Asia Connects / Cherchons l’Asie

Conference Report


Asia Connects is the first multi-media youth conference
to reach thousands of youth.

The collective energy of 600 youth over a six day period produced this report. They listened and questioned panelists. In their teams, they discussed, argued, explained and recommended. At the computer, they wrote, revised, translated their recommendations and posted them on the internet. All recommendations were reviewed by the teams for consensus. Their recommendations are the outcome of this process, in the hope that they will be considered seriously and some implemented.

The major objective of the conference was to bring together Canadian and Asian youth to identify and appreciate similarities and differences between contemporary Canada and Asia. Activities concentrated on making Asia a part of student life, thereby strengthening the long-term relationships between Canada and Asia. Emphasis was placed on developing skills, particularly with respect to multimedia technology, cross-cultural communication and accessing resources, networks and information. Delegates also developed learning activities which will be used in a proto-type education kit for youth on Asia Pacific topics.

Winnipeg was the national site of Asia Connects, with 200 delegates: senior high school and CEGEP students from across Canada; delegations from the Philippines and Malaysia (APEC hosts in '96 and '98 respectively); and a delegation from Taiwan. International students studying in Canada from other Asian countries participated as resource persons and facilitators. Simultaneously, 400 youth gathered at conferences held in ten multi-sites across Canada. Youth from UNICEF programs in Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam participated at some of the multi-sites. Recommendations from all sites are included in this report.

The conference opened with Canada and Malaysia’s Foreign Ministers addressing all sites from Winnipeg through video conference links. During the week, six thought provoking panels in Winnipeg were broadcast on the internet on CUSeeMe. All sites used telephone line video links, courtesy of Corel and Bell Learning Solutions, for pre-arranged discussions between sites. Twenty-four hours a day, youth in Canada, Asia and Latin America were linked on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) web chats.

High schools in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan, as well as approximately 3,000 individuals participated on the Internet site at Established in April 1997, it has received thousands of hits.

This report will be presented to Minister Axworthy at the closing ceremonies, which will be viewed by the "virtual" conference. Delegates will view a video taped message from Prime Minister, Jean ChrÈtien. The final version of the conference report will be presented to the Prime Minister at the APEC Leaders meeting in Vancouver in November.

Asia Connects, Canada’s Year of Asia Pacific national youth conference, presented by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in co-operation with The Students Commission/TG Mag, was sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, with additional support from Human Resources Development Canada, Canadian International Development Agency, and Canadian Heritage, as well as numerous local and national sponsors.


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© 1997 - TG Magazine / The Students Commission
© 1997 le magazine TG / la Commission des Ètudiants