Visionaries bringing zest to Panama
PANAMA. Hot on the heels of the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper come a team of young Canadian entrepreneurial visionari...
PANAMA. Hot on the heels of the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper come a team of young Canadian entrepreneurial visionaries, who will be spending the best part of a week meeting with government and business leaders in Panama city and Colon.
Harper was here to sign an agreement at the end of Free Trade negotiations between Canada and Panama. The new arrivals have their eyes focused further ahead.
They are members of Global Vision, and its 21 member mission is named Junior Team Canada. They arrive today from Peru, led by President and founder, and former Conservative MP Terry Clifford.
He and his staff will be renewing some previous acquaintances, as he brought a similar team to Panama during the height of the presidential election when. with sharp political foresight he was at one time seen sporting a cap bearing the “shoes of the people” logo.
During that visit some local businesses committed to taking team members as interns for periods from four months to a year.
Visionary Clifford hopes to extend that program during the current tour and will be having discussion about setting up a similar venture for Latin America, with regional training sessions and seminars in Panama.
Among their hosts will be the Panama Canal Authority, the Bern Hotel Group and the Bank of Nova Scotia, and they will be welcomed by the Canadian embassy.
To become part of a mission is an achievement in itself. The non profit organization has trained are over 20,000 participants in Canadian high schools and universities and applicants for the trips have to undergo a rigorous selection process, and learn the art and science of fund raising. Though it receives support from the Canadian Government, Global Vision is largely self supporting and has produced some distinguished alumni including Canadian ambassadors and the youngest vice president of the World Bank.
Each participant has to raise $5000 from his or her local business community, and at the conclusion of the visit, produce a detailed report outlining contact opportunities for the sponsors.
The venture, which was launched in 1991, has taken teams to five continents and 22 countries, including Australia, China Japan and , Europe and Latin America. It arrives today from Peru, which was the first leg of the journey. I will be accompanying some of the mission members during the next five days and will be sure to keep you posted.