Front and Centre: Emily and Matt’s Head Table Experience at the Churchill Dinner

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Last week the OLIP interns were fortunate enough to attend the 31st Annual Churchill Society Dinner. In fact, two of the interns were invited to sit at the head table, along with the Hon. Hugh Segal and several other distinguished guests. Here is what they had to say about the experience:

 A Word from Emily: It was an honour getting to sit at the head table to represent OLIP. It felt quite surreal walking in as a procession accompanied by a band playing music! The birds’ eye view of the evening was a real treat, as we could spot out distinguished guests and observe the captivated expressions of the crowd as speeches were given. Sitting beside the British Consul General in Toronto, and Director-General for UK Trade and Investment in Toronto – Kevin McGurgan – was extremely fascinating. His work in places such as Syria, Bosnia, Sweden and Iraq, gives him a unique insider perspective on the foreign policy of the UK. It definitely made me excited for our comparative study trip to London, England this June!

A Few More Words from Matt: Being seated at the head table was truly an honour and a privilege, one that included numerous benefits. For instance, head table guests were asked to participate in a photo shoot around a rather large ice sculpture of Sir Winston Churchill, testing the limits of my cheek muscles. Afterward I was tasked with leading the head table procession, a dizzying experience that was both memorable and anxiety inducing, given that I am prone to occasional bouts of clumsiness. Once safely seated, I enjoyed a fantastic meal and engaged in several conversations with my seat mate Sean Conway, a former MPP and prominent public policy advisor. We discussed a variety of intellectually stimulating topics, ranging from OLIP and Ontario politics, to receptions at Queen’s Park. I must also mention that the acoustics at the head table are superb, which made it easy to hear the excellent speeches that were presented throughout the evening. Ultimately my head table experience was quite enjoyable, and I thank the Board of the Churchill Society for extending to Emily and I this unique opportunity.

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