If our children are a reflection of who we are as parents, then the parents of the students who participated in the International Youth Leadership Summit 2014 should be very proud. The students were a world-class example of youth leadership, responsibility and compassion. In all instances the students stepped up to the plate and represented themselves, their schools, the Calgary Board of Education, the province and our country with dignity, intelligence, cultural sensitivity, and a spirit of international cooperation and collaboration. The three of us who were privileged to be the supervisors of these young people were constantly impressed with the students.
We believe all of us who were on the trip didn't just visit China, we were changed by the experience of engaging with its people, its historic and cultural sites, and especially by building close relationships and discussing world issues with Chinese students from The Experimental High School and other high schools around Beijing. We all came away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the concerns, hopes and aspirations we share with other people from what we have thought of as a far off and distant place.
While the trip has concluded we are confident the benefits and learnings that have occurred during this 10 day adventure will live in through the perspectives, understandings and actions of 19 amazing, intelligent and thoughtful student leaders who are now better positioned to help shape the future of the world we share. If there is anything we have taken away from this trip it is that if our future rests on the attributes, skills and knowledge of the youth today -- if participants of the IYLS 2014 are any indication -- then we can all look forward to a bright and exciting future.
Brant Parker, Deborah Bradbury and Sebastien Fournier