Melissa Royle and Mark Freake, political science students, travelled with four other young Canadians as part of a Junior Team Canada delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru.
With a mandate from Invest in Canada, Melissa and Mark networked with foreign CEOs to discover potential investment for Canada, and specifically Newfoundland and Labrador. Team members enquired about each company’s current or potential investment in Canada and about their perceptions of the country. Dozens of exciting leads have been provided to Invest in Canada for follow-up.
On Saturday, the team held a 45-minute roundtable with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day. The team described what they learned and accomplished at APEC, and explained their individual projects to be implementation at home.
The team witnessed the signing of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, attended a reception at the Canadian embassy in Lima and met with the government leaders of Colombia, Australia and the Philippines. Through their presence at speeches by the region’s presidents, prime ministers and CEOs, they gained a deeper understanding of the financial crisis, possible solutions and the values of free trade.
The team also met APEC CEO Summit Chairman José Miguel Morales and representatives from the World Bank. As Prime Minister Harper announced in his CEO Summit speech, the team members have the “greatest vested interest in the long term economy.”
Junior Team Canada also participated in the Voices of the Future program, which operates annually in conjunction with the APEC summit. Students from numerous member economies gathered to learn about the Asia-Pacific economic region and experience international cooperation first hand.
Junior Team Canada is administered by GlobalVision, a national non-profit organization founded in 1991. The program provides Canadian youth, ages 16-25, with the skills, experience and knowledge necessary to become the new generation of leaders. They have led missions to more than 15 countries, including a 2007 Trade and Development Mission to South East Asia, in which Melissa and Mark took part.
Sponsors of the program included Memorial University of Newfoundland, The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Talisman Energy and PF Collins.
Melissa is in her final year of her bachelor of arts (honours) in political science. She will graduate in April 2008 and plans to begin studying law in September. Melissa is the president of Memorial’s Political Science Society, an executive member of the Canadian Political Science Students Association, and coordinator of Memorial’s Legal Aid office.
Mark will also graduate with a bachelor of arts (honours) in political science in April 2008. He is active on Memorial’s Students’ Union, the political science society and the Native Friendship Centre.