02-14-2009 | DAVID YOUNG OUR MAN IN PANAMA
A Canadian initiated program that could help develop future leaders without relying on nepotism
Panama Star It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to meet with a group of intelligent, community oriented young people with a vision. In fact locally it’s been difficult of late, in spite of electioneering, to fins people of any age with vision. But when you find a group, many of whom will become leaders around the world, it is time to celebrate, and to realize that there is hope for the future of a world currently suffering from an overdose of the “me first” generation,
It also provides a wake-up opportunity for Panama where too often leaders are appointed for who they know, not what.
The group in question is a team of University (with one exception, still in high school) students who recently competed with over 800 other bright young minds to travel abroad as “ambassadors” for Canada.
This year, Panama is the fortunate recipient of a visit from Global Vision, Junior Team Canada, a concept pioneered by Terry Clifford a former M.P. (Member of Parliament) with close ties to a then rising young politician, Stephen Harper, who is now Prime Minister of Canada.
The aim of the foundation is to give young Canadians who have demonstrated commitment to the community and have a vision for the world that doesn’t reflect empire building or domination as practiced by some larger and stronger nations.
Larger of course in the industrial sense, as territorially Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, but with a population that only recently passed the 30 million mark. and many of those are relatively recent immigrants.
The Global Vision network has, since its conception, some 20 years ago, produced over 1200 ”graduates” from among thousands who were encouraged to participate in programs.
A graduate is one who has been involved and earned, in competition, a place in a visiting team. The final “examination” is meeting with business and government leaders in other countries, identifying opportunities, and reporting back to their sponsors.
All the participants ares skilled communicators, in writing and verbally as I soon discovered. They exude confidence but without bombast. You could say they have typical Canadian deference.
Many past graduates are playing important roles around the world, including two serving as Ambassadors and one as the youngest ever vice-president of the World Trade Organization.
Mr Clifford, with the encouragement of the Canadian P.M. who is currently pushing for a Free Trade Agreement with Panama, has a dream of expanding the Vision program so that it becomes two-way, with similar groups, can visit Canada and develop personal, cultural and business ties that will be truly Global.
During his visit he will espouse that dream and hopefully someone in Panama will be listening.
This is an opportunity that should not be missed. Canada’s ambassador, Patricia Langan-Torrell and Mr Clifford are waiting to hear from you.