Calvary Christian Academy alumna Midori Nishida represented Japan as a youth delegate during the APEC Voices of the Future 2017 held in Da Nang, Vietnam from Nov. 6 to 10.
Founded in 2007, the APEC Voices of the Future is the key youth dialogue platform that is held in conjunction with the APEC CEO Summit and APEC Economic Leaders’ Week. The program aims to encourage students to know more about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, promote cross-cultural exchanges, and prepare youth delegates to become future leaders of their economies.
Youth delegates from the 21 economies gathered together to discuss this year’s theme of the APEC Summit: “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future.” Nishida was selected as the Japanese delegate to give a speech on Japan’s commitment to achieving human resources development in the digital age, economic, financial and social inclusion, and innovation.
She addressed the issue of a shrinking population and workforce in Japan in her speech. “As Japanese policymakers and politicians scramble to tackle the issue of a shrinking workforce, one solution is often avoided in the national dialogue altogether: opening the doors to immigrants.”
Nishida added, “Discussions of immigration among policymakers remain tricky in a homogenous society such as Japan; however, the reality is that what Japan needs now are foreign talent and diversity. What Japan needs is diversity, not just for addressing our shrinking workforce, but for encouraging and fostering innovation through diverse perspectives which in turn, enables economic growth in the Asia Pacific.”
Although she represented Japan during the program, Midori brought up her experiences growing up on Saipan during discussions on climate change and indigenous rights.
“Combating climate change is everyone’s responsibility as it affects us all. I believe it’s crucial to invite the islands in the Pacific that are feeling the immediate effects such as rising sea levels into international dialogues on global warming.” She also commented that it’s important to preserve the cultures and languages of indigenous populations and ensure they are given equal opportunities.
During the APEC CEO Summit, Nishida was able to listen to talks given by world leaders and CEO’s such as U.S. President Donald Trump, President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. She and the other Japanese youth delegates were also able to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Speaking of her experiences at the APEC Summit, she said: “I think it’s important for young people to be involved in dialogues on today’s most pressing issues and the APEC Voices of the Future was a great platform for our voices to be heard by world leaders. The future belongs to us youths, therefore we should take the responsibility to ensure a better future for generations to come.”
Nishida grew up on Saipan and is currently pursuing a double masters in Public Policy at the University of Tokyo and the National University of Singapore. (PR)