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China Daily / 2023-11 / 15 / Page010

APEC a gateway to the creation of concrete global partnerships

By Liang Kaiyan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-15 00:00

APEC 2023 is more than a forum for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation — it's a gala aimed at creating unique experiences for participants from around the globe, said Xu Peng, board chairman of pharmaceutical company MEBO Group.

Xu, who also serves as co-chairman of the APEC 2023 host committee, said this year's gathering, from Nov 11-17 in San Francisco, has been renamed the APEC Economic Leaders' Week, making it a comprehensive event for the 21 APEC members to engage in exchanges.

"APEC is an event for every single participant to have the opportunity to enjoy being part of something bigger... We try to create a blend of multiple cultures or occasions into one," Xu said.

Different from previous versions of the meeting, the APEC in San Francisco is offering concurrent side events to generate broader public or targeted audience engagement, representing the core themes of sustainability, inclusivity, innovation and resilience. For example, to create a heightened experience for guests, San Francisco has moved its iconic 45.72-meter-high SkyStar Ferris wheel from Golden Gate Park to the Fisherman's Wharf waterfront for the duration of the event.

The host committee has made preparations to create other rich experiences for participants, including opening a night market for shopping and booking reservations at stellar restaurants that serve delicacies from more than a dozen countries, including China, Japan, Italy and Spain. Also, theme days are being held to bring together such diverse participants as business organizations, consulates and delegations to organize matchmaking activities.

"I think one thing that makes San Francisco unique is the strong Chinese culture that is present in the city," Xu said. "The most important way to have cultural exchange is to immerse yourself in an atmosphere that brings you back to where and when history was made."

The Chinese Railroad Workers History Center, near the southern entrance to San Francisco's Chinatown, is a major attraction for attendees looking to learn about Chinese Americans' heritage. The center, which opened in May, commemorates the contribution of Chinese workers who constructed the first railroad to traverse North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific between 1863 and 1869.

This year's APEC meeting also emphasizes youth participation. San Francisco exudes a vibrant and youthful energy that underscores how young people play a significant role in shaping the city's mindset, Xu said. To that end, the Bay Area Council is holding activities for young entrepreneurs — particularly those from China — to showcase their work in tackling global challenges.

"Young people in China are capable of holding social responsibilities and playing a stronger role. There's nothing better than APEC's global platform for them to show their capabilities," said Xu.

"APEC is not a single event gathering, it's about the legacy that people create. From all the work we've done, I think establishing a legacy plays an important role in continuing the mission moving forward."

By embracing APEC's power to create partnerships and achieve common development, MEBO, a regenerative pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Beijing and Los Angeles, has demonstrated a robust commitment to corporate social responsibility over the years. The group has helped to train medical professionals worldwide to handle natural disasters and collaborated with global medical associations to establish partnerships for physician training and related offshoots like fire prevention, with most of the efforts conducted in regions of the APEC member economies.

MEBO will continue to focus on creating a platform that leverages the efforts of others, Xu said. "It is not solely about working on individual projects; we are focusing on how to bring people together to achieve bigger goals."

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