Plenty of opportunities for involvement with G-8

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As the 2002 G-8 in Kananaskis country draws near, members of the University of Calgary community intend to get the public and students informed.

"People are searching for answers to their questions and explanations to various events," said U of C Associate Vice-President Academic Jim Frideres. "We have a number of scholars on campus who can answer those questions [and] we wanted to share our expertise with the community."

Accordingly, the U of C will host several seminars beginning March 6 on topics such as "Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality," "Everything You Wanted to Know About the G-8," "Human Rights and the Aftermath of September 11," and "RCMP, Calgary Police and G-8 Conflict Resolution."

"The Faculty of Continuing Education is offering a modularized class on G-8 issues, taking place in the spring," added Frideres. "We are holding our own 'mini conference' on Africa, organized by Dean of Social Science Dr. Stephen Randall and his colleagues from the University of Toronto. Also we will be bringing in major national and international leaders to [publicly] address G-8 issues."

In addition to gaining academic perspectives, students can get more actively involved.

"There are a lot of groups and activities [students] can get involved in to work on G-8," said Calgary G-8 Action Coordinating Team Member Melissa Scaman. "There is a community building group, a media relations group, legal or medical teams, logistics, or more specifically issues like poverty, human rights or the environment."

In addition, a coalition of local and national non-government organizations will host a G-8 counter-conference, the Group of Six Billion, on the U of C campus in June. The name of the conference is meant to reflect the inclusion of the entire global citizenry.

"The conference will focus on an alternate view of what human security means," said U of C Masters' Social Work student Jenny Saarinen. "G-6B will focus on increasing equality among the peoples of the developed and developing world in areas of income, health, education, justice, capacity, human rights and a safe environment."

In the interest of public dialogue and participation, students and the public are encouraged to attend the events of G-6B and the many other events on campus.

"We believe it is important for students and all citizens to be involved because an informed and active public citizenry is an essential element in true democracy," said Saarinen. "The conference will bring renowned speakers and facilitators to explore the meaning and implications of growing international economic interdependency and all sessions will have a focus on the issues of Africa."

Frideres agreed and added his encouragement to Saarinen's.

"We hope that students will become active in participating in the events to be held on campus," he said.

For more information on U of C seminars and G-6B, visit or For information on Calgary G-8 Action, visit




I recently heard that Naomi Klein is speaking on G8 issues and would like to know when and where.