Students set to voice diverse opinions

Some UBC students will greet this fall's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting with picket signs, others with open arms.

News that the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held Nov. 25 at UBC has garnered reactions among students that run the gamut from opposition to active support.

A group called APEC Alert is holding rallies, panel discussions and other events to outline their opposition to the APEC leaders' meeting.

They strongly believe the campus should not be the venue for the meeting due to human rights violations in some member economies.

The Alma Mater and Graduate Student societies have adopted more moderate policies, but are also concerned about human rights issues. The AMS is planning to sponsor a major conference on APEC issues in the fall, with the hope of presenting a final conference document to APEC leaders or senior officials.

AIESEC (a French acronym for International Association for Students in Economics and Commerce) is an international student group supported by business and industry that organizes international student exchanges.

Its UBC members are planning an APEC Young Business Ambassadors program to bring in students for work-study tours throughout the summer. As well, they are attempting to arrange temporary work placements in APEC economies for Canadian university students.

They also plan an APEC-related conference, the Youth APEC `97 Forum Oct. 2-3, which will bring the Young Business Ambassadors and other representatives of the Asia Pacific region together with Canadian students, academics, business leaders, non-governmental organizations and government representatives.

The APEC-University Forum is another group of UBC students that plans to provide information and discussion on APEC issues through a series of meetings, panels and cultural events throughout the summer and fall terms.

These events are intended to provide an opportunity for students to voice both their interests and concerns on APEC issues ranging from trade liberalization to human rights to create a better understanding of the benefits APEC can bring.

UBC students are also taking part as individuals in a whole range of APEC and CYAP (Canada's Year of Asia Pacific) academic and youth conferences.

These include an electronic conference associated with the APEC Trade Ministers' meeting in Montreal, an APEC study centre symposium in Banff and the CYAP Youth Conference planned for Winnipeg in October.

Increasing numbers of students -- especially from the Faculty of Commerce and various international programs -- have come forward to act as volunteers for APEC. Screening and placement is being handled by the APEC Canadian Co-ordination Office in Vancouver.

More information about APEC and UBC's involvement can be found on the World Wide Web at under "News, Events and Attractions."