The Sky is Not the Limit

paulThis Friday night, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will receive the World Peace Tartan at the Centennial Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Co-organizer Paul Jenkinson tells us more about this special event.

What are your own roots?
I am told that some of our relatives arrived in Nova Scotia on the Hector in 1773. This would be the Scottish part of my family tree while my mom’s side of the family included connections to early French settlers. While it is not scientific proof, my gift on spinning a fine yarn, love of Celtic music and an ”abiding sense of tragedy”  William Butler Yeats ,points to Irish DNA to be sure.

When and why did you get involved with this event?
The Chris Hadfield event in North Vancouver is a direct result of my reading Celtic Life Magazine. In one issue Chris Hadfield and the World Peace Tartan Initiative were featured and the two articles being in close proximity produced a Eureka moment in which I exclaimed. “We must bring Chris Hadfield to Vancouver and present him with the World Peace Tartan.” Luckily Summit Negotiation Society agreed and the University of the Fraser Valley quickly joined in an effort to see this fine idea come to fruition.

How did you get Chris Hadfield on board?
Chris Hadfield is a genuinely decent person, the real McCoy as some would say.  Chris was on board with this idea from the beginning though we initially kept the presentation of the World Peace Tartan under wraps until we were closer to the event.

What are the rewards of being involved?
Organizing a Chris Hadfield event is wonderfully fulfilling experience. I have met some of the most amazing people and have seen people resonate with the presentation of the World Peace Tartan to Chris. The idea of creative peacemaking has been a recurrent theme among the event sponsors and those who have supported the evening. Chris issued a message of peace in January 2013 from the International Space Station. In that message he reflected on the interconnectedness of the Earth while considering what was happening in Syria at the time.  Additionally the University of the Fraser Valley (one of the sponsors) is working diligently to establish a Peace and Conflict Studies program and Summit Negotiations Society is bringing a brilliant online or eNegotiation software into the world of conflict resolution.

What are the challenges?
Summit Negotiations Society is a small nonprofit that is set to launch after this event. Summit Negotiations currently has an Executive Director Elsie Wiebe Klingler, some amazing negotiation technology and access to trained negotiator/mediators. My current employer Smartsettle provided my services as a gift to Summit so this expanded the capacity to organize the event. Volunteers and the active support of the University of the Fraser Valley gave us the ability to overcome the challenges that arose.

Why is it an important event for the community there?
North Vancouver is tremendously excited to be hosting Col. Chris Hadfield. Mayor Darrell Mussatto of the City of North Vancouver and Mayor Richard Walton of the District of North Vancouver understand the significance of what Chris Hadfield has accomplished and they have declared April 4th Chris Hadfield Day in their communities. Everyone is excited that Victor Spence designer and founder of the World Peace Tartan will fly from Edinburgh Scotland to present the tartan in person and all of this is happening two days before Tartan Day.

What can attendees expect?
The April 4th event has two parts with a Meet and Greet Reception beginning at 6 pm, with fine wine, lovely catered foods by the Banqueting Table and a greeting from Chris Hadfield. Persons attending will also be able to have a photograph taken with Chris. In the “The Sky is Not the Limit” presentation, at 8 pm,   Chris will be presented with the Mayor’s Proclamation of Chris Hadfield Day, will receive the World Peace Tartan from Victor Spence and will deliver his keynote address “The Sky is Not the Limit”. All in all it should be a fine party and sometimes even a dignified one.

Will there be similar events to follow?
The University is having a series of events as they celebrate their 40th anniversary. Chris of course has speaking arrangements scheduled around the country. Summit Negotiations Society will launch its non profit online negotiation services soon after this event and will wait for another Eureka moment before it creates a future fundraiser of this magnitude.

How else are you involved with the Celtic community there?
My wife Lydia and I attend various Folk Festivals and attend the Rogue Folk Club where Celtic Music reigns. We are intending to move back to Nova Scotia where we have a home and property near Tatamagouche. Our hope is that upon our return, we will be able to expand our Celtic activities. Celtic Colours here we come.