A take on the past day and a half from the Youth Ambassadors.

The phrase “My Canada is …” from the “My Canada is …” presentation scheduled for the first dinner to welcome international delegates at My Summit resonates in my mind as I further consider the implications of the phrase. One of the questions that occurred to me was how what “my Canada is …” fit in with another person’s Canada and fit in with the greater global community. The leaders of this world do not change the world towards a more sustainable future by focusing on their differences but by focusing on their shared common goal and how they relate to each other. One of our most important roles as youth delegates representing Canada is bridging the gap among international leaders and youth delegates, us and the rest of Canada. We can bridge that gap through learning from each other the differences we hold and working together towards the goals we share. Our learning experiences will go beyond the walls of My Summit, as we share our experiences through the internet using blog posts, facebook updates, twitter and other social networking platforms. As we use the internet to reach into the world, we will be leadersThis week at My Summit, I’m looking forward to getting to know each and every one of the international delegates and use every minute of face-time I receive with global leaders to create a connection and build a golden rolodex. I am challenging myself to learn something new about every culture represented at the G8/G20 and weave a connection between Canada and the other nation! Let’s show the world what it means to be Canadian how to cooperate and be global leaders!

Update 1 After a four and a half hour flight and a two hour bus ride, I finally arrived at Muskoka for the G8 portion of the My Summit. I have had the opportunity to meet and greet fellow Canadian delegates as well as delegates from all over the world!

My roommate Debi Ogunrinde from Halifax and I have had the opportunity of interviewing two international delegations – The United States and Germany. Debi and I come from two sides of Canada and I was really happy to conduct the interview with her as we joined the two sides of Canada together into Team Canada! She will be covering the interview with Germany and I will be covering the interview with some delegates of the delegation of the United States. The United States delegation consists of Danielle Geneux, Lesley Dudden, Jordan Sanderson, Thao Anh Tran, Garrett Harkins, Patrick Short and Melissa Greenway. As youth delegates of Canada, we were curious as to what their first impression was of Canada. Garrett Harkins stated that he was very happy with the “multi-lateral field” that Canada offered and our focus on dialogue, communication and international cooperation. We were able to forge a connection with the US delegation as American delegate Jordan Sanderson commented on his appreciation of Canada’s nature and how it reminded him of his home, Wisconsin. The American delegation was extremely happy with the friendly atmosphere that welcomed them to Canada! Right on Youth Delegates of Canada! Thao Anh Tran of the US is surprised as she “did not imagine [My Summit] to be of such a great magnitude” and is very honoured to be “part of this really important program and [she] hopes that her participation will make a difference.” After our interview with the American delegation, I felt a stronger connection with the international delegations because I came to experience firsthand that we are joined by the same goal of making a difference in the world that we will one day be leaders in!

Debi and Christina

Ps: For the interview with Germany please refer to Debi’s blog!

Update 2

The sun rose in Muskoka at 5:30 am today and youth delegates of My Summit set course on a 5km marathon with Paul Tergat, international marathon winner, at 6:30 am. The weather was slightly rainy but the rain made for an extremely refreshing run! It was a privilege to be able to run with Paul Tergat because he reminded me once more of the importance of determination. Although I was physically tired, running with the other delegates encouraged me to persevere and it proved to be an exhilarating experience. It was an excellent start to an exciting day!

After a quick breakfast with the team, we took the bus to Trillium Resort, the official site of the G8 My Summit official venue. We had the privilege of listening to Mr. Norman Inkster. Mr. Norman Inkster is the former Chair of the Canadian Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on National Security. Having served as the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the President of INTERPOL, Mr. Inkster emphasized that in light of the technological advancement “it is not the criminal who travels but the crime that travels.” Being a part of the e-generation, we have access to vast amounts of information which has knit us closer together as a global community. However, the moving of vast amounts of information around the world has also created a new form of terrorism – cyber terrorism. Using different techniques, such as proxies, people can remain anonyms on the web. The protection of identity has both its merits as well as its limitations – it can both protect a person or it can help a person evade justice. Mr. Inkster presented us with the challenge of finding a way to cooperate internationally without infringing on the rights of others in the area of cyber terrorism. The internet and electronic transfer of information is difficult to regulate due to its theoretical rather than concrete nature. At the attempt to regulate internet activity, a question that surfaces is the defining of characteristics of illegal activities. Being a part of the e-generation, it is our responsibility to find a balance among individual liberties, the protection of identity and the prosecution of internet crimes. Mr. Inkster also talked to us about international crimes and the sharing of information. He then challenged our youth delegates to think of innovative ideas to balance the sharing of information, state sovereignty and the prosecution of crimes. We’re the youth in an era of change, it is our responsibility to find the fine balance among many elements as we progress the world towards a more sustainable future.

After the plenary session, the terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation team entered negotiation sessions. Stay tuned for the course of the development along with interviews with G8 youth delegates in the team!

Cheers, Christina Cai