TORONTO – Governor General Mary May Simon set out on her first international trip in that position on Sunday, heading to Germany to meet with officials, as well as attend the world’s largest trade book fair.
May Simon, who became Canada’s 30th Governor General in July, will visit Berlin and Frankfurt until Thursday, and represent Canada at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Canada is this year’s special guest.
“Canada and Germany are connected by both our diversity and our shared values. The Governor General’s state visit to Germany will reinforce Canada’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, climate and environment, women and youth empowerment, and reconciliation,” the Prime Minister said. Justin Trudeau said in a press release.
“Her Majesty’s participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair will be an opportunity to highlight and celebrate Canada’s cultural and literary works internationally.”
During the visit, May Simon will also meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and participate in a round table discussion at the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum about Arctic exploration.
In Berlin, May Simon will visit the Humboldt Forum, a museum of non-European art that houses several Canadian artifacts, including two indigenous totem poles from the West Coast.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest book fair to trade publication rights and licenses ranging from children’s books and novels to scientific databases. Each year, they select a country as the guest of honor, a role in which nations can promote their literature and culture at the fair.
Canada was originally planned to be the guest of honor at the 2020 Frankfurt book fair, but in light of the pandemic, it was extended to the 2021 fair.
The Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage created a program for this year’s book fair to encourage the purchase of translation rights to Canadian works for publication in German. It covers some of the costs for German publishers if they wish to translate and publish a Canadian literary work.
The program’s slogan is ‘Singular Pluralism’, inspired by the diversity of Canada.
“[It] Innovation in the creative industries, will focus on promoting women and youth and reconciliation with indigenous peoples,” the release stated.
May Simon will also attend the opening ceremony of the Book Fair as well as the opening ceremony of the Canada Pavilion.
Her first formal public appearance as governor general came a week before this international trip, when May Simon interviewed staff and volunteers to help deliver hot meals at a homeless shelter in Ottawa.
With files from the Canadian Press