Media gallery

(l-r) Jackson Robinson, Rob Cain, Katherine West, David Cousar and Mary Bradley Pazdan

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2018
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 12 – 18, 2018

On November 12, 2018, five students — Rob Cain (’19) (bio) from Abbeville, SC (Economics with a minor in Poverty Studies); Davis Cousar (’20) (bio) from Anderson, SC (Economics, and Politics and International Affairs); Mary Bradley Pazdan (’19) (bio) from Greenville, SC (Politics and International Affairs and Communication Studies); Jackson Robinson (’20) (bio) from Birmingham, AL (Politics and International Affairs and Mathematics-Economics double major) and Katherine West (’19) (bio) from Edgewood, KY (Politics and International Affairs); along with Dr. Cleve Fraser, Department of Politics and International Affairs and Dr. Jessica Hennessey, Department of Economics, attended the APEC Voices of the Future 2018 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea where they served as citizen diplomats.

To view all the student biographies, click here; their agenda in Papua New Guinea, click here; the student blog, click here.

Since this is the 20th Anniversary of the APEC “Voices of the Future” program, it was celebrated in Papua New Guinea in November 2018. Dr.Jessica Hennessey was invited to serve as the Moderator for the APEC Voices Youth Forum’s Economy Report. The forum took place on Tuesday, November 13th after the Official Opening Ceremony, and the APEC Voices 20th Anniversary Book Launch by the H.E. Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

Katherine West also spoke at the “Voice of the Future” Youth Forum – see video below.

Press Coverage

To read an op-ed written by Davis Cousar “Sharing Clothes, Sharing A Future,” click here.

For an article summarizing the students’ experience, penned by Furman contributor, Tina Underwood, click here.

For a special report on APEC Voices of the Future 2018, click here.



Back to the APEC 2018 homepage

Rob Cain (’19) from Abbeville, SC (Economics with a minor in Poverty Studies)

Hey everyone! My name is Rob Cain and I am a senior Economics major with a minor in Poverty Studies from Abbeville, SC. Furman has afforded me the opportunity to study abroad in Northern Ireland, Italy, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Through these international immersion experiences, coursework at Furman, and internships both domestic and abroad, I have gained a passion for economic development. My work in Scottish Parliament piqued my interest in policy, which I hope to combine with my desire to help better the lives of the disadvantaged and underserved.

I am excited about the opportunity to meet with fellow delegates of the APEC member economies. I look forward to collaborating with the other youth delegates to ensure we are “harnessing inclusive opportunities and embracing the digital future” for all economies.


Davis Cousar (’20) from Anderson, SC (Economics, and Politics and International Affairs)

Hi everyone! My name is Davis Cousar, and I am a junior Economics and Politics and International Affairs major from Anderson, SC.

Over the last two years at Furman, I’ve had many opportunities to pursue my passions for international relations and social justice. I have spent time studying in China and Northern Ireland, and I will be heading to Brussels for a semester long study-abroad trip this spring! Last summer, I interned for the Georgia Innocence Project, and this fall I coordinated a “Justice Week” on campus to inform the Furman community about inequities that exist within the US criminal justice system.

All of these experiences have helped me to realize that it is crucial to encourage empathy and understanding across different cultures and social groups if we are to truly create a shared global future. I am so excited to do exactly that as I connect with the VOF delegates from around the globe in Papua New Guinea!


Mary Bradley Pazdan (’19) from Greenville, SC (Politics and International Affairs and Communication Studies)

My name is Mary Bradley Pazdan and I am a senior double majoring in Politics and International Affairs and Communication Studies from Greenville, SC. I have loved my time here at Furman and have been involved in various organizations such as the Student Government Association, the Shucker Leadership Institute, the Club Swim Team, the Club Running Team, the Heller Service Corps Leadership Team, Reformed University Fellowship, and a few others.

Through my involvement on campus, I realized I want to continue to serve others for the rest of my life. This passion led me to various internships, such as one in Senator Lindsey Graham’s office on Capitol Hill and one with the Nelson Mullins Law Firm in Washington, DC. I am also a Millennium Fellow through the United Nations this semester where I will be focusing on raising awareness for the dangers of texting while driving. Following my time at Furman, I will be teaching elementary school in Charlotte, NC through the Teach for America two-year program.

I am so excited to attend the APEC conference in Papua New Guinea and learn from other students and leaders from around the world!

Jackson Robinson (’20) from Birmingham, AL (Politics and International Affairs and Mathematics-Economics double major)

My name is Jackson Robinson, and I am a junior Politics and International Affairs and a Mathematics-Economics double major from Birmingham, Alabama.

I became passionate about both Politics and Economics my senior year of high school but have really enjoyed furthering those passions and experiences in my first two years at Furman. I was fortunate to be able to travel abroad to Europe with Furman to study Nordic Energy policy last May and then spend my summer interning in Washington D.C. for the House of Representatives, where I experienced the inner-workings of our government! I have also been fortunate to take classes in international trade and classes relating to international politics and economy, which have further developed and narrowed my passions.

I am looking forward to applying what I have learned in the classroom to our discussions and to witness world leaders discuss the issues that I have become passionate about. I am very excited to go to Papua New Guinea, and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences very soon!

Katherine West (’19) from Edgewood, KY (Politics and International Affairs)

My name is Katherine West, and I’m a senior Politics and International Affairs major from Edgewood, Kentucky.

Over the past three years at Furman, I’ve been blown away by the opportunities for students to explore every little interest they have; I’m no exception! I’ve spent my summers as a research fellow studying the effectiveness of college student governments across the country, as a consultant for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in Washington, D.C., and as an undergraduate clerk at a Prosecutors’ Office in my home state. I’m currently working with a professor as we represent undocumented folks in immigration proceedings. In my free time, I register people to vote and try fake court cases with Furman’s Mock Trial program.

I’m deeply passionate about the rights of women, minorities, and immigrants. APEC is the perfect place to brainstorm collaboratively. I can’t wait to learn from other youth delegates as we discover sustainable ways to empower the most vulnerable among us in our respective economies.