November 14, 2018

BY MATTHEW EVANGELISTA

On March 15, Conestoga hosted Lucie Edwards, a retired foreign affairs officer, whose talk was titled “Sleeping with the Elephant: Surviving and thriving through the Trump administration.” The atrium was filled with students and faculty as Edwards talked policy and fielded questions from the crowd on Canadian/American relations, as well as foreign relations.

Edwards spoke from her 33 years’ of experience working for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. She served in the Canadian embassies in Tel Aviv (1977-1980) and in South Africa, under apartheid (1986-89). From 1993-1995, she was the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya. She currently teaches global politics, Canadian foreign policy and environmental policy in the political science department at the University of Waterloo.

Contrary to the title of her talk, there was less focus on Trump and more on Canada’s unique position in the world. Like how our land mass is gigantic compared to our overall population, or how one of our biggest exports to the United States is fossil fuels.

“The United States pretty much has two partners, and we all live in North America together,” she said, adding the average American doesn’t understand how important Canada is to their economy.
Students responded well to the topics of discussion, and contributed heavily to the question and answer period Edwards hosted after her talk ended.

Some students were just glad it was more than what they’re used to when the topic of Trump is brought up.

“I thought it was very informative, and I liked how she branched out to numerous areas – both economics, international politics, some social issues, and I thought she delivered a very informed opinion on how we should act in terms of Canada and our place in the world in relation to what’s going on in the U.S. and the Trump administration,” said one student.

Another student had similar sentiments.

“I found it a little different than what I expected, but it was still very informative and interesting and relevant.”

The event ended with a catered lunch and with a small quote by Margaret Mead.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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