——Wenzhou-Kean sophomore Xia Xue wins grand award in the Voice of the Future competition event

On July18, three university students stood head and shoulder above the other three thousand students after one week of intense competition – the Voice of the Future selection activity. Selected as the student representatives, they will attend the APEC meeting in Philippines in November.

The competition was held in Zhouzhuang, a famous water town in Kunshan city. Three students, Xia Xue from Wenzhou Kean University, Wang Zhuoru and Jia Xizi from Beijing University and Fudan University respectively won the chance to attend APEC meeting.

“China’s youngsters are distinctive. Even they know the crux of China’s development, they don’t gloss over it. While at the same time, they are proud of the progress China has achieved,” said Noel Gould, the founder of the APEC Voice of Future.

Founded in 2007, APEC Voice of the Future program is a youth camp for exchanges among young students from various economies held in conjunction with the APEC CEO Summit. This program aims to provide students with opportunities to know more about APEC, expand their horizon, engage and build networks with business leaders from different economies.

“In 2007, when these young people stepped into APEC meeting room, everyone was asking – who are these shining stars?” Noel Gould said. “That picture was still fresh. The first impressions of Chinese youth are their amazing English skills and courtesy.”

Noel Gould also noted that the Voice program will enable every future leader to bring the APEC values to their own classrooms, families, and communities.

Entrusted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) is in charge of the Chinese secretariat of APEC Business Advisory Council. In the past eight years, CCPIT have sent many outstanding students to Peru, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Russia, Indonesia and other places to attend APEC summit through the China Division selection. Last November, 2014 APEC Voice of the Future was successfully held during APEC leaders’ meeting.

Changes in selection are taking place in the China Division. Zhang Qisi, program manager of the qualification trials committee of the China Division said, “We used to place too much emphasis on students’ English skills, but now we tend to pay more attention to their sense of responsibilities, team spirit and their concerns about current affairs.”

This year, the qualification trials in China have 7 divisions, including Beijing Division, Shanghai Division, Guangzhou Division, etc. More than 100 winner contestants from those divisions came to Zhouzhuang for the final selection. Through delivering keynote speeches, debating and a proposal match, they were fighting for the qualification to visit APEC.

In early 2001, informal meetings of APEC trade ministers were held in Zhouzhuang. This year, Youth MODEL APEC also took place at this meeting hall. Sitting in the chairs once the ministers have sat in, the students were experiencing the atmosphere of an APEC meeting.

The 2015 APEC Voice of the Future will be held in Manila, Philippines from November 13th to 19th. This year will focus on the theme of “inclusive economies,” which aims to boost trade and investment while ensuring that the benefits are widely felt by the people. Issues concerning environmental problems brought by economic development and the role that small and medium enterprises play, as well as the role women have played in economic growth will be discussed, according to Dr. Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.

Dr. Alan Bollard said he was looking forward to Voice of the Future from Chinese youth in future APEC meetings.