Alan Garcia, President of Peru
John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand
HU JINTAO, PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Kevid Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Leader of Indonesia
Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba
David Hale, US Economist
It was seriously so cool watching the world leaders file in and out for our viewing and listening pleasure. We sat with the media in the balcony and of course had our headset translators to make sure we caught everything that was being said. Most of the VIPs had little to no special security.....except for HU. We were so excited to see Hu that we actually waited in the balcony for an hour before the speech was supposed to begin.....we tried out several seats to make sure that we had the best ones in the house and no one would be able to block our view. Not only did Hu have extra security, but people were also asked to rise as he entered and exited the auditorium. In addition, he had one of his security guards place and remove his speech from the podium, so he never had to carry, move, or touch anything. His speech wasn't anything profound or new to the Chinese political economy, but his presence was indeed that of a very powerful world leader.
Just a note on some of the other speakers...
-this was John Key's first public address as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, after only being sworn in 24 hours earlier
-Jack Ma was cute, tiny, and a little ball full of energy
Tonight was our last night, so all of the delegations had to put together a little presentation to showcase our cultures to the other economies. Good times were had by all....
-The Canadians gave a brief history of their great nation while humming "O Canada"
-The Mexicans hired a mariachi band to serenade us all. They also did a sort of Telemundo-style gameshow to give away a sombrero, and the final competition was to pronounce a difficult word with several r's. Thankfully we were not in the competition and a student from Singapore won.
-The Chinese students had a medley of talents...one girl sang Beijing opera, another sang Western-style opera, and then the two gentlemen did a sort of two-comedian stint.
-The Vietnamese students also sang and danced some traditional songs, as did the Singaporeans.
-The New Zealanders taught us some Maori dances and the Maori tradition of rubbing noses with each other in greeting.
-The Peruvians sang some lovely songs for us, which turned into a huge latin/salsa dancefest, as per typical Peruvian style.
-And the Americans sang a couple of songs as well.....while most of the other delegations sang songs about love and friendship, ours was more about our childhood and songs that the 5 different groups from the U.S. all knew the words to: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "This Land is Your Land."
We also received and gave many gifts to the other students, such as key chains, candy, etc, gave out our business cards, and said our goodbyes. Overall, it was a lot of fun!
However, even though we had the closing ceremonies, we are not done yet. Tomorrow is the final day of the summit. We probably won't have the opportunity to blog tomorrow, so we'll just tell you what we'll probably see. First, the president of South Korea. Then, President Bush. Then, President Felipe Calderon of Mexico. And certainly last but not least, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper. Yes, it will be a busy day. We have the same access tomorrow as we did today, although security will be much higher with President Bush's address. Then, we plan to do some shopping/bargaining in the Peruvian market, gather all of our belongings and diverse gifts, and board a plane for what should be a very long but fun-filled day of travel.
Thanks for reading along with us on this little trip of ours. Words do not give it justice. That goes for both the incredible access to world leaders as well as the minor health epidemic we had amongst our delegation. Personally, I've been striving for jealousy when describing our experiences, but the girls might have more pure motivations. Thanks to the wonderful people here in Peru who have made the Voices program one we will never forget. Special thanks to Drs Fraser and Cook, without whom we would not have enjoyed our time here nearly as much. And the utmost thanks to Carol Asalon who did the wonderful job of planning all our travel arrangements, getting our visas, and talking Cindy Youssef into taking good care of us. Thanks to the Riley Institute and all who made this possible.