Gina Stephens, Coordinator of the G8 Research Group - comments on the Student Program
On behalf of the G8 Research Group I would like to give a heartfelt welcome to President Amato.
Your Excellency, as you can see from the previous comments of my associates, the G8 Research Group is a truly global network that advances all areas of G8 scholarship - from the classroom, to print, to the world wide web. Even with our global reach however, we are always thankful for the excellent support that our research program is given here at the University of Toronto.
Throughout the academic year, our Group works to produce extensively researched Country, Issue and Compliance reports that highlight not only the most salient topics that the Summit will undertake, but also investigate whether or not Summit members are keeping the promises that they have made in their Communiqué. We are the self-appointed scrutineers of the Summit as an institution - and we are also its conscience. Our work continues at the Summit site itself, as our finely tuned country teams and issue area specialists attend all briefings and work together to construct a comprehensive view of Summit events as they unfold. In addition to research and analytical work, our Group also collects the otherwise transient documentation released at the Summit. These documents are later added to our physical collection that resides at the Trinity Library here at the University, making this collection a valuable research resource to the scholars from around the world that come to Toronto to study the G8, an organization that has no central secretariat.
As mentioned earlier, another function our Group performs is that of teaching. Our student Research Group is perhaps our most prized asset, for its work does much to advance not only knowledge of the G8, but the cause of scholarship in general. Our Group here at UofT is comprised not only of distinguished faculty, graduate students and young professionals, but also of undergraduate students who are afforded the ability to expand the horizons of their university education and to see international events unfold before their eyes. The G8 Research Group allows these students to take the knowledge that they learn in the classroom and apply it in a real world setting. The value of this experience is proven by the illustrious career paths later taken by our Alumni. Former Research Group members now work in the IMF, the WTO, the OECD, the Canadian and American foreign services, news organizations such as CNN, and corporate financial institutions … to name just a few professions. Many, like myself, also go on to advanced studies at the Ph.D. level, allowing us then to teach what we have learned to others. Our alumni often remain in close contact with the Research Group, thereby offering an unprecedented level of mentorship to new members, which in turn encourages their own career opportunities. The Research Group experience, therefore is valuable beyond what I can express and one that we are proud to share with you today.
Your Excellency, I thank you for taking an interest in the work that we do here at the University of Toronto and abroad. Our Group looks forward to attending this year's summit in Genoa and we wish you the best in Italy's chairmanship of the G8 this year.
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