SURREY – British Columbia’s second largest and probably the fastest developing municipal area, Surrey, was one of the most important places to be on Thursday’s morning gathering in one sole location business, political and expert communities to discuss current and future economic development, political impact on it and need to run business on different model if society wants to be successful or able to provide all needs to future generations. Blending together experienced economic experts and writers, following with inspirational Kielburger brother duo, and closing circle with two former US Presidents organizers offer great chance to approximately 500 people to understand current economic, society and political challenges, considering what’s the best option for the future or which approach will give the best results in domestic or international relations.

Due to extremely well planing and abilities to bring together great intellect Surrey placed itself once more on the map of the most important business gatherings in Canada. Honor to open Surrey Regional Economic Summit (SRES) was awarded to honorary chair Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and BC Premier Christy Clark, both emphasizing importance of investing in future generations and BC’s jobs creation abilities, successes and plans. On the other side practical organization work on this important business event was awarded to City Councillor and one of the strongest community leaders Linda Hepner, who was helped by other Councillors including Barinder Rasode, Tom Gill, Barbara Steele and Mary Martin.

While business people were gathering inside Sheraton Hotel ballroom several dozens of protesters come outside on 104th Avenue protesting against former US President George W. Bush and his supposed war crimes committed during his eight years at The White House.  But as we saw that during these protests and after them they didn’t only attack former President, but also Mayor Watts displaying posters in which she was equalized with Mr. Bush adding to that called to re-elect Mayor. Same group of people damaged one of Surrey First election campaign posters displaying Mayor Watts and her colleagues in bid for new term at The City Council which will be decided on November 19th.

Linda Hepner and Esmir Milavic (Photo: B. Rasode)

“The changing World Economic Order: Asia, America and the new Global Economy” was the opening session of the Fourth SRES featuring seasoned economic experts and writers Pam Woodall from The Economist Magazine and John Fund columnist for The Wall Street Journal. As it was expected this session as any other economic discussion these days started in Europe’s biggest failure and danger Greece, enlisting once more all internal and external problems caused by serious neglect of previous generations and governments. According to Fund who’s expertise on world financial issues and relations is undoubted Greece will continue facing challenges up to the moment when starts changing it’s own political and financial system. In his opinion we’ll probably never saw that situation because Greece taxation system which is one of the most important for countries rejuvenation is totally corrupt.

“While I was talking with their tax chief I learned tax system reform is impossible to be implemented because it’s run by mafia. That’s reality and probably wouldn’t be changed any time soon. I also think that several European countries including Greece should be removed from Euro zone”, said Fund.

On Greece case both panelists agreed default will be imminent and will come for sure over next several weeks or months if something doesn’t change suddenly, Pam Woodall express her opinion regarding Greece membership in Euro zone saying this country should be removed from it but it is hard to expect that due to all benefits which coming from membership and funds available for future spending. When it comes to second most important economic question today: relations between USA and China, Woodall who posses great knowledge on China, said pointed out that previous expectation were China will surpass USA as world leading economy around 2040, based on current situation expected surpass will happen in or around 2020. Biggest problem to relations between these two important economic superpowers is based in currency and trade disputes, and it is expected this trend will continue next year during presidential elections when China will be used as major excuse for all problems in US economy world.

Pam Woodall was first among speakers to praise Canadian education system pointing out US failure to keep up high standards and quality which placed it on 51-52 place on world ranking list, while Canada which was way behind US in the past currently sits on position number 8.

Following this dynamic expert duo stage was “occupied” by Free The Children Co-Founders, wunderkinds, Craig and Marc Kielburger giving inspiration to business and political leaders through panel symbolically titled: Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders: The Challenge for Canadian Business. When you saw them at the stage your first thought would be: they’re just average young men in well tailored suites, but when they start speaking Kielburgers show you that they’re not average young men, but great leaders in non-governmental sector inspiring thousands and thousands of young people to pursue their dream and change this world. Every day Kielburger work makes the most unfortunate children to smile, give them a hope and opens new horizons in their lives. One of the most powerful messages sent out to CEO’s and leaders sitting in the Sheraton ballroom was to teach one young employees and leaders a fact that somewhere out there is something bigger and much more important than themselves.

To me second most important message sent by Kielburgers was to teach ourselves and young leaders to be grateful for everything and to express our gratitude to everyone who’s working or interacting with us on a daily basis. Gratitude is one of the most important elements in our way to success in non-governmental sector, but also in any other business or everyday life sector, according to Kielburgers.

This is not last time that large crowds, way smaller than they usual public, will learn something from two powerful historic persons  regarding interpersonal and multicultural relations on behalf of help to those in need. Kielburger brothers and those who collaborate with them will continue to attend famous We-Day and to teach young leaders importance of We above Me, and importance of volunteer work helping making someones future looking much better or at least promising.

“Once we visited Kenya to building new school in one village when black clouds arrived very fast and strong pouring rain force us to run into the houses for cover, but as soon as we reach cover we saw locals running in opposite direction. They hold their children above their heads making them play with rain and enjoy that moment, an elder approach us and told us they’re going out to celebrate rain and growth which will come as result of rain. Can you imagine us going outside in Vancouver and celebrate rain and growth”, Kielburger’s said to attendees.

Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the Summit stage (Photo: E. Milavic)

While attendees still try to digest all powerful information’s and thoughts said and shown by Kielburger brothers stage become a focal point for another historic moment, especially for city and community like Surrey, which is changing itself from suburb to modern and well organized metropolitan area. It is rare, and utmost significant occasion, to have two former US presidents at one place in one moment outside US borders to discuss current and past evens or issues, expressing their thoughts on relations between former and incumbent presidents and their foreign counterparts.

As we all know Presidents Clinton and Bush are representatives of totally different political but also life style and understandings of current issues. Important observation which comes from their conversation at SRES shows public attitude towards former unofficial world leaders. Clinton received five applause and two or three laughs, and his successor at The White House received totally different appreciation gifts from attendees, more laughs than applause. Clinton’s thoughts were powerful, direct and more impacting on listeners, while Bush’s were more interesting to listen without any need to go back to them or reflect on their substance.

Talking about recent global economic crisis Clinton express his amazement with Canadian success to protect banks and financial system without loosing any of them due to recession, acknowledging some big or small blows to overall economy during hardest recession months. In his opinion which was very welcomed by public current American financial and economic problems will be solved in decent future, with necessity of hard work on several issues including corporate taxes, mortgages and eventual creation of national infrastructure bank which will help faster economy recovery. Clinton hopes that long term activities and strong devotion to reforms will help US to tackle all problems and resolve current issues on behalf of their and world citizens.

“Market doesn’t like uncertainty and we need to do something regarding that as soon as possible. I’m not expecting any economic growth before next presidential elections, at least not in that amount which will give us a chance to say ‘America is back”, said Bush adding that Clinton expectations of non-partisan initiatives are not highly expected because politics were and they’re contact sport always requiring fight.

Following discussion on good and bad elements of their presidential terms President Clinton called everyone in the room, and everyone in the world, to understand that without future planing generations to come will have hard road in front of them.

“Since first generations main problem is when you build something and left it to the people who are thinking only about present instead of future. Developed societies must to think not about our generations but about our grandchildren generations if we want to success”, said Clinton.

On matter of two really important world economies, China and India, both presidents express their fascination and disappointment with current state of economy and living standards or human rights in both. On his behalf Clinton express fascination with India’s entrepreneurship which is followed with great success on one side, and he’s disappointment with rising poverty in this overpopulated Asian country. To George W. Bush who’s biggest nightmare was possible second terrorist attack on US soil big, keeping him avake at night, surprise come from Chinese president Hu Jintao who told him that he’s only night mare is how to open 25 million jobs per year. Anyways Bush said that he’s still appealed with the state of human rights in China, which doesn’t make him happy.
Fifth SRES next year will be celebratory gathering of business, political and community leaders, and probably we will see some new interesting and powerful guests sharing their thoughts and words, maybe in totally different and better economic, political and human rights situation in the world.