The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

Staff Spotlight: Ken Brown and Kathy Heiser attend APEC 2023

Faculty and students attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16 in San Francisco, CA. The Bellarmine contingents included Social Studies teacher Ken Brown, Spanish teacher Kathy Heiser and seniors Dylan Bianchi and Brynn Manke.

Ken Brown reflected on the experience.

“This past November, Kathy and I had the incredible opportunity of attending as delegates the 2023 APEC summit in San Francisco. What’s more, we were able to invite a couple of students to join us. We selected Brynn Manke, president of Bellarmine MUN 2023-2024, and Dylan Bianchi, Secretary General of BELLARMUN 2024, our annual in-house conference for middle schoolers.

The conference took place over three days and we had the privilege of attending speeches and sessions from a jaw-dropping slate of heads of state and political VIP’s (Biden, Condoleezza Rice, Governor Gavin Newsom, Prime Minister of Thailand, President of Korea, President of Chile, and many more). We were also able to attend speeches and sessions from another jaw-dropping slate of heads of companies in these APEC nations (CEO’s of Microsoft, Uber, Pfizer, Exxon-Mobil, and many others).

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Not only was the three-day event illuminating in terms of the conversations being had between heads of state and CEO”s in these APEC nations to try to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems such as climate change, human rights, and the responsible integration of AI, but as a MUN contingent, it was super-interesting seeing how NGOs, governments, and corporations can all work together on a global level given the right conditions. Kathy and I also loved watching Dylan and Brynn at work. Their world-view expanded right before our eyes.

Plus we had the opportunity to attend two Gala events…the opening reception at the Asian Art Museum of SF (closed to the public so we could walk around and see all the exhibits unfettered), and a dinner reception in a fancy-schmancy hotel (forget which one, but I bet Kathy knows).

Overall we were so fortunate that [former Bellarmine president] Rob Modarelli, as chief organizer of the event, was kind enough to think to invite us. Delegate tickets ran for upwards of $4000 per, and Kathy and I were allowed to attend without paying this fee. The trip was affordable also due to the generosity of [Bellarmine principal] Cindy Davis who helped make this possible by purchasing Kathy’s and my plane tickets and paying for our hotel rooms.”

Kathy Heiser, Ken Brown, former Bellarmine president Rob Modarelli, Dylan Bianchi and Brynn Manke reunite at the APEC 2023 conference. Photo courtesy of Ken Brown

Kathy Heiser also added her thoughts.

“APEC was not a teacher conference, but it has relevance for my classes. In my AP Spanish class, a discussion on the topic of immigration opened the door to present a video clip of the president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, speaking to APEC on this very topic and its economic implications. Without having attended the conference, I would not have had any exposure to this unique information that enriched students’ depth of understanding and breadth of knowledge. I look forward to more opportunities to include experiences from APEC in my language classes. APEC offered authentic, relevant, real-world learning to bring to Bellarmine students. I cannot thank Cindy and Rob enough for making it possible for Brynn, Dylan, Ken and me to rub shoulders with heads of state and titans of industry! It was a bit comical when someone would ask us who we were. Scrolling through the attendees, Ken and I seemed to be the only teachers.”

Kathy Heiser, Dylan Bianchi, Brynn Manke and Ken Brown enjoy one of the exclusive APEC 2023 receptions Photo courtesy of Ken Brown

About the Contributor
Lion Staff, Writer
The Lion staff loves to fill in and write about anything Bellarmine Prep-related.