Brescia Students in Japan

Three Brescia food and nutrition students, Andrea Green, Gretchen Lee and Kryatal Gopaul, are off to Japan this summer to take a course at Wayo Women’s University in Chiba, Japan. This trip is the beginning of a three year exchange agreement between Brescia and Wayo University!

Andrea Green, Gretchen Lee and Kryatal Gopaul with the Brescia’s head of food and nutritional sciences program Alicia Garcia

Western goes to Calgary

SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Each year there are regional and national competitions that allow teams to  present the results of their projects, and to be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges. Earlier this Month Brescia’s own Alexandra Jefferies went to Calgary to compete in a SIFE competition with the University of Western Ontario team. This is what she had to say:

My name is Alexandra Jefferies and I have been a student at Brescia for two years. Since the day I moved into Brescia residence I have had many exciting experiences through academics and extra-curriculars. In May I was fortunate enough to compete at the SIFE national competition in Calgary, Alberta with SIFE Western. As a team, SIFE Western was challenged throughout the year to apply what we have learned at University to create real programs that teach people about financial literacy, equip the unemployed with skills to find employment and help aspiring entrepreneurs. At the national competition we presented to a panel of judges not only real results of our programs, but also the emotional impacts that our programs have had on our community and ourselves. During the three days of competitions, surrounded by hundreds of other SIFE leaders from across the country, I was truly inspired to strive for excellence and continue to make an impact in people’s lives.  Being a Brescia student has developed my teamwork, leadership and communication skills and as a member of SIFE these skills have only been augmented. I also got to visit Alberta for the first time, which was an experience in itself. The opportunity to compete at a national competition like this has built my confidence and I appreciate Brescia`s generous support.”

Alexandra Jefferies at the SIFE competition in Calgary

Reflections on the Y20 Summit

Earlier this month Brescia student Leenat Jilani represented Canada in the Y20 summit in Mexico. This summit brought together students from 20 countries to discuss the international economic agenda and issues such as food security and the environment. Together these students produced a document that will represent the voice of the youth at the next G20 summit, where the world’s leaders will converge to discuss similar issues.

In the article below Leenat reflects on how her spirituality affected her overall experience at the summit. As one of only two Muslims at the conference she found that overall her experience was positive and she took it as an opportunity to educate others and strengthen her faith. Leenat is one of Brescia’s promising future leaders!

Leenat at the Y20, Day Five: President Day!

Day Five: President Day!

Y20 got ready early in the morning in their best formal wear to meet with the President of Mexico to present him with our final document.

Pueblais three hours away fromMexico City; we had to sit in our best clothes for travel ready to meet the President the moment we got off the bus. After an emergency bus stop (some delegates were not able to handle the Mexican food) and dropping off our luggage at the hotel we finally reached outside the President’s residence.

Each of us was handed a translator went through security and sat in a conference room waiting for the President to arrive. The chair of each working group was assigned to ask a single question drafted from their group. Out of the seven Chairs,Canadawas represented by Serguei Leclerc as Chair of the Financial Inclusion and Economic Stability working group.


The President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, answered each question with detail and cared deeply for the youth voice. He promised to make sure that our document will be disseminated to the leaders and Sherpa of each country and taken into consideration.

We were then taken to our final lunch as Y20, a bus tour and then taken to our hotels. It was an accomplishing feeling to have successfully completed our task as the global voice of youth. The time we spent together was sweet and it was evident that we were now part of a new world family.

I spent the rest of my free time with the Argentinean and Columbian delegation to experienceMexico Citythrough the metro (subway). After saying goodbye to the youth left in the lobby, fellow JTCer, Meaghan and I headed back to our room to take a nap before heading back to the airport to go home.


The Y20 was an experience that I can never forget! It shows that youth have a place and voice in this world. We have the power to make a difference and be agents of change. Meeting youth from 25 different countries around the world makes me realize that no matter how different, we are all basically the same. We have a lot to learn from each other and communication and dialogue are the only way we can move forward. I know I met the future Presidents, Prime Ministers and leaders of the world’s most influential countries; this leaves me inspired to reach further, strive harder and envision for my country and myself things much greater!    (pic: I am the one in the red hijab)     

Leenat at the Y20, Day Four at the Y20

Y20 Conference

Apologies for posting late, time and deadlines come in the way of posting entries immediately.

Day Four at Y20 started off as we had an interactive session with the Sherpa and Central Bank Head of Mexico. Sherpa, is a term borrowed from the ethnic group who guide expeditions to the summits of the Himalayas, are the personal representatives of the Heads of State and Government of the members of the Group of Twenty. They are also responsible for conducting all the necessary work prior to the G20 Summits. Central Bank Heads along with Ministers of Finance are responsible for conducting the financial track of the G20. This helped us see that most of G20 consensus is reached prior to the Leaders Summit. It is beneficial that Y20 work is taking place prior to the Leaders Summit so our recommendations can be sent and taken into consideration by the Sherpa’s seriously.

Team Canada was also interviewed by Yahoo Mexico on our experiences of the Y20, I hope we find that video.

As working groups resumed, the topic that I was assigned to, The Future of G20, attempted to come to consensus to formulate a final draft. Thankfully an hour later we had a draft that was ‘equally dissatisfactory’ to all parties.

As rapporteur, I was part of the preliminary group that attempted to put the entire document together. Each rapporteur was responsible for sharing the conclusions of their topic to the assembly. After a few bumps and concerns the entire document was passed by the assembly and the Y20 concluded with a successful document!

Y20 then received a police escort to the residence of the governor of Puebla to celebrate. The next day we were to meet the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, at his residence to present him with the final document.

What an honor, what excitement and what an experience!


Leenat at the Y20, Day Three: The Conference Begins

Junior Team Canada began the day as they received their G20 badges and walked in to the Puebla Convention Centre.

With tight security at every step we walked into the conference hall filled with Press, and a beautiful stage set up for the Opening ceremonies. Not only were we able to hear from the Governor of Puebla, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mexico and many other distinguished speakers but we also met the exceptional youth from around the world.

Soon we were split up in our Working Groups where we discussed the various topic agendas of the G20. Topics with global impact such as Sustainable Growth, Economic Stability, Financial Inclusion and the Future of G20. Having a group of roughly 25 global youth leaders in each working group trying to come to a consensus on topics of the G20 really taught me what it is like to do diplomacy. Reaching consensus tends to be a grueling task that takes patience and an open mind.

However I was made second in command as Rapporteur of the group. Two other Canadians also made the Planning Committee as there was one other Canadian Rapporteur and Chair. The Canadian Team was soon seen as playing key roles in each working Group and formulating some of the key ideas.

Our night ended with a great dinner and cultural program. After which for my particular working group I worked with the Mexican Chair, Pablo to draft the Position Document for our team. It is an honor for me to think the words and sentences I made are going to be read by World Leaders and presented to the President of Mexico today.

I am proud that Canadians contributed and made their country proud today.

Leenat at the Y20, Day Two: Mexico City Arrival

Junior Team Canada woke up at 4:50 am this morning to make sure we were at the airport by six for our 8:05 flight. Dressed in our suits ties and formal clothes we walked on to the plane ready for a big day.

Five hours after a bumpy airplane ride (the turbulence was quite bad), We barely had time to breathe as they were met with a Canadian embassy delegate holding an aluminum sign with the Canada flag on it! As soon as we reached, before we knew it we were in a van on our way to lunch right before one of our biggest meetings at the Canadian embassy. Not only did we meet the Canadian ambassador to Mexico, but we met with former central bank heads, G20 directors and the current special representative of the G20 Roberto Morino.

Reaching Puebla late at night, the team strategized on how to best represent Canada. WE met with a few Y20 delegates from other countries and are off to bed for a big day tomorrow.

O WAIT! I am not done yet, we just found out today that all of us will be heading back to Mexico City on Friday to meet the President of Mexico Felipe Caldron at the Los Pinos Official Residence for an interactive session and presentation of our final Y20 document.

Just Unreal….

Leenat at the Y20, Day One: Toronto Training Day!

I arrived in Toronto today, one day prior to leaving for Mexico to get to know the rest of the Y20 Team before departure.

Day One with the Y20 Team

Our team consists of Canadian youth from all the regions of Canada, two from the Atlantic, one from the West, one from Quebec, three Ontarians. As we converge before the G20 we realize that we all have something valuable and unique to bring to the team. The Canadian delegation reflects Canada in its diversity and unique trait of inclusivity.
Our day began with a meeting with the head of the Canadian division of the World Health Food Program, Julie Marshall. The WFP, a branch of the UN is the largest humanitarian organization in the world. We spoke to Julie about how we can better highlight the importance of Food Security at the G20. We also spoke about how the UN needs to have a presence and voice at the G20. Did you know that Canada is the second largest donor to the WFP?.. we should be proud to be Canadian!

We also received a pep talk by Terry Clifford, founder and president of Global Vision about how as the G20 Youth Team we have the opportunity to really make a huge impact for Canada. Not only is this the second time ever that Canada is sending a delegation, but this is at a time when the G20 has become the forum for the globalized world.

Tomorrow, the first thing we do after we land in Mexico City is that we will be picked up by Canadian Embassy delegates and taken out to Lunch. Then, the real fun begins as we are escorted to the Canadian Embassy where we will meet with the Canadian Ambassador to Mexico Sara Hradecky. Just today we received news that along with the Ambassador we will be met with the President of Mexico’s, Felipe Caldron, personal representative for the G20. Oh yah, and the Press.

The day will end with a bus ride to Puebla and the Opening Ceremonies for the Y-20.