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Travelling north

Queen’s sociology student Justine Aman, Artsci’18, is headed to Iqaluit where she will join 30 fellow youth leaders from across Canada for the Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus March 8-12.

The event, organized by Global Vision, aims to connect youth living in southern Canada with their peers in the north to learn about and find innovative solutions to the pressing issues facing those living in Canada’s Arctic.

Justine Aman, Artsci’18, will be traveling to Iqaluit, Nunavut for the Global Vision Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus. The event, which runs March 8-12, brings together youth from Canada's north and south to begin a dialogue and work to find innovative solutions to some of the pressing challenges facing Canada's Arctic community. (University Communications)

Ms. Aman says she was inspired to get involved in the caucus by her own experiences living in northern Ontario – seeing how distance from major urban centres affected the community through population decline and lack of job opportunities. She hopes to gain new insight into the challenges faced by northern Canadians and help develop sustainable solutions.

“My whole approach going into the caucus will be to listen and absorb the feedback coming from our northern peers,” she says. “Coming from a southern community, I recognize that my interpretation of what they need may be completely different, so I want to listen and work with them to build off their first-hand experiences. Whatever the people on the ground identify as the issues they’re facing, I want to listen to that and consider how those of us in the south can help find a sustainable option to fix that.”

Ms. Aman and her fellow southern attendees – selected from students across Canada, ranging from Grade 9 to graduate students – will spend four days meeting with local students and community leaders. They will also meet with representatives of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

The trip is intended to spark a dialogue between north and south, and help foster a dialogue between communities that otherwise may never interact in any meaningful way. Many of the students – Ms. Aman included – have already scheduled presentations with community groups on their return, to share what they have learned.

“We’re one country and yet we’re so disconnected,” says Ms. Aman, of the gulf between Canadians in the country’s north and south. “I think the greatest opportunity to arise out of this conference is the chance to start a conversation.”

Founded in 1991 by former Member of Parliament Terry Clifford, Global Vision has been working in the north since 2010 to facilitate north-south dialogue and to help strengthen northern youth’s capacity to become actively engaged as leaders in their own communities. For more information on Global Vision and the AYAC150 Team, please visit the website.