Born in Hong Kong in 1939, Madame Clarkson came to Canada as a refugee with her family, during the war in 1942. She received her early education in the Ottawa public school system and later obtained an Honours B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto. She also did post-graduate work at the Sorbonne in France. Madame Clarkson is fluently bilingual.|
A leading figure in Canada's cultural life, Madame Clarkson has had a rich and distinguished career in broadcasting, journalism, the arts and the public service. From 1982 to 1987, Madame Clarkson served as the first agent-general for Ontario in Paris, promoting Ontario's business and cultural interests in France, Italy and Spain. She was the president and publisher of McClelland & Stewart from 1987 to 1988. From 1965 to 1982, Madame Clarkson worked as host, writer and producer of several influential programs on CBC Television, including "Take Thirty", "Adrienne at Large" and "the fifth estate". A noted writer, she also contributed numerous articles to major newspapers and magazines in Canada and wrote three books. In 1988, she assumed responsibilities as executive producer, host and writer for the programs "Adrienne Clarkson's Summer Festival" and "Adrienne Clarkson Presents" for a period of 11 years. She also wrote and directed several films. Her work in television has garnered her dozens of TV awards in Canada and in the United States.
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At the time of her becoming Governor General, Madame Clarkson served as chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, as well as president of the executive board of IMZ, the international audio-visual association of music, dance and cultural programmers, based in Vienna. She was also the executive producer and host of the CBC Television program, "Something Special", a lay bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, as well as honorary patron of a number of artistic and charitable organizations. She has received honorary doctorates and academic distinctions from a number of Canadian universities.
Madame Clarkson has received numerous prestigious awards both in Canada and abroad in recognition for her outstanding contribution in professional and charitable endeavours, including being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992.
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Adrienne Clarkson in 2012
Since leaving office, Madame Clarkson has been involved in numerous initiatives, including founding the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, serving on the advisory council of the Man Asian Literary Prize, being the Honourary Chair of the Bridgepoint Health Foundation, being Honourary Patron of Young Imaginations, and being Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
SOURCE: Governor General of Canada.