Proposal by La Fondation Aubin

There are two major components to this plan:

  • The Educational-Cultural part and

  • The Diplomatic-Commemorative part

I Educational-Cultural Component

Canadians need to recall this heroic figure and to reclaim him as one of theirs. Also, younger generations need to learn about his life and the relevance today of internationalists like him.

This component would consist of:

a)      Photographic exhibits from China, Spain and Canada;

b)      Books and films on Bethune and his times, in their original languages;

c)      Resource people: historians, writers, filmmakers, to stimulate and facilitate public discourse.

The exhibition would retrace the footsteps of Bethune when he travelled across Canada in 1937, educating Canadians about the struggles in Spain and China and raising funds for his projects in those countries.

II Diplomatic-Commemorative Component

The year-long educational component will give greater meaning to the international commemorative events for the 70th anniversary of Bethune’s death, November 12, 2009.

The commemorative ceremonies could be held simultaneously in all three capitals of the countries involved, as well as in other key cities like Montreal, Shanghai, Málaga, etc. Diplomats and local representatives from each country might journey to the other two for such events.

The message underlying all these events lies in the spirit of Bethune, that is, the urgent need for international engagement¾ the need to care for all human beings as intensely as we care for our own.