Youth Share Their Vision for Asia-Pacific at APEC Leaders' Week

Beijing, People's Republic of China, 12 November 2014
  • Issued by The APEC Secretariat

Students from across the Asia-Pacific engaged in a dialogue with APEC Leaders, regional experts and business executives and presented their vision for the future during the 2014 APEC Leaders’ Week.

Two separate youth programs—the 2014 APEC Youth Program, hosted by the All-China Youth Federation, and the APEC Voices of the Future Program—brought together promising young leaders from across the Asia-Pacific to represent the views of the future generation on key APEC issues.

After the 7-day program, university students from the 2014 APEC Youth Program presented a set of policy recommendations on various topics of the APEC agenda, including people-to-people connectivity and the internet economy, which was delivered to APEC Senior Officials.

Recalling the evolution of APEC’s 25-year history, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and one of the key founders of APEC, spoke with students at the 2014 APEC Youth Program on Saturday.  

“It is a matter of considerable pride to be here on the 25th Anniversary of the formation of APEC,” said Hawke. “There is no doubt that the region’s economic development has been facilitated by the processes and principles of APEC.”

“It is a very simple concept that no economy can begin to optimize its economic potential unless it integrates with and takes advantage of the resources of economies around it. It’s a simple economic truism and the basic principle on which APEC has operated on and the principle that has allowed so much success for the economies in the region,” explained Hawke to an audience of university students.

The 2014 APEC Youth Program and the APEC Voices of the Future Program activities both occurred on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders’ Week during 5-11 November, capturing the voice of the region’s future generation of leaders.

"We are still the creatures of social media and pop culture but we care about economics and international relations,” said Han Xiaomeng, a student at Tsinghua University in Beijing who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2014 APEC Youth Program. “Together, we can make an amazing difference."

Meanwhile, running on a parallel track, the APEC Voices of the Future brought 116 students and educators from 16 APEC member economies to Beijing this year.

“Youth delegates participated in cultural exchanges and attended the APEC CEO Summit this past week where they had the opportunity to interact with leaders and business executives,” explained James Soh, Executive Director of the National Youth Achievement Award Council who manages the APEC Voices of the Future program. “During this process, students were enriched through their exposure to the Leaders of our region as well as through discussions with each other.”

The APEC Voices of the Future Program selected students based on a competitive essay submission coordinated by the APEC Voices Leadership Council, led by China, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.

"I would like to voice my concern on the future of APEC, especially in areas related to food security, education and women's issues,” said Yin Xiao, a 22-year old student from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, and participant in the APEC Voices of the Future Program.

Kelly Marie Dickson, a 21-year old from Furman University in the United States, explained, “I hope to expand my world-view by experiencing cultures that are different from my own and learning from our differences.”

“I believe the APEC Voices Program will further develop my leadership abilities and challenge me to see policy discussions from a different perspective,” added Dickson.

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Jennifer Juo +65 9721-8660 at [email protected]

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