Young Ukrainians will return to Europe inspired by Canadian democracy after they met with Speaker of the Senate George Furey.
Speaker Furey addressed 35 Ukrainian interns to share with them the lessons he’s gleaned from his years of public service. His invitation to meet and take questions from the interns was fuelled by his own passion for education.
“Having worked in the field of education for several years in Newfoundland and Labrador, I attach a particular importance to educational programs and internships, such as the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program, as they offer opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and values in a unique way. During your internship, not only will you learn about our political system and how it functions, but it will help you acquire key qualities to become the future leaders and decision makers of your country," shared Speaker Furey during the meeting.
The interns are working on Parliament Hill for a two-month period as part of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program, an initiative that’s brought over 800 young Ukrainians to the Hill over the past 25 years to get an inside look at Canada’s Parliament
Oksana Matiyash said she felt motivated and energized by Speaker Furey’s speech.
“In Ukraine, we have nothing like this,” she said. “Once we’re back in Ukraine we’ll for sure take part in reforms based on the experiences gained here inCanada.”
Evelina Ibraimova said programs like this one are central to Canada’s promotion of democracy abroad.
“This program helps us learn from Canada and bring experience and knowledge back home,” Ibraimova said. “Lots of former interns in this very program are now in government as ministers or MPs and the majority of us want to pursue careers in public service.”
“Ukraine is at the nascent stages of democracy right now and I feel like we need more educated, motivated young people to change things.”
"You have been provided with an opportunity to learn about the principles of democratic government and parliamentary procedures in Canada, and I wish you all the very best as you begin your internship," concluded the Speaker.