REGINA – The federal and provincial governments are showcasing Saskatchewan to the largest group of foreign diplomats the province has ever hosted. Regina welcomed 50 diplomats Monday for an economic mission.
“Saskatchewan is a province of the future. It’s a province of amazing people, and we came here to explore the possibility of exchange,” explained Croatian ambassador, Veselko Grubisic.
The diplomats’ three-day itinerary includes tours of a potash mine, RCMP “depot” division, and SaskPower’s boundary dam carbon capture project. The diplomats will also attend the opening of session at the legislature on Wednesday.
“My hope for this forum is that when they report back to their home countries, they have a firsthand experience of all that’s going on in Saskatchewan,” said House of Commons speaker, Andrew Scheer.
More than just international trade, the discussions this week will centre largely around people. Of particular interest to many of the diplomats is partnerships in education and more international exchanges for post-secondary students.
“Our population is young and our population is hungry for knowledge,” said Zimbabwean ambassador, Florence Zano Chideya.
The University of Saskatchewan already has a joint degree program with a university in Norway – Zano Chideya would like to see similar joint programs with her country.
“I know this is something I can easily convince my government we are looking at and it can easily be adapted,” she said.
More international collaboration is part of the Saskatchewan government’s education growth plan:
“Increasing the number of international students here in the province and to increase the number of students from Saskatchewan who go to study abroad,” said Kevin Doherty, advanced education minister.
Doherty wants the exchange of students to actually lead to more solid economic partnerships in the future.
“Students will come here and study in this province and go back to their respective countries. They end up in senior management positions in large organizations or indeed in government at the very top level of the bureaucracy or even in elected positions and they remember fondly – hopefully they remember fondly, their time here in Saskatchewan,” he said.