SCARSDALE, N.Y. A group of Scarsdale High School students spoke via teleconference with international economic experts in Hawaii on Friday as part of an ongoing project to learn how international trade shapes global issues and relations.
The teleconference was held in advance of the opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Honolulu, home of the East-West Center, scheduled for Nov. 7-13. Students Mariah Genis, Max Kober, Michael Lu, Stephanie Marandi and Harrison Shapiro sat on a panel with moderator Dr. Michael McGill, superintendent of Scarsdale schools, for the discussion with Dr. Charles Morrison, president of the East-West Center, and Robert Koepcke, deputy director of the U.S. state department's bureau for East Asia and Pacific affairs.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joan Weber, head of the schools' Interdependence Institute, credited social studies teacher Gwen Johnson with creating the project. "Gwen is our East-West coordinator. She's been working with the East-West Center for five years or more," Weber said. The Interdependence Institute is an association of professional staff whose goal is to provide students with an understanding of globalization.
"We're trying to educate students about the world in which they live, and to give them the skills, abilities and knowledge to enable them to succeed in that world," Weber said.
The students involved in the teleconference were drawn from those taking courses in economics, environmental science and comparative government, and are also members of the high school's model U.N. club, Junior State Of America chapter and Mock Trial Club. In addition, about 40 other students sat in on the Friday afternoon session.
APEC, established in 1989 by 12 economies, including the United States, aims to foster growth and prosperity by facilitating economic cooperation and expanding trade and investment throughout the region. It is now composed of 21 economies.
After listening to the presentation by Morrison and Koepke, students posed questions about APEC's mission, how it might expand in the future and what real impact the group has, given its lack of mandate to make decisions or impose sanctions. At times, the duo in Honolulu struggled to answer the questions, but said the Scarsdale students were on the right track in their studies, especially those enrolled in the new Mandarin language class.
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