Press release

IISD Celebrates 200th Intern to Work Abroad

September 8, 2003

Some of Canada's best and brightest young people work toward a sustainable future

WINNIPEG — The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is celebrating the 200th intern placement in its flagship program, Young Canadian Leaders for a Sustainable Future (YCLSF).

Since 1997, interns have been placed in 36 countries around the world with over 80 host organizations. The interns are placed with such international heavyweights as IUCN - The World Conservation Union, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank.

"The reputation of the program has really grown and people want to be associated with it," says Carolee Buckler, project manager for the internship program. "This year alone we received almost 300 applications for just 25 internship positions so the interns get really excited when they find out their applications were successful."

And it's no wonder. Today, alumni of the YCLSF program are currently employed with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the United Nations, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Renewable Energy Systems, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Canadian International Development Agency and Canada World Youth among others.

Shannon Bradley from Sardis, BC, is the 200th YCLSF intern. She eagerly awaits her placement with Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) International in London.

"The opportunity to get hands-on experience in the sustainable development field in an international context is fantastic," she says eagerly. "Young people have a lot to offer and this program really recognizes the value of that."

The organizations who host the interns think so to. Armed with impeccable credentials, the interns are highly educated, well travelled and multi-lingual. These young Canadians face their new challenges with a spirit of adventure and a desire to make a difference in the world.

Lilian Chatterjee, former Director of Communications for the host organization International Institute for Environment and Development, praises the interns that have been placed with her organization.

"IIED is extremely grateful to IISD and to the Government of Canada for its support of this excellent program that has enabled us to build our capacity and be more effective in supporting and realizing our sustainable development objectives."

Not only do these under-30's gain incredible work experience, but they are also exposed to the cultural differences by living and working in a different country. This year, placements are being made in Switzerland, Britain, South Africa, Malaysia, Kenya, Mexico, Ghana, Guyana, Romania, India, Hungary, Costa Rica, Germany, Norway and Sri Lanka.

"Once they are back in Canada, you start to hear some of the stories that have occurred outside of their work experiences," says Buckler with a laugh. "We have had interns tell us about their experiences with a coup in Pakistan, a volcano erupting in Equador and an earthquake in El Salvador."

The Young Canadian Leaders for a Sustainable Future Program is made possible through the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Government's Youth Employment Strategy and Human Resources Development Canada.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.