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Youth head to G8 and G20

By in News

Devin Heroux has represented Canada in Brazil, Australia, Panama, Costa Rica and Malaysia, and now he hopes to pass the job onto the next generation of youth.

The 23-year-old is nearing the end of his run with Global Vision Junior Team Canada, a program for 16 to 25-year-olds that holds workshops and sends youth on trade and development missions.

“I think it’s time to let other great Saskatchewan youth carry the torch because my song and dance is running out with the program,” he said.

On March 25 and 26, a Global Vision Junior Team Canada workshop will be in Saskatoon looking for representatives to attend the G8 and G20 summits this summer.

For $25, workshop delegates will get two days’ worth of speeches and workshops, three meals and a room for the night. Not a bad price considering some of the delegates will also be chosen to attend the two international summits.

“Its basically like buying a ticket into a lottery to be picked to represent your country,” said Heroux, who is also the Global Vision liaison for Saskatoon (as well as a former Sheaf editor).

Many have heard of the G8 — an informal meeting of representatives from Canada, the U.S., Japan, Italy, France, Russia, Germany and the U.K. — but in future years, the G20 (The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors) will take precedence over the G8.

The meetings are created as a way for countries to co-operate on matters related to the international financial system. This year, the G8 is taking place in Huntsville, Ont., on June 25 and 26, while the G20 is in Toronto on June 26 and 27, and in Seoul, Korea, on Nov. 11 and 12.

Youth delegates chosen to attend the G8 and G20 will take part in My Summit 2010, running concurrently with the international summits, and observe the summits in process.

Apparent from the name, Global Vision deals with international issues. The Saskatoon workshop will reflect that, including topics such as environmental issues, health care and food security. But the two-day event is not just learning about current events — it’s also a chance to rub elbows with some of the top names in local business and government.

“You’re going to be meeting with business, government and youth leaders and learn about the economics of the region,” said Heroux. “So you’re going to learn what Saskatchewan does well and (about) its economic brand across Canada.”

Heroux has sat down with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the prime minister of Australia, and has met many Canadian ambassadors. He said being involved in the program has given him experience and confidence beyond his years, and as one of the older youth, he has also become a mentor.

“I share those things from etiquette, from communication skills to knowing how to give your business cards and how to follow up on people with emails,” he said. “When you’re playing on an international level, you have to know your stuff.”

If a career in international politics sounds lofty for someone from Saskatchewan, think again. Heroux says Saskatchewan has always been a prominent player in the Global Visions program, and some of the top students come from the University of Saskatchewan.

In fact, Heroux was surprised to learn that the ambassador to Costa Rica is a U of S alumnus and from Melfort, Sask.

“The Saskatchewan community reaches every corner of this world,” Heroux said.

Even if attendees don’t win the lottery and get a trip to the G8 and G20 summits, Heroux thinks the workshop will be worth it.

“If you want to surround yourself with like minded people and be inspired about making a change in your community, this is the program you want to be a part of.”

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photo: Flickr

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