Michelle Obama and Joe Biden in Toronto for separate speaking engagements - InfoNews

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Michelle Obama and Joe Biden in Toronto for separate speaking engagements

Former American vice-president Joe Biden arrives at a convention centre in Toronto on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, to give a keynote speech on leadership. The speech was closed to the media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
November 28, 2017 - 1:52 PM

TORONTO - Two prominent figures in U.S. politics were north of the border in Toronto on Tuesday for separate speaking engagements that were both closed to the media.

Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke about education and equality for girls and women around the world at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Canada and Plan International Canada.

Later in the day, former vice-president Joe Biden gave a keynote speech on leadership at a conference called The Art of Leadership — an event organizers also closed to the media.

Dozens of ticket holders — most of them young women — filled the atrium of Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre in anticipation of Obama's appearance Tuesday morning.

"I'm excited to hear her talk about ... education and women's equality, (topics) I'm really interested in learning more about," said Karen Zhuang, a high school student from Toronto. "She's always been a role model for me."

Kanwarpreet Karwal, a Plan Canada youth ambassador and fourth-year life sciences student at McMaster University said it was inspiring to see so many young people turn up, hoping to create change.

"I'm just excited to learn whatever I (can) take away and implement in my life so that I can make a positive contribution in this world," Karwal said.

The Economic Club of Canada has said the former first lady would be participating in a "fireside chat-style" conversation at the event.

The organization's president and CEO has said some tickets to the event were to be donated to a young person between the ages of 14 and 24, with young people across the country able to apply to attend through a site set up by Plan International Canada.

Rebecca Frost, a second-year student from Queen's University, was one of those who had applied for a ticket, and said she looked forward to Obama's take on the economics of gender equality.

"She's an inspiring woman," Frost said. "She just has a lot of wisdom to share."

The Obama-Biden visits were the latest in a string of trips north by well-known American politicians.

Former Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was in Montreal last month to promote her new book. She also spoke in Toronto in September and is scheduled to speak in Vancouver on Dec. 13.

Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, also visited Montreal last month to discuss the Canada-U.S. relationship with former prime minister Jean Chretien, and U.S Senator Bernie Sanders was at the University of Toronto last month to heap praise on Canada's health care system.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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