Chemical engineering student Christian Hamuli fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after his teenaged brother was murdered and rebels attacked his university.
Damon Ross, a fourth-year petroleum engineering student at the University of Alberta, spent part of last summer living in a truck by a creek.
What do these two students have in common? Both are among the 200 students from across Canada receiving scholarships awards worth $3,000 each year from the legacy created after Calgary hosted the 16th World Petroleum Congress in 2000.
The World Petroleum Congress is long over, but the June 2000 event is still helping to create a legacy beyond the week long meetings and high-profile presentations.
Millennium Scholarship FoundationProfits of $4.2 million from the WPC were used to endow a fund that gives scholarships to post-secondary students in several petroleum-related fields. Canada's Government Millennium Scholarship Foundation matched the amount dollar for dollar which created an endowment from the capital and the interest that provides approximately 200 scholarships annually, until 2009. By that time, approximately 1600 WPC millennium scholars will have received awards to assist them in completing their studies. These scholarships are designed as bursary programmes, and as such do not increase the students' debts as they do not need to be repaid.
Calgary is known for its vital volunteer spirit and its citizens generate a special enthusiasm to support major events. It was no surprise then that 900 of them offered freely of their time and provided valuable assistance to the Host organizers of the Congress. As well as helping facilitate the programme and special events, they helped with organising registrations, escorting people to sites, working with police and security agents, and providing interpretation services in 20 languages. In the end, volunteering pays back, as not only the award students benefited long term from the 16th World Petroleum Congress, but also more than seventy of the volunteers who were all offered employment within Canada's oil and gas industry as a result of their activities during the Congress.