In November 2011, four students — Katie Fearington ’14 (Political Science major), Chris Picardi ’12 (Economics and Spanish major), Alyssa Richardson ’12 (Economics and Political Science major) and Jane Sanders ’12 (Political Science and Spanish major) — along with Cleve Fraser, Professor of Political Science, and Ken Peterson, Professor of Economics, departed to Honolulu for a week, where they served as citizen diplomats to the APEC conference.
Students, during their time at the conference, gained a deeper appreciation for cultural differences, broadened their understanding of trade policy, examined economic issues within a global context, and developed a better understanding of how trade barriers can be eliminated.
The students had the opportunity to hear US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak about women ascending into the global marketplace. Yet, there were very few women participants at the CEO Summit. According to Alyssa Richardson, “Her remarks reminded me that many of our domestic problems are not just American issues; on the contrary, the struggles of one country are often echoed across the globe.” Additionally, to name a few, they heard President of the United States Barack Obama, President of the People’s Republic of China Hu Jintau, President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, and President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speak during the conference.
One of the advantages of participating in the Voices of the Future program was to become immersed in Hawaiian culture. Even though the students were visitors, they were able to go beyond the tourist attractions and dive deeper into authentic Hawaiian culture. The students’ host from Kamehameha shared language, dancing and many other aspects of the native Hawaiian culture.
Alyssa Richardson summarized her experience. She said that attending the APEC conference afforded her an amazing opportunity to look beyond her narrowly-focused American lens. Instead, she was able to discuss global issues with students from China, Japan, Brunei, and almost everywhere else across the Pacific. Richardson states, ” As it turns out, we are not so different. They enjoy a good luau, watching the sunset over Waikiki Beach, and sharing cultural stories and traditions as much as we do.”
From Star Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, read a story about the Voices of the Future Program; from the U.S. Department of Treasury, read about our students meeting with finance ministers with a quote from one of our students, Alyssa Richardson.