As the leaders of 21 economies gathered in Honolulu to take part in APEC meetings and activities, the East-West Center ramped up into high gear. The EWC hosted three public speeches by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang, and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak (click link to view video/transcript) and cosponsored a business symposium.
Running parallel to the APEC Leader’s Meeting, the EWC’s Pacific Islands Development Program hosted a special series of meetings that brought together leaders and representatives from eleven Pacific island nations with President Obama and Secretary Clinton. These high-level discussions touched on issues around climate change and disaster preparedness.
Addressing leaders from the Pacific islands, members of Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation, the Governor of Hawaii, and other dignitaries and community leaders, along with EWC student fellows and media representatives from throughout the region, Secretary Clinton spoke on November 10th of the renewed focus on the Asia Pacific in her policy address on “America’s Pacific Century” (click for transcript).
Speaking to a packed crowd at the EWC’s Imin Conference Center on November 11, the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang, highlighted “Vietnam’s Comprehensive Integration and New Developments in Vietnam-U.S. Relations.” He emphasized the importance of advancing the strategic partnership with the United States in order to increase peace and prosperity in the region. The U.S. is among the top countries bringing foreign direct investment into Vietnam. Sang said Vietnam's economic strategy includes restructuring investment and financial markets, developing a social safety net, reducing poverty and corruption, and developing a sustainable economy.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak advocated in a speech at the EWC Imin Center the following day that members and leaders of the world's major faiths need to censure and reject their own extremists and jointly support a "Global Movement of Moderates," designed to bridge the divide between the broader Muslim world and the West.
While the series of APEC-related speeches took place at the East-West Center, in Waikiki, the EWC co-sponsored Asia Pacific Business Symposium brought leaders from business, government, academia and non-profits together with top business experts from the Asia-Pacific region who were in Honolulu for the APEC CEO Summit. The focus of their discussions centered on topics including: current trends impacting economies across the Asia-Pacific; regional energy challenges; investment interests of China and other APEC economies; green growth strategies; disaster management and resilient communities; and the impact of trade agreements on SMEs.
In the lead up to APEC, the EWC’s AsiaPacificEd Program worked with K-12 educators and students across the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific on a series of APEC-related educational projects. The students explored issues around international trade and its effects on their local communities in the inaugural “Open Channels” online classroom exchange. Open channels is on-going and will continue to facilitate youth exchanges across the Asia Pacific.
During the months prior to APEC, the Center’s Asian Studies Development Program also conducted educational outreach across the U.S. mainland at host institutions ranging from Youngstown State University (Ohio) to Portland Community College (Oregon). Four regional symposia that drew members of the local business communities, university faculty, and the general public focused on topics such as: Asia-Pacific Trade, Cultural Flows and Social Dynamics; The Cultural and Social Impact of Trade with Asia; and Shifting Trade Winds: Globalization, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Pacific Northwest.