Junior Team Canada in Chengdu: August 2nd-6th

After a successful three days in Beijing, Junior Team Canada arrived in Chengdu on Saturday, August 2nd for the second leg of their fifteen-day trade mission to China. On their first day, the team investigated the cultural hub in the wide-narrow streets taking in local dishes, music and art. That night, the team was hosted for a reception by the Chengdu-Canada Business Trade and Investment Council. David Perdue, Canada's newly appointed Consular-General for the Sichuan province, addressed the group of youth leaders present from both countries. Mr. Perdue emphasized the importance of building on the longstanding ties between South-Western China and Canada, commenting that "through initiatives such as this, a new generation of Canadian and Chinese leaders will continue to create prosperity and social development for the people of both our countries. But we can only do that together". Many promising business relationships were initiated at the reception and delegates from each country committed to deepening bilateral commercial and people-to-people ties.

On their second day, JTC was briefed by Mr. Purdue on the trade, investment and social climate in the two major city-centres located in Sichuan province: Chongqing and Chengdu.     Peter Liao, Canada's Trade Commissioner for Education, S&T, Innovation and Life Sciences also gave the delegates an in-depth presentation on the the state of student recruitment and research collaboration by Canadian universities in Sichuan province and told the team that they "have a very important role to play in its future success". JTC felt especially grateful for this briefing, as it was Mr. Perdue's first official day in his capacity as Consular-General. He and Mr. Liao were made honorary members of Junior Team Canada and were presented with a famous JTC "Made in Canada" red t-shirt.

Throughout the remainder of their time in Chengdu the young Canadian leaders will visit a sustainable farming project, a law firm, a commercial real estate company and a local charitable organization among their individual sponsor-driven meetings. The team will cap off their time in Chengdu with a visit to the famous Panda Bear Conservation Park before heading to Guangzhou for the next leg of the mission.

Junior Team Canada Arrives in Beijing

Upon their arrival in Beijing on July 29th, Junior Team Canada went straight to work building relations with leaders from industry and government on behalf of their Canadian partner-enterprises. The team went directly from the airport to a reception co-hosted by the Canadian Embassy and Canada-China Business Council. At the event, the Honorable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Canada, who is visiting Beijing and Tianjin this week to promote bilateral trade and cultural ties, greeted the Junior Team Canada delegation. The Minister complimented the young leaders, saying, “ Your work to in supporting the Government’s efforts to expand trade and commercial ties with China is commendable. The next generation of Canadians should feel confident, knowing that Canada’s future role in the global market is further brightened by your engagement and leadership”. In addition to the Minister, four former Chinese Ambassadors to Canada as well as leaders from companies such as Chinese Mining Investment Company, DKI Capital, Bennett Jones LLP, SNC Lavalin and KPMG attended the reception. Junior Team Canada will use the connections and discussions from the opening reception to build deeper commercial and cultural ties in China throughout their sixteen-day mission.

Amazing Race Singapore

Après un départ de Guangzhou très demandant physiquement, nous nous sommes transportés vers l’incroyable ville et pays de Singapour, ou encore Singapura, Spore et «Lion City». Vous comprendrez que cette ville aux facettes calmes et colorées détient plusieurs noms.

Dimanche matin, 11 août, de nouvelles équipes ont été formées afin de compléter la course. Cette fois-ci, il y avait 60 tâches à faire et certains bonus pour compléter le Amazing Race Singapour. Notre équipe n’a pas gagné, mais elle a donné son 110%. Ce qui comptait pour nous, c’était aussi d’avoir du plaisir en complétant la course, ce que nous avons eu, parfois même trop, selon les regards des résidents. Il nous arrivait de partir en courant en criant «Go Go Go» et Amazing Race. La ville de Singapour étant très calme, les gens «normaux» nous photographiaient pendant nos prouesses et pendant l’accomplissement de notre quête.

Il faut souligner la gentillesse et l’amabilité de notre guide Phoebe Liew, qui nous poussait sans cesse à développer notre sens de l’initiative et notre leadership, tout au long de cette course. Nous souhaitons aussi partager un met typique de Singapour, que Phoebe nous a fait découvrir et qui est succulent et très abordable : les muah chee. Il y a toute une culture et une histoire autour de ce met, que l’on peut retrouver dans plusieurs kiosques de Singapour.

En terminant, cette course et cette journée dans Singapour a été très formative et a servi à refaire le plein d’énergie pour continuer notre mission économique.

by Guillaume Chabot, Junior Team Canada Ambassador

L'importance des relations

En tant que Canadienne, je suis très fière de constater à quel point notre pays est vu d'un bon oeil de la part des pays du sud de l'Asie. On m'a toujours répété que le Canada était un pays neutre qui avait bonne figure sur la scène internationale. Après seulement quelques jours, j'ai définitivement compris l'importance de cette neutralité. Celle-ci est d'une part primordiale pour les relations entres les pays et d'autre part très importante d'un point de vue économique. En effet, les échanges commerciaux entre cette partie du globe et le Canada jouent un rôle primordial pour notre développement économique. Le Canada est présent non seulement aux sommets du G8 et du G20, mais aussi à l'APEC. De plus, ce dernier est un partenaire clé de L'ASEAN.

Ces relations entretenues avec le Canada sont d'une importance capitale et à ma plus grande surprise, j'ai constaté que nous étions perçus comme des partenaires de confiance. S'il y a bien une chose que je retiens de cette mission économique en Asie, c'est l'importance des relations. En tant que Canadiens, nous avons souvent tendance à garder les relations professionnelles purement professionnelles. Ici, c'est tout le contraire. Pour faire des affaires en Asie, il faut d'abord développer une relation amicale et ensuite passer aux choses sérieuses.

Finalement, le plus important est non seulement de bâtir ses relations, mais surtout des les entretenir!

Maude Rousseau, Junior Team Canada Ambassador

Girl Guides of Hong Kong

Being a member of Girl Guides of Canada gave me the opportunity to travel to Switzerland in 2011 representing Canada - this sparked my interest in exploring the world. On this mission with Junior Team Canada, I have been asked by the Honourable Minister Keith Hutchings to look into the non-profit volunteerism sector in Asia. I couldn’t think of a better suited place to visit than the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association (HKGGA). Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Karen Siu, Project Officer with the International and China Liaison Unit of HKGGA.

I was immediately hosted with handfuls of pamphlets and books with rich information to bring back to Canada before I even took a seat. It was evident that she was just as eager as myself to learn. I quickly gathered that the guiding system of Hong Kong is similar to that of Canada. However, the differences easily contrasted- exemplifying the obvious diversity. Consisting of about 60,000 members, HKGGA has both school and open units over three regions, and offered in two languages (English and Chinese). They have girl members aged 4-50+, and is as well open to boys in the ‘Happy Bee’ age group (4-6).

Focusing in on volunteerism, it is an important aspect of the program for both girls and women. All unit guiders are volunteers, and without these 4,500 devoted women, guiding could not happen. All youth members are encouraged to participate in service projects, and Girl Guide Service Flash (Bronze, Silver and Gold) are awarded to Guides who have actively participated in community service. I inquired as to which projects the girls undertake to complete the hours and Ms. Siu replied, “Many girls help care for seniors; maybe doing chores around the house or keeping them company”. She continued to tell me that many also help with the education of those who in poor areas who cannot afford education. Many continue to give back to the guiding association as leaders.

HKGGA has gained much respect for their volunteerism. Classified as ‘Champions’, HKGGA is the Hong Kong Volunteer Award recipient for the 7th consecutive year in 2012 for dedicating close to 4 million hours of services. Within the association, various dedication awards and service awards are given to the guiders. Every girl and guider is listed in each year’s annual report to recognize their involvement.

“Volunteerism is getting bigger, it’s growing”, says Siu in reference to volunteerism itself in Hong Kong- and she credits the Government organized ‘Volunteer Award Ceremony’ to this.

In perspective of Hong Kong- Canadian relations, both Siu and I realized that though both countries attend many international exchanges, camps and programs, Canada and Hong Kong are very rarely in connection. We agreed to keep in contact and work towards connecting our countries. Anyone involved in Girl Guides of Canada wanting to become involved in developing a plan to build closer ties with Hong Kong - Canada Guiding movement can email myself, Kayla, at kstcroix@mun.ca.

Kayla St. Croix, Junior Team Canada Ambassador

Heart of the City

Photo by   Megan Schmieder  , Junior Team Canada Ambassador 

Photo by Megan Schmieder, Junior Team Canada Ambassador 

After spending the better part of the day at “The Peak oh Hong Kong”, I sat down and took the time to really reconsider my visit here. The past 5 days speeding between briefings, meetings and presentations had lead me to believe that the main attraction for Hong Kong was its business savvy; the financing, entrepreneurship, and the hundreds of bright and talented people calling Hong Kong home.

But as I slowed down my pace, looked towards the distanced islands, and took a deep breathe in of tropical freshness, I found a temporary Nirvana.

Being caught up in the rush with people who keep Hong Kong going; I never got the chance to experience the essence Hong Kong itself. I never got to see how all the hard work really paid off and truly see why Hong Kong is so successful. Standing at the height of Hong Kong on Victoria Peak, in one sole moment I found complete beauty in the hard work put into creating this beautiful coexistence; the history and natural beauty of the land placed right at the heart of a thriving global city.

When you make your way to Hong Kong one day, don’t forget to take a breath and appreciate it's natural beauty.

Megan Schmieder, Junior Team Canada Ambassador

Hong Kong's Pride

Hong Kong has been an inspiring experience to say the least.

As I stepped off the plane, the first thing I realized was the heat, humidity, and dense population. But as I learned more about the city through our briefings with leaders from organizations such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, I began to notice something else about this place.

While the speakers were all very eager to teach us about the economic policies and structure of Hong Kong, it was clear that they were all very proud of their city. Whether or not they were born in Hong Kong, each person was proud to represent the city and excited to do their part to promote it. It wasn’t for personal gain that they taught us, but rather for the future of Hong Kong, and the strong connection between Hong Kong and Canada.

It was evident that they truly loved their city, and were passionate about further empowering it through trade as it adapted to the changing economic and political landscape. If all of Hong Kong's leaders are anything like the ones that we have met in the past few days, Hong Kong will undoubtedly continue to be a global leader for generations to come. It’s sad to think that we must leave this place in only a few days, but I’m sure that many of us will return.

by Jacob Read, Junior Team Canada Ambassador // Melville, Saskatchewan