Media gallery

October and November 2021

Furman University sent four students to join the APEC Voices of the Future Summit 2021 as the youth delegation from the United States. This year’s APEC CEO Summit and all lead-in programs and meetings will be held online between October 12 and November 11. As host, New Zealand aims to make the 2021 virtual Voices of the Future the most inclusive and accessible in the event’s history, creating an opportunity for young people to discuss the big issues and send a declaration reflecting a youth perspective to APEC Leaders as they set our course for recovery. Selected Furman students engaged with their peers around the globe, shared their ideas on one of the four themes of this year’s APEC summit, and contributed to the summit through video clips, questions and comments for the speakers, and collaborative work on the Youth Declaration. Dr. Cleve Fraser served as the delegates’ faculty support during the sessions.

Overview of APEC Voices of the Future 2021

The Asia-Pacific region has nearly one billion young people who stand at the edge of an uncertain future. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately impacted young people globally, including missed education, training and employment opportunities.

COVID-19 has forced the globe into an economic reset. We now have the opportunity to grow our economies differently – making them more inclusive, resilient and sustainable. The work done in these areas at APEC this year will be felt for generations to come.

At a time when we are charting our course for the future, the voices of the next generation need to be involved in the conversation. APEC Voices of the Future 2021 will bring together young people from around the region, who have experienced the economic effects of COVID-19 in different ways. While situations vary, the pandemic requires a regional response that means we are all in this together.

The Summit took place in three parts:

  • Lead-in sessions in October, to make introductions and draft a Youth Declaration for APEC Leaders based around four themes: international cooperation for recovery from Covid-19; the digital future; climate change and sustainability; and a future for all.
  • The formal program on November 8th and 9th included keynote remarks by regional leaders, discussion sessions on each of the four themes in the Declaration, and the formal handing over of the Youth Declaration to New Zealand as chair of APEC 2021.
  • Participation in the virtual CEO Summit on November 10-11.

Read program overview

Learn more about APEC 2021


Student Delegates

Erica Daly

My name is Erica Daly and I am a senior Politics and International Affairs major on the Pre-Law track from Lake Wylie, SC. At Furman, I am President of Furman Mock Trial and Dins Vote, and am a part of the Riley Institute Advance Team, the Society of Tocqueville Fellows, and Political Thought Club.

Over my last three years at Furman, I have interned at an intellectual property firm in Thailand, on Capitol Hill, and have worked on local, Congressional, and Gubernatorial campaigns. This fall, I am coordinating a CLP series on Violence Against Women with Dr. Liz Smith of Politics and International Affairs. After graduation, I hope to work in victim services for two years before attending law school.

In today’s society, it is so important that we forge international connections. I am thrilled to attend the APEC Conference virtually in New Zealand and learn from other students around the world!

Megan Litz

大家好! Hello Everyone! My name is Megan Litz, and I am a senior double-major in Politics and International Affairs with Chinese Studies. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, but I am adopted from China in the Jiangxi province. I have been so blessed to be able to attend Furman University and get involved in organizations such as Riley Institute, Kappa Delta sorority, Furman Symphony, Furman University’s police department, and a few others.

From a young age, I have been instilled with values such as strong work ethic, honesty, and a passion to serve others. These qualities led me to opportunities like interning for American Enterprise Institute, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, and the Clare Boothe Luce Center. After seeing the immense impact each organization makes, I am driven to find ways to serve my community and country that will improve the future generations to come. Following my time at Furman, I am planning on attending graduate school, focusing on national security, and international business and affairs.

I am beyond grateful to attend APEC conference New Zealand (hybrid) and represent the United States. Having the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas and solutions with international leaders is a step towards building a better tomorrow.

Lauren Garrison

My name is Lauren Garrison, and I’m a junior Economics major from Lexington, SC. At Furman, I’m passionate about increasing civic engagement on campus and in the Greenville community as a member of the Riley Institute Advance Team. I’ve also been involved with Belle Voci Women’s Choir, Mere Christianity Forum, and as a volunteer at Greenville Humane Society.

During my time at Furman, I’ve become increasingly interested in public policy. Last spring, I used statistical analysis to study the effect of nonmedical exemptions on vaccination rates for kindergarteners, and this experience got me interested in policy research. Over the summer, I was fortunate to intern with Whitmer & Worrall, a DC-based government relations firm, where I gained an understanding of the federal policymaking process by attending and reporting on congressional hearings. Now, I’m turning my attention to world politics as I prepare to study in Barcelona this spring.

My experiences with policy thus far have taught me that cultural views are an important influence on policy. As such, I’m looking forward to learning from other students at APEC Voices of the Future as we discuss critical issues.

Grace Curty

My name is Grace Curty, and I am a junior Politics and International Affairs and Spanish double major with a minor in Latin American and Latinx Studies from Trinity, NC.

My interests in Political Science and Spanish began when I was in high school, when I had the great fortune of having some amazing teachers who were able to cultivate my passion for these subjects. In the past two years at Furman, I have had many wonderful opportunities that allowed me to really hone in on my interests. The classes have been incredibly engaging, and I have taken classes on varied topics such as Latin American Politics, Health Policy and Law, and Medical Spanish. This spring, I will have the opportunity to study abroad in Santiago, Chile and learn more about the politics and culture of South America.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to represent Furman University and the United States as an APEC Voices of the Future delegate. I am looking forward to connecting with other young delegates from around the world and hearing what our leaders in government have to say about global economic cooperation.