Remarks by
The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

Government House
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.

Fellow Manitobans, people of faith, builders of acceptance — welcome to Government House and this celebration of inter-religious understanding.

We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.

We have come together today to celebrate two individuals who have dedicated a great deal of their creative energy to making this land a place where the spirit of humanity can soar.

I have the great fortune each year to meet many Manitobans who work to make this province and this country better.

It seems appropriate that one of the very first events of each year is this ceremony for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Inter-religious Understanding.

It’s appropriate that this award comes first on the yearly calendar because before we can work together, before we can make progress, we need to be able to understand each other. We need to be able to see the many areas of common ground that exist amid the differences in our religious and cultural traditions and practices.

In their work as individuals and in the many projects they have undertaken together, Manju Lodha and Ray Dirks have dedicated themselves to helping us see that common ground in all of its beauty.

They have brought children and adults together to experience and create art that fosters appreciation of the many religious traditions that live side by side in our province.

Their work has inspired others to explore the many ways people around the world have found meaning, beauty and purpose in life.

The Greek philosopher Plutarch said nearly two thousand years ago that the purpose of education is not just to fill the mind as if it were an empty vessel, but to ignite it as if it were a fire.

The mental fires ignited by Manju’s and Ray’s work in schools, colleges, galleries and elsewhere will help to light our way in Manitoba and around the world for years to come.

Congratulations on this award and may you continue to illuminate our common humanity.

Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.