Day two of the One Young World Summit 2016 once again started bright and early. Unlike the previous day, this time we made it up to breakfast on time and were able to eat without any issues. Then it was off to the Shaw Centre for another day of inspiring and thought-provoking sessions.
First up was: Queen’s Young Leaders: The Power of Collaboration. Unbeknownst to Alysha-Rae, Duncan and I, the guy we had met on our walk to the sessions yesterday morning, PJ Cole, was actually one of the speakers! It was really cool to see him up on stage and to hear him speak about his project Lifeline Nehemiah Project. He was joined by two other award winners: Safaath Ahmed Zahir (Women’s rights activist from the Maldives) and Gunjan Mhapankar (founder of The Digital Storytelling Project).
Then it was time for Transformation and Innovation in Latin America led by Barry Featherman (policy strategist) and featuring three former presidents: Vinicio Cerezo (Guatemala), Carlos Mesa (Bolivia) and Omar Torrijos (Panama).
The next session was Aboriginal Canada: The Peace & Reconciliation Process and was led by Senator Murray Sinclair. This was a topic close to my heart for several reasons: 1) I am Métis (a mix of Aboriginal and French ancestry), one of the three recognized Aboriginal groups of Canada; 2) I have family and friends who are First Nations and Métis and 3) my hometown, Winnipeg, has the largest urban aboriginal population in Canada. Listening to Senator Sinclair’s story and those of the Indigenous youth who joined him was both heartbreaking and inspiring.
This was followed by : Inequality and the Global Economy: Technology and the Path ahead. The speaker was Dambisa Moyo (international economist and author of Dead Aid). I had never heard of her before, but found her to be a really great speaker and the subject matter of income inequality to be such an important topic as the gap between the rich and the poor grows wider every day. I highly recommend listening to her speech in the video below.
The next session was Global Business – How can young employees help global business become a force for good? It was led by Ronan Dunne (former CEO of Telefonica & Next Group President of Verizon Wireless)
Next up: Learn, Act & Give Up chaired by Antoine de Saint-Affrique
Then it was time for none other than Cher and her session entitled: Preventing Pitiful Prisons #Freethewild. It was interesting to hear her speak, especially as while she spoke about her campaign to end the mistreatment of wild animals in captivity, she also spoke about Donald Trump (and called him an a**hole, which was amazing).
Unfortunately, Alysha-Rae, Duncan and I had to leave after this session as we had to walk to Parliament Hill to get ready for our external breakout session. This meant that we missed the last session of the day, Social Consciousness and Cinematic Storytelling, chaired by Jon Landau (Avatar and Titanic producer). I included the video of the session below.
So along with Pierre from IEC, we walked over to Parliament Hill and went through security and headed over to the room for our breakout session. We were the first ones there, so we had a quick lunch and got organized before all the delegates (including the Prime Minister’s Youth Council) arrived. Our session was called Immigration and International Mobility – Engaging and Empowering Youth and was being put on by International Experience Canada (the department that sponsored the three of us to attend the summit). Alysha-Rae and Duncan sat on the stage with John McCallum (former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and currently the Canadian Ambassador to China) as they were going to give speeches about their international experiences (I had opted out because I HATE public speaking).
After an introduction from Clark (the director of IEC) and Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth Affairs)) Alysha-Rae and Duncan went up and gave speeches about their experiences studying and working in Germany. Listening to them speak, I actually really regretted my decision not to give a speech. My work/study experiences were so completely different from theirs (having worked in Ireland and England and studied in Mexico) and I think it would’ve been nice to provide the delegates with a different experience. Next time I will participate, no matter how much I hate public speaking.
We then heard from Mr. McCallum, who I’d never heard of before but who turned out to be a really great speaker and I actually quite liked him. He was interesting, took very difficult questions from the delegates about immigration and refugees, about the pipeline approval and many other things. He answered everything with thoughtful and measured responses and when he felt he didn’t have enough time to properly address one question, he asked to speak to the delegate personally after the session. I was really impressed.
Once the session was over we got a tour of Parliament, which was really cool!
Then it was time to head back to the Marriott for dinner in the revolving restaurant. The dinner was pizza and salad with dessert being provided by individuals in the community. Each table was decorated by the community member with tablecloths and decorations brought from home, with a homemade dessert. You would then get to eat dinner with them and get to know them. We ended up at a table with a vegan chocolate cake, which was perfect since Alysha-Rae could finally eat something other than bread and salad, lol. And the vegan cake was DELICIOUS.
We had just sat down to eat when my name was called overhead, along with several others. I had no idea why, but when I went over I was told that I was supposed to be having dinner elsewhere (a “home dinner”) and that I had to leave right away. I was super unhappy about it because I didn’t want to go to some random person’s house for dinner and make awkward conversation, but I didn’t have a choice, so I said goodbye to the others and left with the new group.
It turns out I was pissed off for nothing because our “home dinner” ended up being at the CBC Ottawa studios (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)!!! It was actually really awesome. We got a tour of the studios; we got to be in the room during a live broadcast; we got to speak to anchorman Adrian Harewood, video journalist Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco and senior correspondent Terry Milewski (who had just retired) afterwards and see how the teleprompter works; we got to play with the green screen; we got a tour of a radio booth and met one of the radio hosts (whose name I can’t remember for the life of me) and we got to check out the production control room. We were also being filmed for the entirety of our tour, which was a little nerve-wracking, but the tour was super fun and I’m so glad I got to do it! We finished the tour with salad and pizza in a room upstairs, where we also did an on-screen interview.
Afterwards we were walked back to Parliament Hill, where we were going to be seeing a light show, but we had some time to kill (and it was cold and I was not dressed to be outside) so I walked back to the hotel with one of the guys from my CBC tour. After I changed I met up with Alysha-Rae and 2 guys she had met at her dinner and we headed back to Parliament Hill for the show. We heard from others who had also been to “home dinners” and some of them had gone to the Iraqi ambassador’s house where there was an amazing dinner spread and they got to learn how to write their names in Arabic. Kind of wish I could’ve done both, cause that one sounded really cool too!
The sound and light show has been happening since 1984 (I had no idea it had been going on for that long) albeit with different editions. The edition we saw, Northern Lights, is the 6th edition and is running every night between July-September from 2015-2019. Projected onto Parliament itself, it uses light, audio and video to introduce you to Canada’s history (or at least a small part of it). Check it out if you have a chance, it’s really interesting and cool and fun to watch.
From there we headed to a rooftop bar with some fellow Canadians from the summit. Alysha-Rae and I, plus one of the guys she had met at her dinner, Mukund, found the bar too expensive so we went off and had dinner and drinks at an Italian place nearby. We had a great time but had to cut the night short at 1am as we had another early start the next morning, the third and final day of the conference.
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