Young talent key to bright future
By Dominik Szymanski
September 26, 2005
The forum, held at Huron University College last Saturday, emphasized the importance of retaining students and embracing the city's cultural diversity.
"Students are the canary in the talent mine. In other words, the movement of students is the leading indicator of where talent goes," said Carol Stephenson, dean of Richard Ivey Business School, during her speech.
"Our future, indeed the future of all Canadian communities, will depend on attracting and retaining young talent."
Stephenson added that everyone in the community must work together to help develop London as a "hub hotbed" for economic growth.
"I believe that Ivey, the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe must also play a vital role in improving London's economic prospects and strengthening our community's diversity and creativity."
London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco agreed.
"We sometimes get into the stereotype that youth create the problems in the city. But I could not even imagine what London would be like if we did not have all those students from the University and Fanshawe College," said DeCicco.
About 250 participants, made up of business leaders, politicians, activists, students and area residents, joined together to exchange of ideas at the forum, which was co-sponsored by Huron and the London Free Press.
Mihad Fahmy, a local lawyer and columnist, stressed the importance of youth and appreciating London's multiculturalism.
"If non-Londoners continue to view London from afar as a closed Anglo-Saxon community that has not signed onto the multiculturalism project, fewer young people and fewer families belonging to ethic and minority communities will consider calling London home," said Fahmy.
The speeches, which included topics such as London's economic development and natural environment, were followed by four workshops on innovation and creativity, sustainability and heritage, inclusion and diversity, and youth.
At the youth workshop a panel of students presented their ideas about what London needs to do to attract and retain students. Then participants engaged in a lively discussion.
A lack of job prospects was among the reasons cited for the exodus of graduates.
"Employment is a big factor for students. London's employment opportunities are weak," said Dilani Mohan, a forth-year administrative and commercial studies student at Western, and one of the four student panelists.
The writer is a Graduate student in the Journalism program.
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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