As a kid (and my whole life really), I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel. Initially, my parents work took them, and thus me, abroad so that, at a young age, I spent time in Europe (including a week behind the Iron Curtain before it fell) and America.
This international exposure at a young age was critical in my development. It got me interested in the world and there is no doubt that it prompted me to head to Queen’s (where I was told Foreign Service officers “went to school”) and it propelled me to pursue a Master’s in International Relations.
All this to say that bringing the world to Canada and to young Canadians in particular is a gift that cannot be undervalued. So I’m excited to note that the Global Youth Assembly is taking place in Edmonton this weekend. Young people from around the world (and many from Canada) will be getting together to talk about what matters to them.
For me, the opportunity for young Canadians to have the chance to meet people like Acii Ojok and Martiatu Kamara is invaluable. Acii, a human rights lawyer, fought as a soldier in Uganda. Mariatu in contrast was captured and her hands cut off in Sierra Leone at the age of 12. To be exposed to stories such as theirs is way to kindle an interest an care in the world, and to stir a sense of global citizenship that I think is found in many Canadians I admire the most.
Congrats to the Global Youth Assembly team. I hope you radicalize some young Canadians. In a world of myforeignpolicy.ca where individuals have a bigger and bigger impact in the international sphere, don’t underestimate what seeds may be planted.