Mount Allison University is holding the first edition of an exciting new initiative on Oct. 26. The Mansbridge Summit, hosted by Mount Allison Chancellor Peter Mansbridge, brings together students and national experts for a day of debate and discussion around the theme of energy and the environment.
One of the highlights of the day is an innovative simulation exercise that gives students the chance to take on the roles of cabinet ministers, NGO executives, and civil servants, among others, and go through the process of developing a public policy. The policy they develop to guide Canada’s energy and environment sectors into the post-recession era will be presented publicly during an evening plenary session.
“The Summit is an unmatched opportunity for undergraduates to engage with ideas of national importance and to get a feel for what it takes to make and change public policy,” says Dr. Karen Grant, Mount Allison’s provost and vice-president, academic and research. “It is also a unique chance to hear a youth perspective on two issues that are of paramount importance to Canadians and for which long-term solutions are a necessity.”
A number of civil servants, pollsters, journalists, energy and environment experts, and otherprominent Canadians will be sharing their knowledge and insight throughout the day. A panel discussion in Brunton Auditorium in the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music at 2 p.m. will feature Elizabeth Weir, the current research fellow-in-residence with the Urban and Community Studies Institute at the University of New Brunswick and founding President and CEO of Efficiency NB; and William Lahey, associate professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, chair of the board of directors of Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation, and vice-chair of the NovaScotia Health Research Foundation.
Public opinion researcher Nik Nanos will deliver the keynote speech during the evening plenary session at Convocation Hall, beginning at 7:15 p.m. Both the panel discussion and the plenary session are open to all and admission is free.
“Public policy is not something that is well understood, even though it impacts many facets of our lives,” says Dr. Craig Brett, a Mount Allison economics professor and Canada Research Chair in Canadian Public Policy. “The Summit is an excellent means to introduce students — our future decision and policy makers — to what public policy is, how it is made, and how it can be changed.”