Business student heading to Asia-Pacific forum
by Meaghan Whelan
While most first year students are settling into the academic routine, Business student Lauren Tobin is preparing to meet with world leaders at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) summit in Vietnam. From Nov. 9-18, Ms. Tobin will be meeting with heads of state, chief executive officers and other leaders to discuss various issues of importance to the Asia-Pacific region.
As one of only five students chosen from across Canada and the only young representative from Newfoundland and Labrador, Ms. Tobin plans to highlight the province as a destination of choice for business and industry.
Our proximity to the United States, relatively low labour costs, and focus on business makes Newfoundland and Labrador an ideal destination for businesses in the Asia-Pacific region," said Ms. Tobin during a quick interview between classes.
Juggling academics, preparation for the summit and extracurricular activities is no easy feat, but Ms. Tobin is used to a hectic schedule. She has an extensive background in community involvement: she participated in an international studies program to Cuba with Canada World Youth, is a member of Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador's Youth (FINALY), volunteers with the Canadian Lung Association and the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and also plays soccer and rows.
"I like to put my hands in and help out wherever I can," she explained. "Being involved in the community has opened so many doors, and I like to keep busy and give back whatever I can."
Ms. Tobin is required to raise a minimum of $4,500 to fund her trip to Hanoi and is looking for organizations that wish to partner with her to have their interests represented at the conference. "The purpose of the summit is to explore opportunities on behalf of local businesses sponsors.
Another important part of the program is the promotion of cross-cultural understanding. Before the conference begins the student delegates will spend a few days in Ottawa learning about the culture of the region and proper business etiquette. "I'm really looking forward to travelling and exploring the culture," Ms. Tobin said. "There is a lot to learn about how the culture in the Asia-Pacific region differs from ours. For example, when someone gives you a business card, it's rude to accept it with one hand. I plan on studying international business, so this is a great opportunity for me to gain some experience."
Ms. Tobin's participation in the summit is organized through Junior Team Canada. This group has led missions to more then 14 countries in an effort to help Canadian youth develop business skills and foster interest in international relations. Junior Team Canada is an initiative of Global Vision, a Canadian non-profit organization that prepares young Canadians to become international business leaders.