The Economist is Trinity College student Gunwant Gill’s second favourite magazine. It’s The Toronto Globalist that’s closest to her heart. Gill, 21, is in her third year of international relations, political science and economics at U of T. She is also editor-in-chief of the new undergraduate international-affairs magazine launched in November. The publication (available free on campus and online at www.globalistfoundation.org) has a volunteer staff of 14 students, and joins a growing network of Globalists at universities around the world. (Rawen Huang, a student at Yale University, established the umbrella organization – the Globalist Foundation – in January 2005.)
Lisa Rundle: People often say that your generation doesn’t care about politics – so what’s wrong with you?
Gunwant Gill: I think it started at an early age, always hearing my parents talk about politics and how it’s important to participate in that process.
Are they politicians?
No. But my great-uncle, Lachman Singh Gill, was the premier of Punjab, India, from 1967 to ’68.
Tell me about the Globalist.
The international network is what really sets us apart. To my knowledge there’s no other network of international-affairs magazines.
Which schools are publishing their own editions now?
It began with the Yale Globalist, and expanded to Cambridge. There’s now a Sydney chapter in Australia, one at Peking University in China, one at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and ours. Chapters are also being set up in India and Africa.
What is the Globalist network trying to accomplish?
The goal of the foundation is to connect youth from different perspectives and backgrounds to let the rest of the world, especially our politicians and think-tanks, know what the next generation of leaders is thinking and what changes we would like to see.
Your first issue centres on nuclear politics. How did you choose the theme?
We were looking for an attention-grabber that we felt was important in international affairs. We also chose it because some people feel it’s an issue of a bygone era, the Cold War, but if you think about it – the acquisition and proliferation of nuclear weapons and new technologies – there’s so much going on.
When’s your next issue?
End of March. The theme will be global epidemics…. There’s also an annual Globalist issue with contributions from all the chapters coming up. Each chapter picks the issue they think is most important to youth in their country; we picked Canadian identity. The issue will also be looking at the foreign policy objectives of each of our universities. Which countries does the president of the university visit? What does he say about our university?
International affairs seems a euphemism for unsolvable international problems. Do you have a sense that there are more possibilities for solutions in the 21st century, or fewer?
I think there definitely are more. I know it’s a cliché, but we do live in a global village and it’s much easier to find out what other people are thinking. And avoiding international conflict is all about knowing the other person’s perspective.