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Young Guests Learn About the APO, Impressions from visiting the APO

1 Jun 2008

The APO Secretariat received a special visit from the students of Hitotsubashi University on the afternoon of 26 May. It was arranged after one student heard a speech given by APO Secretary-General Takenaka at a local event in Japan. The following article was contributed by group leader Shuji Kawaguchi, who kindly agreed to share his experiences and impressions of the APO.

Contributed by Shuji Kawaguchi, Hitotsubashi University 3rd year student

On 26 May, I visited the APO Secretariat with some members of the International Society (IS), the English speaking and discussion group, of my university. This was arranged Secretary-General Shigeo Takenaka, whom I met him at an alumni meeting of the IS last January. First, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to him for giving us the opportunity to visit the APO Secretariat and meet the staff members. I am also very grateful and pleased to share my experience and impression of the APO in this short report.

Administration and Finance Department Director Mochtan (2nd R) welcoming students

Hitotsubashi student Kawaguchi (L) talking with Program Officer Saeed (R)

Before I visited the APO, I did not know much about the organization. I had checked its Web site before our visit and had some image of it but, as people say, there is nothing like seeing for oneself. Since I was told that all the communication would be conducted in English at the APO, I was both excited and nervous about the visit.

When we arrived at the APO, Ms. Fujimoto welcomed us with a smile. My first impression of the inside of the office was “bright and clean.” All of us were very impressed with the pleasant atmosphere. Then Ms. Fujimoto took us to a conference room in which Ms. Lee gave a presentation on the APO. I really liked the presentation because it not only gave us more detailed knowledge about the activities of the APO but also showed actual images of its work.

Students meeting with Secretary-General Takenaka (3rd L) and Secretariat staff members

After that presentation, we took a tour around the whole office and received a welcoming reception. At the reception, we talked with other staff members. We introduced ourselves and talked about our interests and activities. The APO staff members kindly spent time with us and shared a lot of things. At that moment I realized tht that the most attractive point of the APO is the people who are working there. There are indeed various people from different countries, cultures, and background so they all have different stories and views. It was interesting to listen to them and time actually flew like an arrow. I must say that everyone was really kind and warm. I thought that if I worked there with these people I would never be bored and every day would be exciting.

It was my first time to make this kind of visit and it was a great experience. If I have another opportunity to visit the APO in the future, I would like to go and meet the staff again with other members of the IS. Finally, I want to thank all of the officers and staff members who welcomed us and took care of us. Thank you very much.

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