EDMONTON and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The Canada-UAE Business Council (CUBC) have hosted the first-ever visit to the UAE of a delegation of Indigenous political, business, and youth leaders from Canada last week.
Mustafa Sahin, President and Executive Director, Canada-UAE Business Council said, “The CUBC welcomes the Enoch visit and will continue to work with them and others as part of our efforts to build stronger cultural and commercial ties between Canada and the UAE. There is unrealized potential in the Canada-UAE relationship. We are delighted that Chief Morin sees this and is committed to a long-term approach to the region.”
The mission head was Chief Billy Morin, a youth himself at 31-years-old. Chief Morin is the elected leader of Enoch Cree Nation, located in Alberta, Canada, adjacent to Edmonton.
As Chief Morin learned more about the UAE, he saw that the country has much to offer in terms of best practices around economic and business development, education, and cultural promotion: “I’m inspired by the way in which the leaders of the UAE have approached development. I’m keen to learn from them and to explore ways to work together in various areas, from youth and cultural exchange to education, to trade and investment.” Chief Morin insisted that youth be a part of the six-person delegation to expose them to new ideas that can be furthered in Enoch.
Enoch’s visit to the UAE followed a six-month dialogue with the CUBC and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Ottawa about opportunities between Canada and the UAE for economic and cultural exchange. In September 2018, His Excellency Fahad Al Raqbani, UAE Ambassador to Canada, welcomed former Chief Brenda Vanguard of the Kehewin Cree Nation, Alberta to the UAE Embassy in Ottawa. The visit was the first to the Embassy by a First Nations leader. His Excellency then invited First Nations leaders to attend the UAE National Day Celebration in Ottawa in December 2018.
Chief Morin is both a political and a business leader. Enoch owns and operates one of Alberta’s largest resorts. Enoch is interested in further developing its cultural tourism and diversifying its economy with an emphasis on youth education and capacity building. The visit was designed with this goal in mind.
The delegation was hosted for an Emirati lunch by UAE leaders Fatima Al Jaber, one of the Arab World’s leading women; Essa Al Ghurair, a top buyer of Canadian agriculture products; and Otaiba Al Otaiba, head of a prominent family office. Chief Morin participated in the exclusive Milken Institute MENA Summit. The CUBC arranged for cultural tours and business meetings with TAQA, Abu Dhabi Power, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Dubai Future Accelerators, The Dubai Youth Hub, Canada and UAE diplomats, and others. Canada’s Consul General to Dubai and the Northern Emirates also arranged for Chief Morin to meet with Canada’s World Expo 2020 Dubai Team, which was in the UAE the same week.