Youth Attending Royal Reception Gather to Talk About Their Vision for Canada's Future

VANCOUVER, Sept. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Experiences Canada is hosting a panel discussion today with the Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and youth from across Canada invited to attend the reception with Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. The event highlights Experiences Canada 150&Me, a signature Canada 150 initiative developed to inspire youth to become more involve in shaping the Canada they want for their generation.

"The Signature project Canada 150+Me will bring together some of our country's most enthusiastic young people for exchanges and forums that will help them become engaged citizens, noted the Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. "The 150th anniversary of Confederation encourages all Canadians to dream about what the future has in store for us. We should take advantage of this unique opportunity to help our youth develop to their full potential, so they can in turn invest in their community. Let's work together for the Canada of tomorrow!"

Three outstanding young Canadians will join the panel discussion. They are:

  • Leen Al Zaibak,  a leader in supporting the success of Syrian refugees resettled in Canada and abroad.  She is the co-Founder and Director of Jusoor, an international NGO that helps Syrian youth continue their education through scholarships and mentorship. 
  • Aurelie Rivard who recently returned from the Paralympic games in Rio where she won three gold and one silver medal. She also set two world records, a Paralympic Games record, and a Canadian record.
  • Hjalmer Wenstob, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation located on Vancouver Island.  He is a carver and at the age of 19 his work is already acclaimed with a major piece installed at the Vancouver Airport.

The panel presentation is a preview of the types of national conversations that Experiences Canada aims to lead throughout 2017 as part of its Canada 150&Me project. Youth between the ages of 14-19 are invited to submit creative projects online that raise awareness for the greatest challenges and opportunities they envision for Canada's future.

Submissions will be evaluated by panels of educators, artists, and activists. Hundreds of young people will be selected to travel to one of five destinations across Canada for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Participants will meet with inspirational Canadians and work with non-profit organizations already active in their fields of interest – environment and sustainable development; global affairs; immigration, diversity and Canadian identity; and human rights. Most importantly they will foster connections with other youth across the country who share their passion and lead their own day-long youth forums with thousands of other young Canadians. The culminating event takes place in Ottawa the week before Canada Day, 2017.

"Today's event is an amazing opportunity for us to draw more attention to this innovative project, and to formally announce that Vancouver and the greater Lower Mainland Area will be one of our five featured destinations," explained Deborah Morrison, president and CEO of Experiences Canada. "It is quite an honour that the Government of Canada has chosen our project for this event, and a great testament to their commitment to encouraging meaningful youth engagement not just to mark Canada's 150th year, but to stay involved in shaping public policy and social issues for the next 150 years."

Participating in the gathering of over 100 youth from across Canada are 26 student representatives from three local Surrey School board schools: Panorama Ridge, Sullivan Heights, and Fleetwood Park.  These schools will be playing a key role in the Canada 150&Me project as hosts for youth traveling to the lower mainland next year.

The event will be held from 12:00p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Foyer of the Telus Garden Building at 510 West Georgia Street.  Media accreditation required.  Registration begins at 11:15 a.m.

About Experiences Canada

Experiences Canada (formerly SEVEC) is a national charitable organization and a leading provider of youth travel and exchange opportunities in Canada. Through its flagship program, which is generously supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage, thousands of young Canadians deepen their understanding of Canada's history, geography, linguistic, cultural, and social diversity. Experiences Canada seeks to strengthen young Canadians' connection and commitment to their communities and their country, by preparing them to become active citizens and global leaders. 


SOURCE Experiences Canada

For further information: Deborah Morrison, (onsite in Vancouver), President and CEO, (613) 794-2017 cell,; Myriam Giroux, Communications Coordinator, (613) 727-3832,


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