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30 Years of Canada World Youth: A look back

Canada World Youth is founded by the Honourable Jacques Hébert, with the mission of expanding the role of youth in developing their communities and promoting world peace.

The first groups of Canada World Youth participants are sent to Cameroon, Malaysia, Mexico, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.

Ten years after its creation, Canada World Youth has already initiated programs between Canada and more than 25 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Canada World Youth celebrates its 10th anniversary by organizing the North-South Youth Assembly, an international conference of partners from around the world who are interested in getting youth more actively involved in society. The conference results are presented to the United Nations.

Six new exchange countries are introduced: Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Pakistan, Peru, Somalia and Togo.

To mark International Year of Youth, Canada World Youth organizes a six-month pilot project involving 18 former Canada World Youth participants and nine youths from Zaire. Participants are involved in community work while in Zaire, and organize presentations in Canadian communities upon their return.

In collaboration with Oxfam, Canada World Youth provides emergency services to Colombian earthquake victims in the form of financial aid and direct programming for homeless youth.

Canada World Youth continues to diversify programs with the launch of its Work Partner Programs that provide youth with an opportunity to work overseas on projects organized by local groups.

After studying many educational youth programs around the world, the Netherlands initiates a program modeled after Canada World Youth. (Later, Sweden - in 1993 - and Great Britain - in 1999 - will also model programs after Canada World Youth.)

Canada World Youth begins a new program with Sri Lanka and the Coady Institute in which past participants receive training in starting small businesses and cooperatives.

Twelve Canadians and Nicaraguans participate in an exchange program during which participants film a documentary on international development and intercultural relations.

During the project "The Wheels of Change," 12 young people travel by bicycle to communities in Ontario and British Columbia to present workshops on international development, the environment and social justice.

Central and Eastern European programs begin.

200th anniversary of the arrival of the Maroons in Nova Scotia from Jamaica where they escaped British rule. In Halifax, the Maroons played a key role in defending Halifax by building the Maroon Bastion on Citadel Hill. The Maroon Bicentennial Youth Exchange Program celebrates this anniversary. The program focuses on small business development for Black youth from Nova Scotia and Jamaica.

The Honourable Jacques Hébert, founding president of Canada World Youth, publishes Hello, World!, in which he describes the creation of Canada World Youth and the experiences of 18 participants.

Canada World Youth participants meet members of Team Canada in Mumbai (Bombay), India in January 1996, and in Thailand in January 1997.

Canada World Youth and Cégep Marie-Victorin develop a certificate program in community development and intercultural relations, which is accredited by the Quebec Ministry of Education. Over the years, several other universities and colleges offer academic credit to Canada World Youth participants, confirming the educational value of Canada World Youth's programs

Canada World Youth and Oxfam-Quebec mobilize former Canada World Youth participants in less than a week to travel to Honduras and El Salvador to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.

Industry Canada signs a two-year, $8.2-million agreement with Canada World Youth to lead the NetCorps Canada International program. The program permits about 500 interns from nine different organizations to work on information technology projects overseas and in Canadian communities.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien meets with a group of Canada World Youth participants during his official visit to Poland.

The first world conference of Canada World Youth past participants is held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The event's organizers - the Indonesian Association of International Youth Exchange Programs Alumni of Indonesia - give Canada World Youth a place of honour at the conference.

Canada World Youth develops new mission and vision statements with a view to revitalizing the organization and ensuring the ongoing relevance of these statements to its purpose.

Canada World Youth marks its 30th anniversary; to date, more than 20,000 young people have participated in CWY programs in more than 60 countries around the world.

Learn about our programs ››

Canada World Youth designs exciting educational programs for youth (aged 17-29) with a focus on volunteer service and community development in Canada and overseas.

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