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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2014
Beijing, China
November 5 – 10, 2014

For a glimpse of the 2014 APEC experience, click here for the official video. Also, to learn more about the students’ amazing journey, click here for their blog; their experience is well documented with video.

For a schedule of activities while in Beijing, click here. For a Special Report on the 2014 APEC Voices Program in Beijing, click here.

For a glimpse of the “Voices of the Future” experience APEC 2014 China video

The APEC/Voices program, now in its 11th year as a program of The Riley Institute at Furman, has allowed more than 50 Furman students to represent the United States at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference. Countries include Bali 2013; Honolulu 2011; Japan 2010; Singapore 2009; Peru 2008; Australia 2007; Vietnam 2006; Korea 2005; Chile 2004; and Mexico 2002.

On November 3, 2014, four students — Kelly Dickson (’15) from Johns Creek, GA (Political Science and Economics major); AJ Calhoun (’15) from Charlotte, NC (Political Science and Urban Studies Concentration); Sarah Katherine DeVenny (’15) from Lancaster, SC (Sociology); and Blake Baldwin (’15) from Landrum, SC (Economics and Chinese Studies) along with Dr. Cleve Fraser, Department of Political Science, and Dr. Jessica Hennessey, Department of Economics, departed for an experience of a lifetime to Beijing, China where they will serve as citizen diplomats to the APEC CEO Summit.

Blake Baldwin reflects on his APEC experience. “What I remember most about my time at the APEC Voices of the Future Program was how eager everyone was to cooperate. Not only during the week that we were together, but on a global scale into the future too. If the people I met are the leaders of the future, then it will be a world in which I would be happy to live and help shape. Not only this, but I met many peers with whom I can exchange ideas in the years to come. Even now, as I write this, I received an email from my new friend. who lives in the Philippines, containing articles about sustainability and urban development. The people I met are my peers and colleagues, who have perspectives somewhat unique to what I find in the United States. I was honored to have the opportunity to speak in front of them and offer my own ideas.”

AJ Calhoun reflects on his APEC experience. “APEC was truly a whirlwind experience. It’s even more difficult to believe now that I’ve mostly recovered from the lingering effects of air travel that it was even real. As I return to my daily routines I’m struck that a week ago I was listening to presentations by leaders of nations and questioning internationally powerful CEOs. I was able to attend sessions in which the Presidents/Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos voiced their opinions as economies on the outside. Additionally, I attended a presentation on the second day that focused on the nature of development in Indonesia by newly elected president Joko Widodo. This especially fascinated me as an Urban Studies major in its attempt to tackle Indonesia’s unique problems of transportation and movement of goods and services.”

AJ also mentioned that his favorite activity was visiting 751 D*Park in Beijing. The park was part of an urban renewal project that transformed a large power plant into a place dedicated to design and fashion. During the trip, he also ate fried scorpions, which he liked, and a fried seahorse, which was not so good.

Kelly’s favorite activity was visiting the Haidian Experimental High School where she had the opportunity to attempt to make a traditional Chinese craft. Dickson was not pleased with the result, but, during the process, she met and bonded with a Chinese student, who she thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.

Sarah Katherine fell in love with the Chinese children. She said “she was captured by their beauty.”

A Voices of the Future alumni, Rachel Parrish, now serves in the U.S. Foreign Service in Manila, the location of the 2015 APEC conference.

Press Coverage

The EdgeFurman University, penned by Jenny Munroe