Conversations with The Honourable Landon Pearson O.C.

Part 1 of a 4 Part Interview Series

Meeting with Landon Pearson on a bright sunny morning in May was both a pleasure and a privilege. I had not seen or talked with Landon in a number of years, but from our first embrace until I departed a few hours later it was as if no time had passed at all.

Landon spoke with such ease and wisdom as she discussed what it means to her to be a Canadian, a long-time advocate for the rights and well-being of children and a former Senator where she served in the Senate of Canada from 1994 to 2005. It was in this position that she became well-known as the Children’s Senator.

Landon’s work involving children is extensive. In May 1996, Senator Pearson was named Advisor on Children’s Rights to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  In 1998 she became the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister to the 2002 United Nations Special Session on Children. She then coordinated Canada’s response to the Special Session entitled A Canada Fit for Children.

Today, she continues her advocacy role for children through the Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights that has been established in her name. The Landon Pearson Resource Centre is devoted to promoting the rights of children and youth through disseminating knowledge about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, mentoring students, sponsoring youth participation in a variety of settings, organizing lectures and seminars and coordinating a growing network of child rights scholars across Canada. 

As the wife of a Canadian diplomat, she raised their five children in five countries and learned first-hand about the challenges confronting the world’s children. She also learned to listen to her own children. The theme of the importance of listening to children was paramount during our time together. Landon spoke of the need to acknowledge and affirm the voice and messages coming from our children. She also discussed the need to continually stay connected with family and friends. To Landon, building a community that centers around strong cultural and family values is the essence of being and one that she hopes to have instilled in her own children and grandchildren.

As I left Landon Pearson’s place that morning in May, I could not help but reflect upon the fact that I had spent several hours in the presence of a living legend. Landon is a remarkable person who has made a difference in so many lives and continues to make a difference every single day with the many people that she comes in to contact with. I know my life was touched in a positive way through Landon’s discerning and wise words. I know yours will be as well as you listen to Conversations with Landon Pearson in Part I of a three-part interview series featured in the August, September and October editions of Just Saying. Landon openly talks about the significance of being a Canadian, a national and international advocate for children’s rights and an active member of national and international organizations concerned with children.

Part I of the series is featured in this edition of Just Saying magazine.