Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

Campus Bulletin

June 13, 2007

President's Dialogue Huge Success

The President’s Dialogue on Canada’s role as a global citizen attracted a packed audience of more than 600 University and community members Wednesday.

Canada’s role in peacekeeping, global hunger and global warming were some of the topics discussed by the seven distinguished panellists, most of whom received honorary degrees during summer convocation.

During the two-hour dialogue, participants exchanged views and took questions from both the live and web audiences. The event was broadcast live on the Internet.

“Today’s event brings new meaning to the term ‘civic engagement,’” says president Alastair Summerlee, who moderated the discussion.

“We had engagement from the citizens of Guelph, ranging from school children to senior citizens, and from business leaders to University faculty and students. And everyone was united in a discussion about our country’s global engagement.”

Summerlee adds that he was also impressed by the community’s level of engagement, “both in terms of the size of the audience and in the depth of the questioning. There was excitement in the air.”

He also praised the panellists for being open-minded and willing to participate in the dialogue with no script or advance questions. “I think the spontaneity of the interactions was one of the compelling features of the dialogue.”

Participants were:
• Craig Kielburger, who at the age of 12 founded Free the Children, the largest network of children helping children in the world.

• Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg and Canada’s former foreign minister, who instigated a landmark treaty that banned anti-personnel land mines.

• Peter Hannam, a pivotal leader in Canadian agriculture who is interested in the global role Canada can play in helping other nations improve their food production systems.

• Sally Armstrong, a journalist, documentary filmmaker, author, teacher and human rights activist, who was one of the first people to report on the conditions faced by Afghan women under the Taliban regime.

• Pamela Wallin, an accomplished and esteemed journalist, diplomat and entrepreneur and the new chancellor of the University of Guelph.

• Louise Fréchette, the first deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and Canada’s former assistant deputy minister for economic policy and trade competitiveness.

• Paul Rusesabagina, who has been internationally honoured for sheltering more than 1,200 people in the Rwandan hotel he managed and protecting them from being slaughtered by the militia during the Rwandan genocide. His story of bravery became the basis of the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.

Wednesday’s event was the second annual President’s Dialogue, an initiative started by U of G president Alastair Summerlee to engage the public in stimulating discussions about issues of contemporary importance and to give members of the community a chance to ask questions of global leaders. The next dialogue will be in 2008 and will focus on volunteerism.

Email this entry to:

Message (optional):

Powered by FeedBlitz