This is a guest post from ONE Canada member Irene Alatzakis, who’s currently taking part in the first Canadian Leadership Summit.
Three years ago, I visited Tobermory, Ontario, a quaint small town on the end of a finger point on the Bruce Peninsula. People from all over the world come here to take in the exceptional beauty of this UNESCO World Biosphere site. In the middle of the tiny town, a small Fair Trade African boutique just opened—it was so incongruous and magnificent in that setting. I bought a beaded necklace from Kenya and marvelled at the power of the global village we live in which inspired someone to open this shop in the midst of an iconic Canadian wilderness setting.
I visited Tobermory again this year and prayed the shop would still be open. I was overjoyed to buy a small purse made by a Ugandan refugee living in Kenya. As I held my new purchase, I was thinking ahead to the ONE Leadership Summit in Montreal this weekend. This made my purchases more poignant and my anticipation of the Summit more fervent.
I am so lucky and honoured to have been chosen as one of 100 volunteers from across Canada to participate in the ONE Leadership Summit, where we will be in training and planning future campaigns. It will be amazing to meet 99 other Canadians with the same passion for international development who are committed to action. I look forward to meeting as many of the volunteers as possible and learn why they are inspired to take action and which issues are most important to them.
Also this week, world leaders are meeting in Montreal on Sept 16 and 17 for the Global Fund Replenishment. I am so proud that my country, Canada, has offered to host the meeting and has decided to raise Canadian contribution levels by 20 percent, totaling $785 million over the next three years.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is on track to save 22 million lives by the end of 2016 since its launch in 2002. The numbers are astronomical and hard to wrap your head around considering that the population of Canada was almost 31 million in 2000. An entire small country has been saved.
Between the Leadership Summit and the Replenishment conference, the best intentions of humanity are coming together this weekend to plan for the years to come.
I feel that contributing my fair share to the global village is one of my key values as a Canadian and this inspired me to take the journey to Montreal. I view international development as peacekeeping and with this in mind, and my deep appreciation for my life in Canada, I look forward with nervous excitement to the ONE Leadership Summit in Montreal.
It will be an amazing and unique opportunity to amplify my voice with fellow citizens across the country who believe they can help build a better world because we know that Canadians care. Thank you, ONE, for making this experience happen.
If you want to follow the action, check out #ONELeadershipSummit now!