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Editorial | Island Voices


    Hawaii delegates learned from last year’s APEC summit in Yokohama, Japan, that Hawaii was capable of handling the annual gathering of leaders from the Asia-Pacific region. In photo above, Japanese officials made final preparations for the forum in Yokohama.
  • Japan

In November, President Barack Obama will host the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii.

Goal is to build a ‘seamless regional economy’

President Barack Obama will host leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in November 2011. The international conference starting the week of Nov. 8 will bring together the 21 member economies: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
As APEC 2011 host, the U.S. will prioritize initiatives to build a "seamless regional economy" in specific areas, including:
» Strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade;
» Promoting green growth;
» Expanding regulatory cooperation and advancing regulatory convergence.

The meeting will bring together 21 top governmental leaders from the fastest growing and most dynamic region of the world, including Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam.

During the week leading up to the Leaders’ Meeting, Hawaii will also be the site of the prestigious APEC CEO Summit and APEC Business Advisory Council meetings, as well as meetings of finance and trade ministers.

There have never been intergovernmental meetings approaching this magnitude in Hawaii, so there is no question that they will help our economy. But the benefits of hosting the APEC meetings will be much more far-reaching, both in the short term and long term.

This past November, delegates from Hawaii, including Hawaii Host Committee members, traveled to Yokohama to attend APEC 2010 in Japan to gain insights into the hosting processes, as well as to promote Hawaii as the next APEC site. The trip validated our assertion that Hawaii is more than capable of hosting an event of this magnitude, and enabled us to see firsthand how APEC could be used to showcase Hawaii businesses and culture on the world stage.

Just as Japan and Yokohama used APEC to display technological accomplishments from robotics to renewable energy and boost local products and services, we intend to utilize this year’s opportunities to generate exposure of Hawaii’s products and services to top government officials, industry leaders and potential business partners and investors.

The APEC forum will also present opportunities to brand Hawaii in a strategic manner. Roughly 2,000 media professionals are anticipated to cover APEC. We plan to seize this opportunity by positioning Hawaii as a leading destination to host meetings and incentives programs. Also, by hosting heads of state and CEOs of major firms, we will be able to showcase Hawaii’s world-class accommodations and facilities to high-level decision-makers.

How can Hawaii businesses get involved and participate? First, in the coming months, the Host Committee and the U.S. government will release multiple requests for proposals for services and products. Second, the Host Committee is exploring opportunities for businesses to communicate their messages through media, sponsorships, displays, etc., during APEC 2011. And third, we already anticipate that hundreds of volunteers will be needed throughout the course of the year, and we have established a process so that interested residents can indicate their interest through our website.

The real opportunity lies beyond when these leaders return home. Our aim is to foster opportunities that will perpetuate and continue to strengthen our economy over the long haul, using APEC to showcase Hawaii’s leading and innovative economic sectors, its culture and its people. The Host Committee is currently working on developing ways to measure the long-term benefits for our community resulting from hosting APEC 2011.

Our hope is that our children, the next generation of Hawaii’s leaders, will look back and see APEC 2011 as the turning point of what made our state a true global business and intergovernmental destination. For decades we have been talking about Hawaii as the key bridge and premier meeting place between East and West. APEC 2011 can help make this aspiration a reality.

As we continue to plan for November 2011, the Host Committee will be releasing updates, information and opportunities. We hope you will visit the official Hawaii Host Committee website at for current information on services and volunteer opportunities.


Members of the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee Leadership are Peter Ho, Tim Johns, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Mike McCartney and Dr. Charles E. Morrison.

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