Seven Canadians including a federal cabinet minister, the director of an organization that promotes political participation and the former president of a Quebec political party are among 215 people named this year to the World Economic Forum's special team of young leaders.
The aim of the Young Global Leaders program is to help the participants, each of whom is appointed to a six year-term, to turn their personal successes into achievements of global significance. The class of 2014 was selected from thousands of nominees around the world, all under the age of 40, who have strong track records of accomplishment.
"I'm flattered to receive this honour from an organization as esteemed as the World Economic Forum," said Industry Minister James Moore, who was among the Canadians appointed on Tuesday.
The the others include Dominique Anglade, the former president of Coalition Avenir Québec, who is the president of Montreal International, Ailish Campbell, who is a vice-president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Alison Loat, who is the co-founder and executive director of Samara, which promotes democratic participation, Shahrzad Rafati, who is the founder and chief executive of Broadband TV Corp., Nolan Watson, who is the chair and CEO of Sandstorm Gold Metals and Energy, and Michelle Zatlyn, who is the co-founder and head of user experience at CloudFlare, a web security and performance company.
David Aikman, a managing director at the World Economic Forum, said in a telephone interview Monday that the purpose of the Young Leaders Forum is to help the next generation tackle the world's big problems.
Most of the major challenges in the world today "exist because of divides across sectors, between cultures, across national boundaries," said Mr. Aikman. "So if this generation of leaders can get to know each other, get to work together well across these boundaries, that's going to serve the world well in the long term.
Ms. Anglade, an engineer who left the Coalition Avenir Québec to head an organization created to promote the economic development of Montreal, said the appointment is an honour. "When I think about the next five years and I think about all the people I am going to meet," said Ms. Anglade, "I want to leverage the fact that I really love my country, I really love my city, I want to promote where we are."
Ms. Loat, whose organization focuses on the health of democracy in Canada, said Western nations have spent a lot of time and energy trying to export democracy to other nations without looking critically at how well their own systems are working. "The opportunity to bring some of Samara's work to a wider audience is just a tremendously exciting opportunity for all of us here," she said.
Ms. Campbell, a former federal government executive, said she hopes the program will allow her and the other Canadian appointees to bring more of Canada to the world. "The next challenge for our generation and our children's generation is the increasing diversification of Canada's networks and customers to new markets," she said. "I plan on using the [World Economic Forum] network as a way of connecting Canada to those newer markets."
Ms. Zatlyn, whose company has more than 1.5 million customers around the world, said the appointment is a recognition of the tough work of her team at CloudFlare, which was named a "technology pioneer" by the World Economic Forum three years ago. "I am excited to build relationships with those other young global leaders around the world was well as the folks behind the forum," she said.
And Ms. Rafati, who launched BroadbandTV in 2007 and helped it grow into a leading digital entertainment and technology company, said it is an honour to join such a diverse group of people having a positive impact on the world. "Despite being incredibly busy professionals," she said in a statement, "all of these leaders work very hard to make a difference; being recognized like this spurs them on to work even harder."