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International Customs Day celebration (St Clair College - Thames campus)

On Wednesday, 26 January 2011 St. Clair College - Thames campus joined the global Customs community in acknowledging International Customs Day with its inaugural bi-national celebration.


The event began with a boisterous entrance by George Sims, Town Crier for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario. The sound of his ringing bell was only drowned out by the bellowing chants of "O Yee! O Yee!" Immediately, the crowd's attention focused to the moment at hand. Mr. Sims proceeded to make a proclamation on behalf of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent in recognition of International Customs Day.

Jason Blommers, Piper with the Windsor Police Pipe Band, lead the national flags for the United States and Canada into the auditorium. The flag bearers for this event were Samantha Robinson and Vladimir Horvath both of whom are Border Services Students. Once the flags were placed, everyone stood for a video rendition of the two national anthems; the "Star Spangled Banner" and "O Canada".

A number of guest speakers addressed the audience with regards to International Customs Day. Art Stirling, Councillor for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario opened the speeches with an acknowledgement on behalf of the community for International Customs Day and congratulatory words of achievements for the World Customs Organization. Furthermore, Mr. Stirling presented Mark Benoit, Chair, School of Academic Studies, with a certificate of recognition for St. Clair College - Thames Campus for becoming the first Canadian institution to become affiliated with the International Network of Customs Universities. Mr. Benoit then thanked Mr. Stirling for the recognition and made a few remarks on behalf of St. Clair College - Thames Campus.

Mr. Benoit affirmed the commitment of St. Clair College - Thames Campus in the development of future Customs Officials. Furthermore, he acknowledged that this academic institution would attempt to be at the forefront of customs knowledge and innovation. In addition, Mr. Benoit acknowledged the tireless work of global Customs Administrations on this International Customs Day. Lastly, he concluded with words of gratitude for the World Customs Organization and its achievements.

Christopher Walsh, Border Services Student, acknowledged on behalf of his classmates the important work carried out each and every day by Customs Officials around the globe. He concluded with a moment of silence for those public servants who lost their lives in the course of their duties protecting nations around the world.

Wolf-Peter Marty, Border Services Student, continued the presentation by  reading a passage from the speech by Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization, reminding us all that the World Customs Organization has dedicated 2011 to the promotion and pursuit of knowledge activities. Mr. Marty encouraged his classmates to pursue knowledge in the course of their studies as it is the "catalyst for Customs excellence".

Matt Caron, President, Thames Students Inc., presented on behalf of the entire student body at St. Clair College - Thames Campus. Mr. Caron recognized that customs administration is a relatively new diploma program in Canada and was pleased that St. Clair College was a leader in this curriculum development. Furthermore, he applauded the World Customs Organization for making 2011 the year of "Knowledge, a catalyst for Customs excellence", indicating that this theme captured the essence of past, present and future.


The keynote speaker for this bi-national celebration was Chief Ronald G. Smith, Customs and Border Protection, United States. From his first few words, Smith had the audience captivated for the duration of an hour. Smith detailed to the audience how Customs and Border Protection facilitates the movement of individuals and commerce across international boundaries. He discussed, as well, the organization's responsibility to intercept criminal activities. Furthermore, he explained how knowledge and technology has evolved to play a significant role in the administration of customs enforcement. Lastly, Chief Smith's sense of humour and colourful story telling captured the human element behind this special occasion.

In conclusion, this inaugural bi-national celebration at St. Clair College - Thames Campus honoured the commitment of public servants and Customs Administrations around the globe and all those who attended were able to pause and reflect on this International Customs Day.



Art Striling - Councillor, Municipality of Chatham-Kent




CBP; Piper Jason Blommers - Windsor Police Pipe Band; Border Officer Joe Truman - CBSA; Professor Oscar Vicente




Chief Ronald G. Smith, CBP



Christopher Walsh - Border Services Student



George Sims - Town Crier, Municipality of Chatham-Kent



George Sims - Town Crier, Municipality of Chatham-Kent



Mark Benoit - Chair, School of Academic Studies



Matt Caron - TSI President



Piper Jason Blommers - Windsor Police Pipe Band



Presentation of Gift - Chief Ronald G. Smith and Professor Oscar Vicente



Vladimir Horvath - Border Services Student and Chief Ronald G. Smith CBP



Wolf-Peter Marty - Border Services Student





For further information about the event please contact Professor Oscar Vicente:

T: (519) 354-9714, Ext. 3315
F: (519) 354-5496




International Network of Customs Universities Inc.

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Level 1, 10-12 Brisbane Avenue
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Postal Address:
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Phone: +61 2 6272 6300

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