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A fine expression of Canadian nationhood (December 1996)



Our enthusiasm for this idea was not only based on what Canadians could do for the rest of the world, but also on what Canadians could bring back home again.

Introduction to Canadian Executive Service Organization's, CESO, 30th Anniversary Book by Maurice F. Strong

It was a little more than 30 years ago, when I was Director General of External Aid, that a group of people sat in my kitchen and discussed how we could bring the benefit of Canadian expertise to the world at large. This expertise existed in abundance among Canadian seniors with specialized skills who had acquired invaluable practical wisdom over their professional careers. As we explored the prospects, we became increasingly convinced that matching retired Canadians with solid technical and business skills with businesses in developing countries, not only would the chance of success for these individual businesses increase, but their contribution to their country's development would be enhanced.

Our enthusiasm for this idea was not only based on what Canadians could do for the rest of the world, but also on what Canadians could bring back home again. We envisioned that short term assignments would grow into long-term partnerships with benefits that would extend to all of Canadian society. The transfer of skills could make an indispensable contribution not only to developing economies, but also to the growth of Canada. We had locked onto a win-win situation, and we were eager to put it into action.

CESO is, of course, the eventual outcome of that night's discussion, and was initially launched as an affiliate of CUSO. It took more than just talk to create CESO, and Claude Hebert, Cy Peachey, Paul Martin, Sr. , and Mitchell Sharp were among the many who transformed the idea of CESO into a reality. Of course, there were many others who helped make CESO possible. It is impossible to thank them all here, but you will read about some of them in the following pages. They, and hundreds more like them, are ultimately the ones who have brought and continue to bring our vision to life.

CESO's work in Canadian aboriginal communities, developing nations and the newly emerging market economies of eastern and central Europe is a fine expression of Canadian nationhood and the cooperative internationalism on which Canadians pride themselves.

I am honoured and extremely proud to be associated with the people you will read about in this book, and the thousands of other CESO volunteers who hav gone to great lengths to assist those who are hungry for practical knowledge and support. They do this for no personal reward other than the joy and satisfaction of encouraging, supporting, and helping others. My heartfelt gratitude andsincerebest wishes goesoutto allofthemonthe occasion of CESO's thirtiethanniversary.