Having traversed the globe to broaden their understanding about global business, the last thing Marcus Donovan and Matthew Peter Bassett expected was an opportunity to meet their Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, in Singapore.
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia respectively, Canadians Marcus and Matthew are both pursuing their MBAs at NUS Business School.
They had the opportunity to engage with Mr Trudeau, who was in Singapore to attend the 33rd ASEAN Summit. Both Marcus and Matthew took part in a dialogue together with some 400 members of the NUS community about Canada’s growing trade relationship with Singapore and Asia. They also had the privilege to get up close and personal with Mr Trudeau in a meet-and-greet session, where he very kindly offered to have his picture taken with each of the students in attendance.
“Meeting Mr Trudeau in person gave me a lot of appreciation for how personable, warm and approachable he actually is, and I can easily see him fully utilizing these qualities in his leadership style,” said Matthew.
To kick the dialogue off, Mr Trudeau shared a fun fact about his connection to Singapore – he is a descendant of William Farquhar, the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore.
Mr Trudeau also faced some tough and interesting questions, including the role of human rights in Canada’s foreign policy.
“I was impressed with PM Trudeau’s thoughtful, balanced responses and came away from the dialogue feeling proud to have such an eloquent and charismatic PM representing Canada on the world stage,” added Matthew.
In addition to trade, Mr Trudeau also spoke about the global debate on multilateralism and the rise nationalist populism around the world.
“Multiculturalism is something to be recognized and celebrated as it certainly is in both Singapore and Canada. As a future manager, this is something I can certainly take away and put into practise and to ensure the environment I give my team is inclusive, supportive and celebrates diversity,” said Marcus.
As the session wound down, Mr Trudeau emphasised that everyone should work towards a world with greater opportunities for all.
“The more we talk together, the more we learn from each other, the more we trade with each other, the more we respect each other, and the more we understand that our differences are actually the source of our greatest strength and resilience as communities and as a world, the better off we’ll all be in the lives we’re building together,” he concluded.