Leaders come to UBC for APEC '97

by Gavin Wilson
Staff writer

UBC will once again play host to world leaders when the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting, APEC '97, is held here Nov. 25.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced that UBC would be the meeting site prior to his departure for Asia with the Team Canada economic trade mission.

The APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, which brings together representatives of 18 Pacific Rim economies, will be held in the Great Hall of the Museum of Anthropology and leaders will attend a lunch at Norman MacKenzie House hosted by Chretien.

The meeting caps Canada's Year of Asia Pacific (CYAP), an initiative to promote increased business relations, youth involvement and cultural exchanges to broaden understanding within the Asia Pacific region.

"The APEC leaders' summit and other events associated with Canada's Year of Asia Pacific will highlight UBC's extensive links with Asia and its position as one of North America's premier academic institutions in Asia-Pacific affairs," said UBC President David Strangway. "The resources and expertise UBC can provide will strengthen and complement Vancouver's emerging position as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific."

Canada is a founding member of APEC, which was formed in 1989 as the principal intergovernmental vehicle for economic co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in areas such as human resources development, telecommunications, energy, the environment, transportation and tourism.

Hosting the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting illustrates UBC's central role in Canada's Year of Asia Pacific.

Last month, the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum was held in Vancouver, bringing together legislators from more than 20 Pacific Rim nations.

Strangway joined the prime minister and the rest of Team Canada on a trade mission to Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines earlier this month.

In October, UBC and SFU students who are members of AIESEC, a French acronym for an international student organization, will hold a youth APEC in Vancouver.

They plan to set up student job exchanges and hold seminars and workshops that bring together government, business and student representatives to discuss Asia-Pacific economic issues.

Other UBC-related events that will fall under the rubric of Canada's Year of Asia Pacific include art shows and exhibitions, conferences, meetings, scholarly seminars, and other academic events related to the Asia Pacific.

Chris Brown, a senior official with the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, is serving on an executive interchange with UBC to provide liaison and co-ordination on a range of Asia-Pacific issues, including the university's extensive involvement in both APEC and CYAP. UBC's CYAP co-ordinator is Alison Speer, manager of Government Relations. UBC's co-ordinator for APEC is Eilis Courtney of the Ceremonies Office.

"No other university in Canada has the breadth and depth of relations with Asia that UBC has," Brown said.

"From anthropology to zoology, every department and faculty at this institution has an active program or is actively seeking to add one in the Asia Pacific region. UBC also has extensive linkages with universities in every Asian country."

As well as its strengths in traditional academic disciplines, UBC has links with Asian-related business and cultural associations and offers study and exchange programs and full-time study opportunities for Asian students.