I, Debi Ogunrinde, have arrived in Muskoka after landing in Toronto today for the beginning of a fantastic five days as a Youth Ambassador for the G8 ( and soon the G20) Summit – MY SUMMIT 2010. As a youth ambassador, I get the opportunity to represent my region - Halifax, Nova Scotia - and meet international delegates from the participating countries. We are capturing and crystallizing what is important from these summits for youth to know and interviewing the international delegates. My roommate from Vancouver, Christina Cai, and I have interviewed the delegations from the United States, which she’ll be covering, and Germany; we had some interesting questions answered. The German delegation consisted of Sarah Brockmeier, Yinliang He, Jan Hauke Holste, Anne-Caroline Hüser, Julia Nickel, Henrike Pfannenberg, and Eva Koch.
First, we asked them how they qualified to come to the Summits. They were selected by the German National Academic Foundation, a non-profit organization supported by their government that works to support the most promising students of Germany, and also to help them study abroad.
Secondly, we asked them what they expected to gain from attending MY SUMMIT 2010. One member stated that she expected it to be like Model United Nations. Generally, they expected to get new perspectives, especially on development, as well as learn and get a real impression of the G8 and G20 meetings and how they work as an international forum. They are working on a communiqué to be proud of, and are both excited to work together as the German delegation and with the different countries’ delegations.
Thirdly, we asked what their opinion of Canada had been before they came. Though they viewed us primarily as the neighbour of America, they saw us as having our own role globally. They stated that Canada seemed to be connected with peacekeeping and being an international partner that no one knows but does a lot of good things. They stated that we were a popular country with a very good reputation – even for being well-dressed! Hopefully they will continue to see Canada as nice throughout their stay.
Fourthly, we asked them about what their first impression of Canada. Though they believed it was too early to formulate a full opinion, they stated that they were able to mingle with other cultures on the way here and learn about other selection processes, what they do, and the different geographical regions of Canada, the host of this year’s G8 and G20 Summits. Learning names of other delegates, what they study, and their history was all interesting for them as well. Overall, these interactions enabled Canadians to live up to their reputation as friendly. They have definitely been acquainted with Canadian mosquitoes – perhaps not the most enjoyable experience.
We look forward to checking back to see how this opinion has changed throughout our collective experiences at MY SUMMITS 2010.
-Debi Ogunrinde and Christina Cai