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UH journalism student gets first taste of world politics at Hillary Clinton speech

By Alicia D. Partridge   

As soon as I heard she was coming I knew I had to see her. Secretary of State, The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, came to Hawaii to

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses Hawaii based military and civilian leaders as well as members of the East-West Center and students from the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University on Oct. 28 while at the Kahala Resort and Hotel in Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara to discussabroad range of issues relating to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The next APEC summit will be held Nov. 12-20, 2011 at theHawaii Convention Center. Clinton also spoke at a press conference Wed. Oct. 27 and gave a speech on Thurs. Oct. 28.

I was lucky enough to be one of the few media representatives and invited guests who attended her speech at the Kahala Hotel & Resort onOct. 28.  According to Derek Farrar, media relations specialist at East-West Center, about 300 people attended.

Charles E. Morrison, President of the East-West Center, gave a welcome speech. Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye gave the introduction for Clinton. Also visible in the front row were Reps. Mazie Hirono and Charles Djou, Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, Lt. Gov.-elect Brian Schatz, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and former Governors George Ariyoshi, John D. Waihee III and Ben Cayetano.

The event was hosted by Hawaii’s own East-West Center along with the Pacific Forum CSIS, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, the Japan-American Society of Hawaii, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, The APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee and the University of Hawaii.

As soon as Clinton entered the room, you could feel the energy level rise. I immediately felt excited to be among the other professional and military journalists all-eager to hear the speech.

Morrison opened up the ceremony with a few words about the East-West Center and its mission and relation to APEC.  Then Inouye introduced Clinton.

Inouye’s introduction of Clinton was like a personal friend. He spoke of her as a person and not just as a politician. I thought that this was very relative because of how insane the election season has been recently and the demand to “restore sanity” back to politics. It made her seem more approachable.

Though I personally haven’t been keeping up with APEC or any sort of international affairs, Clinton’s speech inspired me and made me want to learn. Considering our past with Asia, I think it’s very important to develop better and more considerate relationships with other countries. Also she mentioned that the U.S. wants to enhance U.S. engagement in the Pacific.

Clinton is working on a two-week trip to Honolulu, Guam, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand to speak to political leaders to increase economic interactions and promote U.S. exports. She also wants to create closer partnerships with our top allies: Japan, Korea, Australia and India.

Clinton and Obama are gearing up for the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea on Nov. 11-12.

The G-20 group and summit were created as a response to both the financial crises of the late 1990s and to a growing recognition that key emerging-market countries were not adequately included in the core of global economic discussion and governance.

This year they plan to: continue ensuring ongoing global economic recovery, discussing a framework for strong, sustainable, and balanced growth, strengthen the international financial regulatory system and modernize the international financial institutions. New to the agenda: determine economic safety nets, narrow the development gap and reduce poverty and organize a G20 Business Summit.

According to the official Seoul Summit website, the Republic of Korea President Lee Myung-Bak said, “It is our sincere hope that the G20 Seoul Summit will help us achieve our common goal of a strong, balanced and sustainable growth of the global economy as well as strengthen the growth potential of the global economy.”

“The U.S. is uniquely position to play a leading role in the Asian Pacific,” Clinton said. “People look to us as they have for decades. The most common thing that Asian leaders have said to me is ‘thank you for playing an active role in Asia again.”

Those are just some of the issues that Clinton hopes to address in these countries. She also plans to address international schooling, free trade and review the U.S. military defense posture.

With the way that the world is changing and the rise of other nations, China and India, Clinton feels it is even more crucial to create these strong alliances.

After she completed her speech, I felt inspired to go out and do something. She really is very well spoken and educated. I wish I could have asked her some questions but she was hustled out quickly to her next meeting and flight.

It’s in moments like this that remind me of why I chose to be a journalist.

Alicia Partridge

Photos courtesy of Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

Photo by: Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

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