National Film Board, he directed and produced several award winning documentary films. In addition to film, he has developed a body of original works for radio (for France-Culture and for Radio-Canada), has authored many books, and was a regular guest contributor on the radio program Indicatif Présent on Radio-Canada.
Mr. Lafond’s career has earned him several honors, including two Gemini Awards (Best Director, Best Picture), the prix Lumières (for all his work) of the Quebec Association of Directors, the TV5 for Best French-Language Documentary , and a Hot Docs Award in Toronto for best political film. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada (CC) and was elected in 2009 as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (RCA).
Mr. Lafond is married to the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean and they have a daughter, Marie-Eden.
Upon the installation of Mme Jean as 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, he directed his passion and ideas towards the institution of the governor general and to the Canadian people. There, he established Art Matters, a series of forums, providing exciting opportunities to bring together laureates, artists, academics, administrators and members of the public to observe and discuss the challenges related to culture in our society. Fifty such forums were held across Canada, in Europe, Brazil and Africa. He also created Citizen Voices, an innovative website, where citizens of Canada and around the world participated in a broad, very constructive dialogue on the place and power of the arts in society and in democratic life.