Aloha from APEC!

8 11 2011

Aloha from Oahu, the most populous of the Hawaiian isles and where you will find Honolulu, capital of the Aloha State.

Oahu is a balmy, lush, multicultural island, filled with the buzz of Honolulu, Hawaii’s largest and capital city. The epicentre of Honolulu is most definitely Waikiki Beach, the Bondi of Hawaii, now famed for its wealthy shopping strips as much as its low, slow wave breaks that disperse throughout the bay.

Waikiki was chosen by President Obama as the site for the 2011 gathering of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (known more commonly as APEC), a 21-member association of economics from the Asia-Pacific region, established at the behest of Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, in 1989. The forum works to advance regional economic integration and prosperity and has developed into one of the world’s most significant information exchange, structural reform and business diplomacy bodies.

Many people think that APEC is an annual event but it is actually an ongoing process with hundreds of government and business meetings taking place throughout the year. However, it is Leaders’ Week when the eyes of the world fall on the host city.

Alongside the CEO and Leaders summits, a special youth conference is held. APEC Voices of the Future is an annual program organised by the APEC Voices Leadership Council. It provides a platform for youth leaders and educators from the 21 APEC Member Economies to engage with APEC leaders, Ministers, Senior Government Officials and business leaders on a myriad of relevant APEC policies and issues.

Australia’s 2011 youth delegation is made up of five young people:

• David Speirs, from South Australia (Group Leader)
• Paul Chessell, New South Wales
• James Gorman, Victoria
• Anna Lee, New South Wales.
• Stephanie Moncur. Victoria.

We arrived in Honolulu in dribs and drabs over the last few days. James first and David and Stephanie last. Some of us got to do a of exploring of Oahu’s sites, with Paul able to visit historic Pearl Harbor and James taking a driving tour of the island with some Americans who knew how to drive on the right hand side of the road!

This evening the event started with a gathering in our hotel. We all introduced ourselves and went through the exciting program which lies ahead. It’s packed with the opportunity to interact with leading business and government figures, listen to their ideas about the world we live in today and answer our questions.
As well as the serious stuff there will be the chance to let our hair down; have surfing lessons, roll our sleeves up and take part in a traditional Hawaiian farming (we’re told we’ll get muddy doing this) and go canoeing.

Over the coming days we’ll blog about the event, share our thoughts and experiences and hopefully show how many different people can come together from many different places to learn and understand the world together!

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