‘Advancing Democracy and the Arts’ – June 8, 2022
EngageParlDiplo, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada, hosted its first in-person networking event since the start of the pandemic for Members of Parliament, Senators, Ambassadors, and political thought leaders. A partnership between the Parliamentary Centre and Carleton University, EngageParlDiplo works to increase the knowledge of parliamentarians and diplomats about political and public policy issues facing Canada and the world. The event was a memorable evening of reflection, discussion, and appreciation of the arts. More than 100 guests registered, including dozens of MPs, diplomats and Senators.
The doors opened at 5:30 pm, and the conversations began to flow naturally as the National Gallery atrium quickly filled, overlooking a beautiful setting of the afternoon sun on the Hill. At 6:00 pm, the opening remarks were given by Serge Belet, the Senior Advisor of Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives for the National Gallery of Canada, to introduce Elder Smith St-Georges, who then began with warm openings which set a precedent for the evening.
Maureen Boyd, chair of the Parliamentary Centre and the founder of EngageParlDiplo, MC’d the night with speeches from Elder Smith St-Georges, the Parliamentary Centre’s CEO Tom Cormier and Serge Belet.
Tom Cormier reflected on the power of art and the opportunity Canada has in increasing support for democracy internationally. He was then followed by Serge Belet, speaking on behalf of Sasha Suda, who made the final remarks of the evening.
After the remarks concluded, guests had the opportunity to engage with their fellow invitees in the spectacular setting of the Gallery’s atrium. Another unique feature of the event was the chance for guests to take self-guided tours of the National Gallery of Canada’s newest exhibitions, ‘Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons’ and ‘General Idea’. The exhibitions offered incredible perspectives within the international Impressionist movement, as illustrated by Canadian artists.