New President and Vice President appointed to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO

June 06, 2018

The Canada Council for the Arts is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Liette Vasseur as President and Mireille Apollon as Vice-President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO). They will take up these roles in June and September 2018 respectively.

The announcement was made today by Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council, during the Commission’s Annual General Meeting. Since its creation in 1957, the CCUNESCO has been operating under the authority of the Canada Council for the Arts. An Executive Committee composed of representatives from civil society and government stakeholders oversees CCUNESCO’s activities and provides strategic guidance.

Simon Brault seizes the opportunity to thank Dr. Christina Cameron and Danika Billie Littlechild, the outgoing President and Vice-President, for their outstanding support over the past couple of years.

About Liette Vasseur

  • Dr. Liette Vasseur is coming to the CCUNESCO with a profound understanding of UNESCO and its key networks. She is renowned for her work in the natural sciences, which is one of UNESCO’s key areas of action.
  • Dr. Vasseur currently serves as a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock University, where she is also a member in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, one of the five transdisciplinary spaces at the university. Dr. Vasseur also holds the UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability: From Local to Global. Her research program is both interdisciplinary and international. She serves as a visiting scholar in sustainable agriculture at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in China; and in Ecuador, her work focuses on the sustainability of rural native communities.
  • Dr. Vasseur received a 2011 Latornell Pioneers Award from Conservation Ontario for her community-research work on climate change adaptation with the City of Greater Sudbury.
  • Until her appointment as President, Dr. Vasseur served as the Chairperson of CCUNESCO’s Sectoral Commission on Natural, Social and Human Sciences. She is recognized for being a strong advocate for women in science. She is also a living example of the Commission's desire to foster inter-network and inter-sectoral collaboration.

About Mireille Apollon

  • Mireille Apollon has an impressive community service track record, and a wide range of professional accomplishments in a diversity of fields. She has held positions with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and served the residents of Gatineau as a City Councillor, Acting Mayor, and Chair of the Commission for Arts, Culture, Humanities and Heritage.
  • Ms. Apollon has been actively involved in community organizations working with women, seniors and cultural communities. She served on the board of directors of ADialogue— which promotes dialogue with African Canadians—and she served as chair of the Association des femmes immigrantes de l’Outaouais.
  • Mireille Apollon holds a Bachelor of Pedagogy from Université Laval, as well as a master’s degree in Administration from the École nationale d’administration publique.
  • Ms. Apollon’s considerable skills and experiences will greatly benefit the Commission, especially when it comes to advancing the work of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination, and increasing the Commission’s ties with various cultural communities and groups.


“It gives us great pleasure to welcome Liette Vasseur as President and Mireille Apollon as Vice-President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. “Their broad knowledge and experience in such areas as the environment, culture, women and communities here and around the world will be a priceless asset to the Commission, an organization dedicated to building a society of peace, equity and shared knowledge. We wish them every success in their new roles.”

“It is a genuine honour to have been chosen as the new President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO,” said Liette Vasseur. “The Commission does remarkable work in ensuring that UNESCO’s activities have a real impact in Canada. I am thrilled to be working with the Secretary-General, the Commission staff and our many members, networks and partners to broaden the outreach of UNESCO’s values and priorities.”

“Throughout my career, including as a municipal councillor, I’ve seen the tremendous relevance of an organization like UNESCO that embodies values that need to be firmly upheld – values like intercultural dialogue and living together as a community,” said Ms. Apollon. “It will be a real pleasure to join a dedicated team that helps translate these values into concrete action in the field.”

Canadian Commission for UNESCO

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO connects Canadians with the work of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It aims to create a society in which Canadians share knowledge and learn from each other, locally and globally, in order to build peaceful, equitable and sustainable futures. It does so by supporting collective reflection, identifying priorities and facilitating concerted action in the fields of education, sciences, culture, communication and information to address some of the most complex challenges facing humanity. Recognizing that this mandate can only be fulfilled by engaging a broad range of partners, a spirit of cooperation is at the core of the Commission’s work.

Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national public arts funder. It champions and invests in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2016-17 the Council allocated $196.9 million dollars towards artistic creation and innovation through its grants, prizes and payments. The Council also conducts research, convene activities and work with partners to advance the sector and help embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. The Council is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.

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