Pinoys on Parliament (PoP) holds its second annual national youth leadership conference on February 22 and 23 in the Ottawa Art Gallery and University of Ottawa. The theme for this year’s conference is Magkasama highlighting panel discussions on politics, leadership in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and Filipino Canadian identity.
Organizers of PoP launched its first national conference last year after realizing that there were very few Canadians of Filipino descent who work in government or actively engage in politics. PoP executive members sought to answer the question: What kind of stories do our people have to tell? In an email exclusive with Canadian Filipino Net (CFNet), PoP’s Karla Atanacio shared that the organizers thought to create a space where Filipino Canadian youth can connect and learn from each other. “The founding members of Pinoys on Parliament sought out connections in Ottawa and elsewhere in an effort to make this vision a reality,” Atanacio said.
Over a hundred Filipino Canadian youth from across Canada participated in the first conference. Last year’s conference theme of “Lift While You Climb” takes inspiration from the Filipino value of bayanihan and “in the idea that Filipinos have a moral duty to share their wealth and knowledge with their kapwa (fellow men).
There are two hundred spots for delegates between the ages of 17 and 28 for this year’s conference which will have Dr. Gigi Osler as keynote speaker. Osler is the first female surgeon and woman of colour to be elected president of the Canadian Medical Association.
The panel discussion on Pinoys on Parliament on February 22 will be led by Jon Reyes, Manitoba MLA for the new constituency of Waverley, Elle Galupo, Regional Advisor with the Ministry of Families, Children and Social Development and Clement Nocos, policy analyst for Natural Resources Canada.
On February 23, a panel discussion on Filipino Leaders in STEM will be led by Dr. Osler, University of Alberta’s Dr. Carla Hilario, co-founder of the Montreal AI Ethics Institute RenjieButalid, and senior scientist and project manager of the University of British Columbia’s Sea Around Us Dr. Lourdes Palomares. Artist Eric Tigley, entrepreneur Gelaine Santiago and writer/researcher Jennilee Austria will lead the panel discussion on the Filipino Canadian identity.
In addition to the panel discussions, the conference will also offer workshops and a community symposium where delegates can learn about organizations in Canada.POP also created a six-month mentorship program that will match delegates with Filipino Canadian leaders in sectors and areas of expertise who have interests and work that they are interested in.