The Undergraduate Economics Council hosted their first annual conference on the weekend of January 18, attended by UTM students and staff, as well as five governmental public figures.

Ambassadors Farid Shafiyev (Azerbaijan) and Dienne Hardianti Moehario (Indonesia), and consul generals Ali Riza Guney (Turkey), Akhilesh Mishra (India), and Mohammad Nafees Zakaria (Pakistan) flew in from Ottawa to attend the two-day event, held in collaboration with UTMSU’s Ministry of Academic Affairs.

The audience of some 100 people consisted primarily of students from various programs, including not only economics but also political science and life science. According to a UEC executive, one of the organization’s goals was to include a variety of interested students.

The event, whose topic was “emerging markets”, began in IB120 with a panel discussion moderated by the UEC’s VP external relations, Serhat Ongen. For each country in question, the panelists discussed what makes the country an emerging market.

Also included in the debate were issues such as the obstacles each country faces, and its long-term economic growth goals, including its economic relationship with Canada.

After the discussion, the honorary guests and attendees were invited to a lunch at the Blind Duck at which students could network and speak to the officials face-to-face.

The conference also included a competition designed by the UEC executives in which students worked in groups to present the key economic and political problems for an assigned country and identify feasible solutions. Fourteen emerging market groups were represented, and first place was won by the Poland group.

UEC executives expressed disappointment at the low turnout of UTM faculty and staff. Invitations were widely sent out to faculty and staff, including Principal Deep Saini, but only three attended: Kathleen Wong and Christopher D’Souza of the Department of Economics and Andrew Graham of the Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre.