Canada's Year of Asia Pacific

Faculty, students take part in People's Summit

A few days before APEC leaders meet in Vancouver this November to discuss trade and economic issues, another group will gather across town with a very different agenda.

They are the members of the People's Summit, a coalition of labour, women's, environmental, human rights, and First Nations' groups who have organized an alternative parallel conference to APEC from Nov. 17 to 22 at the Plaza of Nations.

Working with them will be a group of 20 UBC faculty members and graduate students who belong to the APEC Research and Information Network, which is based in the Institute of Asian Research.

Network members are drawn from a diverse group of departments and faculties, such as Community and Regional Planning, Sociology, Political Science, and Commerce and Business Administration. They are co-sponsoring an issues forum on Public Education and Research at the People's Summit on Nov. 19-20.

The forum research panels will focus on economic and social issues in APEC. There will also be an open research exchange for delegates.

"What we've tried to do with the network is bring together various faculty members who are interested in APEC issues and who support the role of non-governmental organizations," said John Price, a honorary research associate at the Institute of Asian Research who specializes in international labour history.

Network members will join hundreds of other delegates at the summit, many of them from overseas, who disagree with the trade liberalization thrust of the APEC agenda.

"Canadian NGOs and others are upset that the APEC Leaders' Meeting centres on enshrining the rights of transnational corporations while other rights, such as human rights and aboriginal rights, are not on the agenda at all," Price said.

The network will also host a session on APEC Nov. 18 at the Asian Centre Auditorium. It is co-sponsored by the Institute of Asian Research, the Sustainable Development Research Institute and the Canadian Assocation for Studies in International Development.

Earlier in the year, the network held a series of seminars on APEC. Price, meanwhile, worked on a brief to the federal government called Canada and APEC: Perspectives from Civil Society.

For information on the education and research forum or the Nov. 18 UBC event, contact 822-3937. More information about APEC and UBC's involvement will be available at a public meeting to be held Oct. 7 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. in Angus 104. Information can also be found on the World Wide Web at www.ubc.ca under "News, Event, and Attractions."

In future issues of UBC Reports, this column will look at the impact on campus of the Leaders' Meeting on Nov. 25, including security, parking and traffic management plans. Buildings and facilities that will be affected the day of the meeting include the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Anthropology, the Anthropology and Sociology building, the Graduate Student Centre, Nitobe Garden, International House and the Rose Garden Parkade.