Students to volunteer at APEC

Pauline Yang, reporter

Forty-two Academy of Hospitality and Tourism/Academy of Finance students are helping with the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center. APEC was created in 1989 to aid sustainable economic growth, cooperation, and trade and investment. APEC’s core mission is to build up international economies in the Asia-Pacific region by taking away blockades to trade and investment.

Student volunteers had to go through at least one day of training session at UH Manoa, where they learned more about Hawaii’s history and culture. They also learned a bit of Hawaiian language to spread the Aloha spirit; words like Ho’okipia – Hospitality; to welcome and make guests feel at home with warmth and generosity. The volunteers are going to be hosts for the whole APEC event. In becoming hosts, students must keep in mind five important traits. Students must smile genuinely because it looks great, is professional, and builds up trust.

Greeting others means prompt acknowledgement and a smile to strengthen relationships. Listening is an important communication skill because it requires concentration to understand a situation which helps figure out how to solve problems. Questioning helps clarify and verify information being collected to further assist guests to make them satisfied.

Last, explaining will help students inform their guests of any mishaps or delays, to help guests understand what is happening, Training sessions started on September 24, 2011. This Saturday, students will rehearse what they will do during Leaders Week at Sheraton Waikiki in the morning. They are provided an Aloha shirt/blouse and must wear black pants/skirts during the week of the assignment.

“APEC is hosted by the U.S, but because President Obama is currently from Hawaii, he asked to let the conference be held here, his home island. It’s a really great opportunity to me to be part of this,” says Lavinia Kanogataa (12) a student of AOF.

Students think APEC can benefit Hawaii.

“APEC gives Hawaii a chance to be seen by the world. We are unique because we have so many diverse cultures here,” said Annie Liang (12), student of AOF, “Having APEC here in Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because it would be 21 years later before the APEC Conference will be held in the US again and it might be held in other states.”

The APEC meetings will include presidents, like Barack Obama, prime ministers, heads of state, their personal assistants and CEOs will be there. APEC consists of 21 different countries (Canada, United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Phillipines, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Russia) throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Nowadays, people worry how Hawaii’s economy is doing. Our economy is going downhill. Household income is decreasing, job opportunities are reduced and environmental and natural resources are in danger. Can we overcome these problems or are they inevitable? The leaders of the 21 different economies come together to discuss about how their systems work and learn from each other. Here, at McKinley High School we have PAAC club, that was established in the year of 2011-2012. PAAC and APEC are related by having interconnections between the Asia-Pacific regions and helping them work together. APEC and PAAC can also help businesses and industries, especially with tourism.

“PAAC promotes understanding and awareness of international affairs and relations in the Asian-Pacific regions,” said Mary Lui(12), president of PAAC club.

During this year’s meetings, “PAAC discusses events such as the upcoming Fall Conference with the theme of Indonesia. Club participation is highly encouraged in various school activities and service projects,” said Lui.

If APEC and PAAC (Pacific and Asian Affairs Council) can help Hawaii become stable, then Hawaii’s quality of life in the future can improve. APEC can help in many ways.

“APEC should help Hawaii greatly. In the future I can see the tourism industry rising up again because this conference will put Hawaii in a spotlight, so to speak,” said Keilah Chung (12), AOHT student. Hawaii’s stability is important.

”If Hawaii isn’t stable, then our state as a whole is going to be ruined, because we basically live on the tourism industry alone. That is our major source of income,” said Chung (12)

“Also, Hawaii is a major part of the United States alone. Pearl Harbor is one main source that the Army uses most. The U.S needs Hawaii to be stable or else they lose big time.”