The Conference Board of Canada, the Centre for the North (CFN) was established in 2009 to research the challenges and opportunities faced on the road to creating a strong, safe, healthy and prosperous North. Toward achieving that goal, the CFN has focused on assembling Aboriginal leaders, community representatives, businesses, governments and academics to approach the questions of how challenges can be met and opportunities seized while respecting the priorities of Northerners.
From October 11-13 the CFN did just that with their forward thinking forum, Canada’s North Beyond 2011. The goal? To provide a platform for all Northern stakeholders ‘to meet and work toward a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the North’.
The event boasted 35 speakers, including Phil Fontaine (Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations) and Charles A. Emmerson (Geopolitical Specialist and Senior Research fellow at Chatham House, United Kingdom). In addition to the impressive collection of speakers and panelists, input from attendees was given significant priority as most presentations incorporated group discussions and brainstorming sessions to tap into their opinions, priorities and ideas on governance, resource development, community security, infrastructure and human capital.
With the Northern youth population skyrocketing, it was impossible to ignore their overwhelming significance in creating a vision for the future. As such, youth entrepreneurship and education were insightfully addressed in keynote presentations from Mary Simon (President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami) and The Right Honourable Paul Martin (Former Prime Minister of Canada and Founder of the Martin Aboriginal Initiative). More on some of the significant ideas that were discussed will be presented in future editions of above&beyond in 2012.