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APEC 2002

(l-r) Dr. Cleve Fraser, Steven Buckingham, Ayesha Ahmad, and
Shunta Harmon were the first to attend an APEC meeting

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2002
Los Cabos, Mexico
October 22 - 27, 2002

Three Furman students, accompanied by Dr. Cleve Fraser, Coordinator of the APEC/Virtual Trade Mission Project and Professor of Political Science at Furman University, traveled to Los Cabos, Mexico located on the tip of Baja California. The students, Ayesha Ahmad (’03), Steven Buckingham (’03), and Shunta Harmon (’05), were selected from Furman’s Political Science Department to participate in the Virtual Trade Mission’s “Voices of the Future for APEC” program.

Harmon, Buckingham, and Ahmad experienced a busy, full week. The Voices program affords its participants the opportunity to interview leaders of ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council), CEO Summit leaders, and Heads of State and their spouses. The Furman students were able to interview a number of leaders including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Foreign Secretary of Mexico Jorge Castaneda, and first lady of Mexico Martha Fox. To read Steven Buckingham's reflection describing his expericene, click here.

The students also had the opportunity to produce an I-Movie, depicting several aspects of their weeklong stay in Mexico. Through these I-Movies, the Furman students interacted with other students, overcame language and cultural barriers, and produced movies that reflect how they worked and learned from one another throughout the week. In addition to learning from one another, in-depth policy discussions naturally ensued among these young people from vastly different cultures. According to Shunta Harmon, “we were all young, enthusiastic leaders in our schools, who yearned to learn more about other countries and ultimately shared the goal of wanting to change the world.” In addition to learning and sharing, the Furman students were able to explore Los Cabos with other students from economies such as Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Chile.

Steven Buckingham commented that “of all the life-long memories made during my time at Furman, my experience at the 2002 APEC Summit ranks among the best. We were offered an unparalleled educational opportunity: to not only have nearly-unrestricted access to, but also to actively participate in, a major international trade conference.” Buckingham goes on to say, “APEC 2002 was an intellectually-challenging, conscience-awakening experience that will live in my memory for the balance of my life. The lessons learned during that week in mid-October have undeniably endowed me with more perceptive political senses and greater awareness of my status as a global citizen. It was genuinely the opportunity of a lifetime.”

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