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Camosun Professional Accounting student witnesses inauguration

Lulu Yuan at the Obama inaugration.February 16, 2009

With support from a number of sponsors, Camosun College Professional Accounting student Lulu Yuan witnessed one of the U.S.’s most significant events in history on Jan. 20: the inauguration of the first-ever African-American leader. Yuan was invited along with 5,000 other students to attend the University Presidential Inaugural Conference.

Q. What are you studying currently?

I completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Victoria in December 2008 with a specialization in General Management. I’m now enrolled in the Professional Accounting Certificate program at Camosun College. I am currently an articling student with KPMG Victoria and I plan to become a Chartered Accountant.

Q. Where is your home city?

Shanghai, China

Q. What is your academic pathway (where did you go to high school, college, university)?

I studied the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program in high school in Shanghai, China. IB a rigorous and challenging program of international education for students aged 16 to 19. Upon graduation, I began university studies at UVic as a second year student due to advanced standing based on my IB diploma courses.

Q. What motivated you to attend the University Presidential Inaugural Conference?

I was nominated and invited to participate at UPIC because I am an alumnae of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council of the United States of America as I attended their Global Young Leaders Conference in 2005.

Q. What happened at the conference?

It was a five-day conference packed with public and private inaugural events as well as keynote speakers such as former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. There were 5,000 students at the conference. We attended seminars and panels based on our interest. I attended a number of interesting speaker forums featuring well known American political experts and journalists. Yes, there were other Canadian students at the conference. I remember meeting more than a dozen, some were studying in the US.

Lulu Yuan at the Obama inaugration.Q. What was the energy like surrounding the inauguration and Obama?

The energy surrounding the inauguration and Obama was incredible. I called the whole Washington DC as well the rest of the country OBAMANIAC. Everyone admired their President so much! The entire city was building up to the inauguration with parties, signs/posters/slogans and people cheering on the streets and in the metro stations. The energy among African Americans and young families as well as visitors from other countries were amazing.

Q. Did you get to see the inauguration?

Yes I did witness the inauguration; I was one of the estimated two million people standing on the National Mall watching the inauguration ceremony on January 20. (But I could only see Obama on the screen)

Q. How did this experience make you feel as person with your international background, and as a student representing Canada?

This experience inspired me greatly. It proves that anyone can achieve the highest position in their society if they have the drive, passion and wisdom. United States is truly a country that embraces freedom and democracy regardless of background or race. I think coming from Canada, the thing that really strikes me is the level of patriotism that Americans have. I think that young people in Canada should get more involved in politics and really strive hard to make a difference. That being said, it’s much harder to do what they have done in the States with regards to electing a President. However, I believe that Canada can do better in terms of uniting the people and build an even greater nation!

Q. Did you raise funds in order to participate in the conference?

Yes, I was able to fundraise for all the conference fees as well as airfare with generous support from various organizations, including Camosun College.

Q. What do you take away from this experience?

I take away from this experience learning so much about what we can do to make a difference in our world. Especially as young people, we have the power to change the world and shape our future. No matter what the past held, we can definitely influence the future. Therefore, we should all do our best to act proactively with passion and hope to better the lives of our communities and future generations.

Q. What did you feel was the most significant part of this experience?

Perhaps the most significant part of this experience was to realize the power of people! Especially being part of a huge crowd celebrating the inauguration of the first African American president, it felt phenomenal. I think more than half of the crowds were African Americans, it was really their moment and they were very proud of the history taking place in their lifetime!

Last updated: February 17, 2009 11:18 am

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