Piali Roy

When Master of Public Policy (MPP) alumna Shannon Hazlett (class of 2018) heard about the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., she knew she had to attend. An associate focusing on political risk assessment, corporate financial communications and government relations at Longview Communications and Public Affairs in Calgary, Hazlett wanted to develop her knowledge within her field. An open call for potential delegates from the Young Diplomats of Canada was the answer.

“My work and understanding of the financial sector inspired me to apply to the Spring Meetings,” she says. “Additionally, I wanted to better my knowledge on how financial markets impact the greater global economy.”

Having heard about the Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) from other MPP alumni, Hazlett applied to participate as a delegate. The organization is non-partisan and focuses on how young Canadians can develop diplomatic leadership and international advocacy through participation in events and summits. Hazlett was chosen to be one of six delegates from across the country.

The five-day annual meeting, organized by the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF, covered a range of topics from climate change to sustainable development and finance. Held only blocks away from the White House, the event hosted over 4500 attendees representing governments, NGOs, civil society and media from around the world.

Bilateral meetings held at the Canadian Embassy were top of the agenda for the team from YDC, where they discussed the challenges of multilateral diplomacy, post-crisis adaptation and resilience building, and increasing youth voices within institutions. They had the opportunity to meet with Christine Hogan, executive director of Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean at the World Bank; Assistant Director Paul A. Cashin and members of the Asia and Pacific Department for the IMF; and Dr. Maryse Robert, director of economic development at the Organization of American States.

While at the Spring Meetings, Hazlett was struck by how much more work needs to be done, even in advanced economies like Canada’s. The group spoke with Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau about Canadian youth engagement and they also heard his New Zealand counterpart talk about the country’s new well-being budget. They attended sessions on gender equality, foreign direct investment, and boosting investment in people and infrastructure.

“As a Canadian youth interested in politics and policy, it was important to me to attend these meetings and ensure Canadian youth voices were included in the conversation,” says Hazlett.

“The overall experience provided me the incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a variety of senior officials,” she says. “I definitely recommend this opportunity to any Canadian youth; the experience was invaluable.”

May 31, 2019