The successful conclusion to the APEC Summit in Hawaii served notice to the world that our state is fully capable of hosting a large-scale international event. Congratulations to the APEC Host organizers, including Chairman Peter Ho and Executive Vice Chair Tim Johns, for creating a safe and productive environment where the 21 Asia Pacific member economies came together to strengthen our economic ties, promote sustainability and clean energy, and continue our cultural exchange.
Congresswoman Hirono welcomes President and Mrs. Obama home after their arrival on Air Force One.
At the APEC Leaders Dinner, President Obama stated: “We are 21 leaders from across the Asia Pacific. We represent close to 3 billion people, from different continents and cultures: North, South, East and West; men and women of every faith, color and creed.
“Yet whatever our differences, our citizens have sent us here with a common task: to bring our economies closer together, to cooperate, to create jobs and prosperity that our people deserve so that they can provide for their families, so that they can give their children a better future.”
For Hawaii, APEC 2011 was a step forward in moving Hawaii closer to a sustainable future and to create real opportunities for our youth.
Now is the Time for Clean Energy
Developing and commercializing clean energy is one of the most critical needs that we face in the 21st century. So it was only fitting that one of the goals of this conference was to promote a green economy.
I was fortunate to listen to several panels last week on topics like clean energy and sustainable development. You could feel the energy as Hawaii’s top innovators met with their counterparts who traveled from across the Asia-Pacific to share ideas and build relationships.
Tourism has been the bedrock of Hawaii’s economic foundation, and we will always work to keep it strong. However, we need new industries that supplement—not supplant—tourism as the driver of Hawaii’s economic success.
Let’s start changing the way we power our lives – our homes and businesses, our cars and airplanes. The momentum we gain will also help us to attract new green industries and new jobs for our keiki.
Congresswoman Hirono shares her thoughts on the importance of pursuing clean energy in Hawaii at the Asia-Pacific Business Symposium.
Before speaking at the APEC CEO Summit in Honolulu, President Obama signed the APEC Business Travel Card Act of 2011 into law. This initiative, described by the President as an “APEC business gold card,” makes travel to APEC countries easier for both Americans and our APEC partners. It was introduced by Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka and I was proud to cosponsor it in the House.
As the APEC host, Hawaii proved its mettle as a business destination. Easier travel with the APEC Business Travel Card will help us build on our relationships beyond the summit and forge partnerships that will increase jobs, helping to grow our economy and to support our families in Hawaii and the U.S. for years to come.
Hawaii’s Leaders of Tomorrow
The strength of a nation is only as powerful as its youth. In support of our youth, the APEC Voices of the Future brought together students and educators from the member economies to share in the APEC discussions. Five island high school students were able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Under their theme, “Engage, Discover, Forge,” these bright young people brought a new perspective and engagement to the issues we’re facing today.
In addition, students across the state were invited by the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee to answer the question “why is sustainability important to you, Hawaii, and APEC?” Five winners were chosen to attend the APEC CEO Summit and hear from President Obama and other world leaders. Alexander Bitter of Waiakea High School, wrote in his winning essay:
“In making Hawaii more self-sufficient, it is imperative not to destroy what makes it unique. The key to sustainability is not simply increasing local production; rather, it is using available resources and environment to meet society’s needs without abusing them. Striking such a balance between humans and our environment will be what keeps the standard of living high as Hawaii forges its future.”
Congresswoman Hirono meets with the U.S. student representatives to the 2011 APEC Voices of the Future.
APEC gave these students the voice to share their thoughts with leading members of their various countries. As they develop as future leaders, we must continue to provide our students with the tools they need to keep their voices heard.
As one of the student leaders told me, APEC gave them a chance to see themselves on a world stage.
Building relationships with our APEC partner economies is important to moving Hawaii forward, and this week’s summit gave us all the opportunity to share what Hawaii offers. Companies like our APEC Innovation Showcase winners: Skai Ventures, Sopogy, HNU Energy, Big Island Carbon, and TREX Enterprises, did just that. Now we must work together to see the momentum from APEC continue so that Hawaii can be the leader in a global green economy, create more opportunities for our youth, and continue to support jobs in Hawaii.
How do you see Hawaii moving forward as a leader in the Pacific region? Please let me know: visit my website www.hirono.house.gov, call my District Office at (808) 541-1986 or send me a tweet at @maziehirono to share your thoughts on this or any other issues. The direct numbers from the neighbor islands are:
Hawaii Island — 935-3756
Kauai & Niihau — 245-1951
Lanai — 565-7199
Maui — 242-1818
Molokai — 552-0160
Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress
2nd District of Hawaii