Distinguished U of T graduate is the perfect fit, says Director General
BY: Kate McCullough
The North American Model United Nations has featured an impressive roster of Keynote Speakers over the years – Stephen Lewis, Preston Manning, and Brian Tobin, to name a few – and this year proves to be no exception. NAMUN 2014 has announced that former Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Bill Graham, will be joining an estimated 350 staff and delegates as NAMUN 2014's keynote speaker for the Conference's Opening Ceremony February 20.
“We wanted someone that is recognizable to Canadians but also around the world because we have a lot of American delegates,” said Larysa Workewych, Director General for NAMUN 2014, who is responsible for organizing the Keynote Speaker. “Bill Graham fits all of this criteria.”
A five-time Member of Parliament representing Toronto Centre, Graham served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2004, and as Minister of National Defence from 2004 to 2006 – two important offices at a very crucial time.
“He was in Parliament right after the aftermath of 9/11, so he’s dealt with a lot of the issues that still remain in global politics today,” Workewych said. Graham was also appointed interim leader of the Liberal Party and Official Opposition in 2006.
Graham played a large role in Canada’s decision not to join the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, but remains candid about his involvement.
“It was a defining moment for Canada and Canadian foreign policy…but the decision was the Prime Minister’s. It’s like a Shakespearean play: I wasn’t the king, but I was one of the Earls. It was a very important moment in Canadian history, and anyone involved was glad they were,” Bill Graham told The Globe and Mail in March 2013 – exactly one decade after the invasion.
“Canada's decision in the Iraq War really defined the last decade of foreign policy,” said Sammy Lau, NAMUN 2014’s Secretary General. “I think Bill Graham will be perfect in terms of shedding some light on what decisions politicians in that area have to make and how they go about making those decisions.”
Not only has Graham had years of experience at the helm of Canadian policymaking on both national and international levels, but he also has a strong affiliation with the University of Toronto, something that Lau and Workewych stressed when considering keynote speakers. Graham received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Toronto, and currently serves as the Chancellor of Trinity College. “We wanted to showcase who it is that has come out of our university,” Workewych said.
Click here to learn more about the 2014 Keynote Speaker. For press information, please contact Larysa Workewych at firstname.lastname@example.org.