Panama through northen eyes
PANAMA. Working lunches with business executives. Meetings with government ministers. Receptions hosted by Canadian Embassies abroad....
PANAMA. Working lunches with business executives. Meetings with government ministers. Receptions hosted by Canadian Embassies abroad. Charter flights to remote areas of the jungle. A synopsis for the next James Bond movie? No, this is a summary of a Junior Team Canada (JTC) mission abroad. I'm one of 21 lucky youth leaders that were selected from across Canada to participate in a youth-led trade mission to Panama and Ecuador. There have been JTC missions abroad yearly for almost 20 years, across five continents, and in more than 20 countries.
In August 2009, Junior Team Canada embarked on a mission to Ecuador and Panama to promote Canadian industry and institutions. As a team, we represent our organizational sponsors, and as individuals we represent individual sponsors from every Canadian industry sector.
On August 12, we touched down in Quito to an outdated airport that has one of the shortest runways in the world for an international airport, literally in the middle of a business and residential community.
Good thing that one of the mandates of Junior Team Canada was to work with the Canadian developers of the new state-of-the-art airport under construction, including the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and Aecon Construction Group. This project is the single biggest infrastructure project in Ecuador right now and the largest concession granted to the CCC around the world. It is made possible with Canadian partnerships, financing and expertise.
These are the type of world class projects that Junior Team Canada investigates, promotes and provides outreach for in countries around the world.
In Ecuador the team also boarded charter flights to remote areas of South East Ecuador to do the same type of work for two huge Canadian investments in the mining sector. Canadian companies make up 97 percenr of the Ecuadorian mining industry.
So we made field visits to two important Canadian investments: the Kinross Aurelian project and the Ecuacorriente project. Without a doubt, these projects are world-class, up to Canadian standards, and excel in their efforts of social and environmental responsibility.
In Panama, the team liaised with the Organization of American States Youth Business Trust to work with Panama youth in developing their own programs of youth leadership and development. We held meetings with top Canadian business executives, and senior governmental officials of Panama. The team worked with the Canadian Embassy to promote the bilateral Free Trade Agreement that was signed between Canada and Panama two weeks prior to the team's visit in August 2009. The work Junior Team Canada does is legendary, not only for Canadian youth in its leadership development capacity, but for Canadian business interests worldwide, which tend to be undervalued and under-appreciated, but are key in global business value chains. Junior Team Canada excels in raising the profile of Canada worldwide. Junior Team Canada is run by Global Vision, a Canadian not for profit organization that helps ignite Canadian youth to action, for the betterment of themselves, their communities, their country, and the global community. For more information, see www.globalvision.ca.
Daniel Rodriguez a Junior Team Canada Delegate 2009 representing Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, graduated from the Bachelor of International Business program at the Sprott School of Business in June 2009, after having studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information on Daniel, www.danielrodriguez.ca.