A very successful visit to McMaster from Michael Ignatieff!

Well, yesterday, Michael Ignatieff stopped by McMaster for his conversation with students and faculty. It was a magical afternoon.

Historic Convocation Hall was packed to the rafters with participants! In fact, we had at least 600 in the room, in the gallery up top, standing in the foyer and spilling out into the corridor. And we had to turn away at least 200 more. It was an amazing turnout. And it was all due to the incredible efforts of the volunteers. Without them, the event would not have been successful.

I was the MC of the event. That was a lot of fun, although I was a little nervous. I am used to speaking in front of crowds and I often train others to do so effectively, but this was a big deal. I was a tiny bit shaky at first and then got my confidence after having a couple of jokes work. Mr Ignatieff did a great job – he took the questions seriously and answered them in a very thoughtful, lively manner. The students asked lots of excellent questions – mostly about foreign aid to Africa, education, culture and health. Dr Suzanne Crosta, Dean of Humanities asked the first question in French, inquiring as to how Mr Ignatieff would characterise the value of the humanities from a social, cultural and economic perspective. Michael answered very well – in a beautiful French!

Dr Philip Savage, one of my colleagues in Communication Studies and Multimedia and a dear friend, was very helpful in making the day run smoothly. He even was so kind as to volunteer to do a lunch run when all of the student volunteers were busy. The soups and sandwiches he brought back from the University Club were a big hit with Michael and his wife Zsuzsanna.

OK. What a long day yesterday was. But it was successful, so I leave you tonight still feeling deliciously exhausted.

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