Canadian diplomat visits UNDUniversity of North Dakota students learned more about their northern neighbors Thursday from one of Canada’s top diplomats.
By: By Jennifer Johnson, Forum News Service, The Jamestown Sun
University of North Dakota students learned more about their northern neighbors Thursday from one of Canada’s top diplomats.
Consul General Jamshed Merchant, the country’s senior representative to the Upper Midwest, visited the campus for a meeting with university leaders and community members who have strong ties with Canada.
Bilateral trade between Canada and North Dakota is estimated at more than $3 billion and more than 500,000 Canadians visit the state each year, spending more than $150 million, according to the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
Merchant spent an hour fielding questions from 13 students in a Canadian studies class. He encouraged students to ask whatever they wanted and they delivered, inquiring about his job, the Keystone XL Pipeline, the future of commerce and water issues. The key is for Manitoba, Canada, Minnesota and North Dakota to work together to minimize the impact of flooding, he said.
Merchant started serving as the country’s consul general in Minneapolis last fall, representing Canada in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. He started his career as a faculty lecturer in geography in Montreal before taking other jobs within the government and the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
His job as consul general has been enjoyable, he said.
“I’ve been able to meet lots of interesting people,” he said.