Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Alumni Around the World - Zaineb Survery

Author: Liz Lemon-Mitchell

Posted on Jul 12, 2011

Category: Alumni Highlights

Usually when you return to your alma mater for the first time, it is after many years of work experience and you return to upgrade your education or just to visit. But that was not the case for one recent graduate. Zaineb Survery, from Kingston, Ontario, graduated with a BBA degree in 2009 and recently found herself back on campus for Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, or more simply, Congress 2011. She works for TD Bank as a Financial Service Representative, but attended the conference voluntarily as part of her vacation. In fact, she was one of the presenters at Congress 2011. Social economics is kind of a side project and a passion for her. She even created an organization called the Canada Pakistan Trade Promoter, whose objective is to mobilize investments and trade relations by addressing socio-economic problems in both countries through business solutions. Delegates of Congress 2011 coming and going in front of Tilley Hall

Congress 2011, co-hosted by UNB and STU, was the largest multidisciplinary academic summit in Canada and one of the largest events ever held in the city of Fredericton. It was promoted as a "meeting of the minds" and played host to scholars from over 70 disciplines. More than 6000 people attended this year's weeklong conference.  The goal of the conference was to advance humanities and social sciences, and increase the visibility of scholars and their research. Zaineb did not come back to UNB just for Congress though. She wanted to return to UNB to reconnect with her mentors, particularly her UNB professors. "It was very important for me to let them know what I learned in their class I was still applying in both my research and practice," she stated.

It's clear that Zaineb has applied what she learned. Having attended and presented at Congress at such a young age and only two years after earning her BBA degree is extremely impressive. Not only that, she also has a very big goal. She wants to help shape the world into a place where everyone has a meal to eat every night, where a third of the crops in developing nations aren't wasted to spoilage, and where farmers around the world can get the maximum yield from their crops.

Zaineb came to Congress to share her research with the people who could help make a difference. Although it was "slightly overwhelming – and at the same time fascinating," she explained, "my experiences at the Congress were wonderful. The opportunity to listen to and converse with researchers from the academic, corporate, and government sectors was a great reminder that the best teachers out there are ones who are students themselves and constantly learning."

Zaineb gave a presentation entitled, 'Economic Implications of Canada's Multiethnic Communities and Agribusiness Sector' to a well-attended group of academics. The main point of her presentation and paper was about social entrepreneurship in the agricultural industry. Her presentation suggested that both Canada and emerging countries would benefit from mutual trade. She voiced some interesting points about how Canada is uniquely positioned for these opportunities, with a huge multicultural community and advanced agricultural services (because of our climate). If Canada exported it's agricultural services to countries like Pakistan, it would help alleviate the current global food security threat by making food more affordable and available worldwide.

Without a doubt, the issues that Zaineb described are extremely important, especially as food prices increase and worldwide food reserves continue to decrease. Congress helped to spread the word, and hopefully enough people heard it. A lot more people like Zaineb will be needed to take the risks. Only if enough come forward will her dream become a reality and what we know today as the global food shortage threat will just become a distant memory.