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Trudeau visited IIMA Campus to deliver talk on Education & Investment Opportunities


With the RJM Auditorium filled up to its capacity, the IIMA welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into the Campus on February 19, 2018. He was here to deliver a talk on ‘Education and Investment Opportunities’.


Trudeau spoke about gender balance, and the strengths of having a heterogeneous society. He emphasised how differences can become a source of strength –“something that India and Canada have done fairly well” and “can do better”.


Calling himself a “feminist“, Trudeau also said “we as a society” are under-performing as women are not being given an opportunity to contribute to their full potential. He elaborated, “I am a feminist. It is a word with certain connotation, loaded with meaning, but at the very root of it is very simple. If you think man and woman ought to be equal, and ought to have same opportunities, and if you recognise that there is still a lot of work to do to get there, you are also a feminist,” Trudeau said.


He stressed that understanding that empowering women is not just the right or nice thing to do, but “it’s the smart thing to do”, is extremely important. “Any comments about how a man looks isn’t even an eyelash worth of the systemic discrimination women face. As a man in business and politics, I had lots of advantage but I didn’t go near discrimination, sexism, superficiality and judgement that women go through daily.” He added, “We are under-performing as society because we are not giving women the opportunity to contribute, we are not allowing them the opportunity to fulfill their full potential. We cannot have a successful society or economy if you have 50 per cent of population not contributing as fully as they should.”


On achieving a heterogeneous society he emphasised that, “The new reality of the 21st century is going to be more and more heterogeneous community and society, and the biggest challenge we are going to have as species is doing something that India and Canada have done fairly well- that is to understand how differences can become a source of strength,” he said.


“India as a pluralistic place has always done reasonably well, and can always do better like we (Canada) can do better, particularly with our indigenous people,” he further elaborated.


Speaking at IIM-A, the Canadian PM stated that while the Indo-Canadian bilateral trade stood at $8 billion in goods and $2 billion in services, it had the potential to grow, especially in the farm sector.


Talking about peace and non-violence, the Canadian PM invoked Mahatma Gandhi and said, “It takes a tremendous amount of strength to be strong, without having to be aggressive, without having to pick fights, instead of looking to better understand each other, to better question yourself.”


Talking about refugees, Trudeau said, the universal beacon of hope must be maintained and upheld with calm firmness. The refugees, he said, end up working extra hard for the country that takes them in. It is more necessary than ever to show compassion to them.


On politics: He insisted that, one should stay hopeful, “Be most afraid of Cynicism. It is easy and lazy to be cynical. It is harder to be hopeful and strive for the best for the society. You have the gift of education but we have to make sure everyone has that.”


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