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What it means to be a Giant
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Seniors launch their caps in their air as Dr. Barnaby Payne announces they have officially graduated.
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APEC comes to San Francisco: Will it pave the way for a dynamic future?

U.S. Senior Official for APEC Matt Murray (left), Ambassador Helen Stylianou from Australia (middle), and Director General Cherdchai Chaivaivid from Thailand (right), introduce APEC in a press briefing to student journalists.

Barricades line freshly laundered streets and protesters prepare for international spectators, while the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit unfolds a week of global cooperation against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. From Nov. 11 to 17, San Francisco hosted APEC, with the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All,” at the Moscone Center in the heart of downtown. The event drew international leaders from its 21 member nations and garnered over 20,000 attendees.

APEC is a regional economic forum for diplomats to converse about world problems and solutions with the aim of creating “greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration,” according to APEC’s official website.

Senior official for APEC, Matt Murray, addressed his thoughts on what sets APEC apart from other global summits.

“APEC is consensus based… so it’s a place where we can also get together as economies across the region, to share ideas with each other, to share best practices, and to really focus on the ‘C’ APEC, which is cooperation.”

To promote San Francisco’s uniqueness, the convention center constructed a sculpture spelling out “Shine On SF,” decorated with notes made by locals on things they love about the city.

Every year, one of the 21 APEC member economies hosts the conference. San Francisco’s hosting of this year’s event proved noteworthy for locals and city officials in promoting tourism and economic prosperity. Alongside international diplomats, business officials from companies such as OpenAI and Google attended the conference to further conversations. 

 When addressing concerns over closed roads and commotion due to the summit in a press conference, San Francisco Mayor London Breed shared the benefits and concerns of hosting APEC for the city.

“It is going to be a very challenging time,” Breed said. “But the reward for this is San Francisco on the global stage, and others get to see what we know already as residents of this city — how amazing and how special it is.”

Weeks after the summit concluded, San Francisco and Bay Area locals are still discussing the aftermath of the event by addressing overdue tensions. The conference brought upon protests, calling for local and world leaders to take action on common problems. Protests varied from marches demanding action on climate change, independence for Tibet or a cease-fire in Gaza. The relocation of the homeless and cleaned streets for the conference, a problem locals have previously pushed the city to address, therefore prompted the question: ​​will streets remain clean even after APEC?

This summit’s original 2023 APEC logo demonstrates the attention to detail dedicated to the conference. The logo reflects the Golden Gate Bridge, a landmark of the 2023 host city, and more broadly it “represents the lasting partnership between the member economies to advance key initiatives such as economy, business, and climate,” according to the official APEC 2023 Media Toolkit.

While many locals are still skeptical of the city staying clean post-APEC, Mayor Breed and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state-wide beautification project through the planting of 125,000 plus street trees on Nov. 9, days before the event. 

“We’re cleaning up this state!” California Governor Gavin Newsom said during the unveiling of a street tree nursery in San Francisco. “I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.’ That’s true because it’s true, but it’s also true for months and months and months prior to APEC we’ve been having conversations.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Wong Ryniejski
Lucy Wong Ryniejski, Feature Editor
Lucy is a senior and one of this semester's feature editors. She enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, and cooking!