UTSC alum has experience of a lifetime at 2011 G8/G20 Youth Summit

Rob Onley at the G8/G20 Youth Summit

Rob Onley (fourth from right) with the Canadian delegation at the G8/G20 Youth Summit in Paris, France

The 2011 G8/G20 Youth Summit opened this week in Paris, France at the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), with 150 of the world’s brightest young leaders gathering to discuss the preeminent issues facing the international community. After the 2011 G8 Summit wrapped up in Deauville, France on Thursday, the youth took charge in the City of Lights.

As the Minister of Defense for Canada, I was selected to represent national defence policy at the 5th annual international student event. With an Honours BA Specialist in Political Science from UTSC (2009), I am applying my studies in foreign policy and international relations in actual negotiations with highly accomplished students from around the world.

After participating in last year’s Youth Summit in Vancouver, I was excited to visit Paris for another round of global meetings. This year’s Youth Summit was organized by France’s ‘Youth Diplomacy’ student group, and is an officially sponsored event under the United Nations International Year of Youth Events for 2011. Adding another layer of esteem, the Office of French President Nicholas Sarkozy is also officially endorsing the week-long forum.

From discussing finance, economics and environmental issues, to defence, foreign affairs and global development concerns, the G8/G20 Youth Summit seeks to engage the leaders of tomorrow in intensive debates that encourage creative thinking and innovative solutions to the world’s toughest problems.

On Day 1 of the Summit, the Canadian delegation visited the Canadian embassy in Paris. Located on the stunning Avenue Montaigne, one block from the Champs-Elysées, we met with top political consultants to the Canadian Ambassador to France, Marc Lortie, to assess the themes of our position papers prior to negotiations beginning. The meeting was both insightful and confidence-inspiring, with many of my fellow delegates encouraged by the strength of their arguments.

The Embassy visit was followed by a round of conferences on global governance, which featured several high-profile speakers, including President and CEO of Total S.A., one of the largest oil companies in the world, Christophe de Margerie.

With three full days of negotiations to go, I will be posting updates as the week progresses.

Robert Onley
Windsor Law J.D. 2012

About uoftscarborough

The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) is home to a community of active learners drawn from all over the globe, determined to use what we discover – through investigation, collaboration and experience – to make our world a better place. Our campus is an integral component of Canada’s leading research-intensive university, a place where faculty contribute to cutting-edge knowledge, where the finest students are taught by the finest professors. Upon graduation, our students have earned one of the most rigorous and respected post-secondary degrees in the world. At UTSC, we are working together to find answers to tomorrow’s most important questions. And because the search for knowledge must always be conducted in a meaningful way, our campus is continually alive with innovative programming, engaging discourse and dynamic experiences that feed our spirits and enrich our minds. This is how to prepare students for the best possible future. This is how our scholarship contributes to a better world. This is our promise. Because tomorrow is created here.
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