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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Government of Canada Photo)

The celebrity appeal at the 2017 Microsoft CEO Summit has been decidedly ramped up with the news that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in attendance next week. Whether anyone outside the annual event learns what he had to say is always the question with the secretive gathering.

Trudeau announced that he would take part in the event, which runs Tuesday through Thursday in Redmond, Wash., with the goal of promoting the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, encouraging investment in the Canadian technology sector, and drawing global talent to Canada, according to his news release.

He will also showcase his Innovation and Skills Plan and “demonstrate how Canada is making it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their ideas into thriving businesses.”

Microsoft established the CEO Summit in 1997 to give corporate CEOs a forum in which they can learn about and debate issues around business, technology and economic trends. According to the tech giant, more than 140 CEOs and leaders from leading companies and organizations representing more than 35 countries will attend.

Topics of discussion this year, according to Microsoft’s sheet of fast facts, will include:

  • Trust in Technology: “The debate over trust in information technology has rapidly moved from the back office to the front page, with far-reaching implications. Concerns over encryption; hacking of emails, by foreign governments and others; tensions between governments and international disputes involving the movement of data across borders; and growing regulatory demands relating to privacy protection, are all part of a complex web of issues.”
  • The Race to Space: “The space missions of the 20th century captured the world’s imagination and served as a development crucible for revolutionary new technologies. Today private citizens are investing their own money and harnessing the power of visionary thinking to achieve extraordinary progress in the endeavor to explore and understand space.”

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates started the event in 1997. GeekWire’s report on last year’s Summit said the secrecy around what is actually discussed inside stems from the desire to “foster private and informal interactions between leaders who are constantly in the public eye.”

The charismatic Trudeau knows a thing or two about being adored by that “public eye.” Whether anyone in the Seattle area gets a glimpse of him next week remains to be seen, and there is certainly great interest in the region’s tech and businesses communities in regard to the evolving discussion around the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

“Canada’s greatest strength is its skilled, hard-working, creative, and diverse workforce,” Trudeau said in the news release. “Canada is recognized as a world leader in research and development in many areas like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and 3D programming. Our government will continue to help Canadian businesses grow and create good, well-paying middle class jobs in today’s high-tech economy.”

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