Timothy Law is our Winter 2017 PCJ-Mosaic Intern, and is working with us to develop proposals for future initiatives. Below, Timothy reflects on his recent trip to Uganda, and how his experiences there highlighted how diversity can be a tool for learning.
The Mosaic Institute, in its research, operations, and programming, affirms its motto which states that “difference is the solution.” While understanding and respecting such diversity is essential in delivering the message that the Mosaic Institute stands for, diversity can also be a powerful learning tool in further evolving and further strengthening such a “solution.”
On a recent trip to Uganda, I, along with a group of students, were presented the opportunity to have a dialogue with the Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development at the Ugandan Parliament in the capital city of Kampala. During our dialogue, the Committee specifically stated its emphasis on having elected representatives for the disabled, women, and youth in parliament.
From my view, the recognition and implementation of a need to physically represent such groups within Uganda’s Parliament is a relatively dynamic and progressive political policy, especially compared to relevant Canadian initiatives. Although Canada has taken steps to approach equal representation for women within parliament, such as Prime Minister Trudeau’s appointment of Canada’s first gender-equal Federal Cabinet in the 2015, Canada still pales in comparison to Uganda in terms of overall women involved in parliament. Statistically, in 2016, 34% of the Ugandan Parliament are women, while comparatively, 26% of Canadian Parliament are women, poignantly being the largest number of female MPs in Canadian history. Although Trudeau’s statement that a gender-equal cabinet was needed “because it’s 2015” was seen as hailing a new era regarding the institution of gender equality in Canadian governance, it reflected only one of many aspects of representation that were present in Uganda. As the continued practice of even more dynamic policies of representation in Uganda engaged in representation not only for women, but also for the disabled and youth, it presented pertinent lessons in diversity that were applicable towards relevant Canadian initiatives.
Accordingly, in my experience researching Uganda’s political administration, I found that the presence of this dynamic policy of representation came to demonstrate that lessons derived from diversity can exist anywhere, even in perhaps the most challenging or contrasting environments. As seen in the difference between Canada and Uganda, diversity allows for a sense of comparison and understanding which can yield paths to new viewpoints or policies addressing issues that affect both communities. Accordingly, in this position, diversity does not simply have to just be a “solution”, but can also act as a powerful learning tool that helps further such understandings and realizations of difference and diversity itself.
Timothy Law, Winter 2017 PCJ-Mosaic INtern
Timothy is currently in his final year of study at the University of Toronto, studying International Relations and Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies. Timothy has served previously with academic journals and events, specifically the Peace Conflict and Justice Studies Undergraduate Conference and Synergy: The Journal for Contemporary Asian Affairs, in addition to work experience in an investment firm in Hong Kong and with the Federal Government in Canada. In the coming years, Timothy will pursue a Juris Doctor (JD) at the University of Ottawa, hoping to specialize in International Law. Having interests in East Asian Affairs, International Relations, International Development and Transnational Justice, Timothy hopes to utilize his experience and knowledge in these matters in his position at the Mosaic Institute.