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Russian Federation Youth Ambassadors team for APEC VOF 2011 in Honolulu, USA

In the year of 2011, when the United States of America was given an honor to host APEC summit, Voices of the Future programme was destined to become unforgettable experience for its delegates. This year programme embraced the hospitality of Hawaiian people, immersion into local culture, and of course, visiting exciting and so inspiring APEC meetings.

Russian Federation team for APEC 2011 consisted of six brilliant youth ambassadors, who were from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. In the light of an upcoming summit in Russia in 2012, Russian team also had an observer – to collect all necessary knowledge and experience for successful VOF programme next year.

As one may suppose, first shock that Russians had to come through was weather condition. In November Russian people are used to the temperature about 0 C degrees. And when they came to Hawaii which was +30 –they were really shocked, but in a very positive way. The first cultural experience was visiting of Kamehameha School, where VOF had the opening ceremony held. Young people dancing traditional dances and singing very pleasant Hawaiian songs were the greatest examples of how culture reflects people’s history, behavior and even preferences. Consequently, the most important thing was done in the very first day: we started feeling like native Hawaiians, driven by the Aloha spirit and ready to conquer all mountains APEC had for us.

The most memorable moments were meetings, such as meeting the Governor of Hawaii state, Mr. Neil Ambercrombie, who told about the preparation to the summit and how it influenced citizens and the welfare of the State. Next speaker was also outstanding, because only outstanding people should have the courage and stamina to manage and coordinate the entire navy aviation for the USA. Admiral Patrick Walsh impressed Voices with the presentation on security issues of Asia Pacific region, and answered even the most intriguing questions of the session.

The other day was remarkable because of the ABAC members, who spent many time talking to Voices and discussing all the issues: from leadership and personal mastery to economic stability and the perspectives of TPP to broaden and involve more Asian Pacific economies. Mr. Theng Teng Dar and Mrs. Deb Henretta in their speeches pursued one and the same thesis: “young leaders of the APEC should take action and make their voice heard today, because future begins today”. What is more indicative, Mr. Francisco Sanchez, under-secretary of the trade department of USA supported their thesis with one more wise thought: “One should never be afraid of realizing his or her dreams, no matter how impossible they seem to be. You only have to have a bit of luck…”

At the time when we were more or less free, we got to meet and talk to the vice-Governor of Primorsky region, Russia, Igor Uleiskiy. He described in details how Russian city of Vladivostok is getting ready to 2012 faster and faster, and all the bridges were solemnly promised to be finished by the time summit comes. He stressed his admiration with the fact that young people are being so active in promotion APEC and participating in its history-making. Special attention should be given to our meeting with the rector of Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok) Vladimir Miklushevsky. Main agenda was youth events following summit in 2012 – APEC Youth Forum and APEC Voices of the Future 2012, that will be held right in turn in September 2012. Mr. Miklushevky expressed his sincere desire to conduct these events, actively involving university students, professors and administration. It is very difficult to express everything you have experienced and came through using only words, written language. And it is twice as much difficult to express patriotism, loyalty, friendship, team spirit and happiness using the same source - words. The last days of APEC week, CEO summit, made all Voices a real team, not only because we saw our leaders, and were able to even ask them a question, but because we finally realized: CEO delegates were the team of NOW, VOF delegates were the team called NEXT, meaning both, close and tomorrow.

This feeling is not only honor, but also huge responsibility for all Voices delegates. Maybe it is not officially recognized yet, maybe it will be on day, but we’d like to propose following motto of APEC VOF that unites all of us: “Make the world better, start right now, follow your dream, and create the better future!”


Anastasia Burmistrova

The maxim of our participation for me is phrase that girl from the Information Desk said in the very first day. “I don’t really know, but you may try”.

Want to be in 3 places at the same time? You may try.

Want to seat on the 3rd row far from D.Medvedev and right after all official Russian delegation when you even don’t have a credential to be in the hall? You may try.

Want to swim with the sharks and enjoy it? You may try :)

For one more time I got the proof that there are no really impossible things, only your own stereotypes. As it was said during the VOF “Hawaiins had a mental colonization which is much more dangerous than physical one”.

2 years ago when I heard about the idea of MUNRFE to organize APEC Summit (or Model APEC) in 2012 it sounded like something not real. Nowadays, looking to the things that have been done towards implementation of this project, from Model APEC in 2010 to Seliger and VOF connections, I more than sure in possible success, because everyone, from University to the President are very supportive in this idea.

That was my “mental colonization” 2 years ago, because of that understanding what MUNRFE can and cannot do. In fact, our horizons much more wider and I wish you not to hesitate to try things that looks impossible. You always may just try.