By Kristen Shane
Governor General Michaëlle Jean last week gave journalism professor and former Glammis resident Allan Thompson a medal to recognize his work to help rebuild the media sector and work toward freedom of the press in
Thompson grew up in Glammis and cut his teeth as a reporter with The Kincardine Independent. He later worked for The Toronto Star and is now an associate professor of journalism at
He has edited a book about the media’s involvement in the 1994 genocide, in which more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. He is also the co-director of the Rwanda Initiative, which, since 2006, has taken more than 125 journalism students and seasoned journalists to
Jean presented Thompson with a medal of honour at a ceremony in
Journalism professor and former Glammis resident Allan Thompson receives a medal of honour from Governor General Michaëlle Jean last week in Kigali, Rwanda, during her state visit to the country. (photo courtesy Allan Thompson).
“It was so important for someone of the Governor General’s stature to come to
“Allan Thompson has proven to be a wonderful ambassador of free speech in
The day before receiving the medal, Thompson took part in a panel discussion on the media’s role in a democracy that Jean hosted at a Rwandan university.
Jean’s office and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade invited Thompson to
He almost didn’t make it. Thompson’s mom Eleanor later recalled how her son had to rearrange his typical flight path to
When he’s not on the move, Thompson lives with his family in
He still maintains many family ties in the Kincardine area, including two brothers Gord and Tom, sister Nancy (Alexander) and parents Eleanor and Ron.
“It never ceases to amaze us what he does and what he accomplishes,” said Eleanor last week, after receiving a voicemail message and e-mail from her son about his time with the Governor General.
“He has energy to no end. I don’t know where he gets it,” she said.
Thompson’s passion for helping Rwanda stems partly from his admitted lack of attention to the genocide while it was unfolding during his time as a reporter with The Star.
He later visited the country and saw the need, said Eleanor.
“We’re very proud of him” she said.
She hopes to see her son come home this summer for a Thompson family reunion he’s helping to organize.