US Senior Official for APEC Engages Xaverians in a Dialogue on Global Issues

by Trevor Yu, H4 IB student
photos from Fr. Aristotle Dy, SJ, School President

Given every government’s inherent desire to improve its country, it is inevitable that leaders impose rules and regulations that may exploit other countries for the benefit of their own. With this in mind, it is difficult for nations to reach common ground on their specific laws, a mutual agreement that is important to prevent disputes on trade barriers, environment, territory and similar issues. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) serves the exact purpose of preventing such discord. More concretely, the organization seeks to drive economic growth and improve employment opportunities and standards of living of the citizens of the Asia-Pacific region through its various conventions and deliberations.

On September 9, 2014, the Xavier community was fortunate enough to receive one of its many successful alumni. Dr. Robert S. Wang (GS ’64), who was accompanied by his batchmates and by officials from the US Embassy in the Philippines, visited for a relatively informal but extremely informative talk. As one of the most senior officials of APEC, Dr. Wang was warmly welcomed by Fr. Aristotle Dy, our school director. The Desautels boardroom was packed with students and teachers alike who were eager to learn from such an esteemed individual. For the first few minutes, Dr. Wang spoke about his numerous jobs, working as a teacher in Whittier College and representing the U.S. as an official in countries such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, China and Singapore. He then shifted his brief personal introduction to a more comprehensive description of his job and APEC as a whole.

In describing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Dr. Wang centered on the importance of free trade on the progression of Asia-Pacific’s economy, the relevance of advocating a clean and green environment and the avoidance of territorial controversy. He mentioned repeatedly that one of APEC’s main goals is to implement free trade in the region, allowing for heightened economic growth in the organization’s jurisdiction. Dr. Wang also stressed the importance of protecting the environment and preventing territorial disputes. He stated that the environment should be of concern, because it serves as a conducive setting for progress. Furthermore, he maintained that preventing territorial disputes allows for mutual economic development.

After his concise introduction on his profession and his organization’s mission and vision, Dr. Wang opened the floor to questions. Initially, students were hesitant to inquire about the organization; however, Dr. Wang’s witty humor drew in, he claims, very beyond-their-years queries, which he seemed very enthusiastic about. He built on what he had already mentioned to thoroughly answer every student’s question, even extending past 4pm. Dr. Wang extensively elaborated on APEC’s concrete advances to push for the well-being and economic growth of countries involved. It was inspiring to be able to witness such an experienced and well-versed alumnus speak so passionately about his job and its consequent effects on the Asia-Pacific region.

Although the encounter with Dr. Wang was a brief one, it was definitely a fruitful session. There were numerous take-aways from the talk, but probably the most integral part of the sharing was the importance of making a difference in our own little way. Xaverians have always embodied the 6Cs (Competence, Culture, Conscience, Community, Compassion, and Character) after their time in the school, as seen in Dr. Robert Wang’s example, but the challenge lies on the succeeding batches who are called to make similar legacies that push the world to a brighter horizon. Magis has constantly been ingrained in each student of Xavier. The call is not only to spread such an ideal but also to exemplify it in our lives as Dr. Robert Wang has done.

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