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Former Saipan student selected to speak at APEC youth event

FORMER Saipan student Midori Nishida was one of Japan’s youth delegates to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC Voices of the Future event held in Danang, Vietnam from Nov. 6 to 10, 2017.

Nishida, who graduated from Calvary Christian Academy in 2012, was selected to give a speech during the conference regarding this year’s APEC summit theme: “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future.”

A former member of the CNMI National Speech and Debate Association team, Nishida spoke about Japan’s commitment to achieving human resource development in the digital age; economic, financial and social inclusion; and innovation.

She also addressed the issue of a shrinking population and workforce in Japan. “As Japanese policymakers and politicians scramble to tackle the issue of a shrinking workforce, one solution is often avoided in the national dialogue: opening the doors to immigrants.”

She said discussing immigration remains tricky in a homogenous society such as Japan’s. “However, the reality is that what Japan needs now is foreign talent and diversity. What Japan needs is diversity, not just for addressing our shrinking workforce, but for encouraging and fostering innovation through diverse perspectives which, in turn, enables economic growth in the Asia Pacific.”

Midori made reference to her experiences growing up on Saipan during discussions on climate change and indigenous rights.

“Combating climate change is everyone’s responsibility as it affects us all. I believe it’s crucial to invite the islands in the Pacific that are feeling the immediate effects such as rising sea levels into international dialogues on global warming.”

Midori Nishida, third left, with Japanese youth delegates and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Contributed photosMidori Nishida, third left, with Japanese youth delegates and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Contributed photos

She said it’s also important to preserve the cultures and languages of indigenous populations and ensure they are given equal opportunities.

Speaking of her experiences at the APEC summit, she said: “It is important for young people to be involved in dialogues on today’s most pressing issues and the APEC Voices of the Future was a great platform for our voices to be heard by world leaders. The future belongs to us, the youth, therefore we should take the responsibility to ensure a better future for generations to come.”

Nishida is currently pursuing a double master’s degree in public policy at the University of Tokyo and the National University of Singapore.

At the APEC summit, Nishida and the other youth delegates listened to the speeches of U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

She and the other Japanese youth delegates also met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

Founded in 2007, the APEC Voices of the Future is held in conjunction with the APEC CEO Summit and the APEC Economic Leaders Week.

The program aims to encourage students to learn more about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, promote cross-cultural exchanges, and prepare youth delegates to become future leaders of their nations.