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September 30, 2020
APEC 2018 News

APEC’s Signature Look: ‘The Family Photo’

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By Joanita Nonwo – EMTV Online

It was 1993, and Jurassic Park was the hit movie of the century then, the World Trade Centre got bombed and the World Wide Web has just seen its growth with its first 50 servers spread across the world.

The 5th APEC summit was also winding down to a close in Seattle, Washington, USA, where the year saw Bill Clinton make his first entry, elected into the White House as America’s 42nd President.

It was on Blake Island that President Clinton, handed out leather bomber jackets to the leaders present at the gathering – that ladies and gentlemen was the beginning of APEC’s closing tradition of ‘Family Photo.’

The year also marked the first and the beginning of APEC meetings attended by the head of states and not ministerial-level officials.

Also known as ‘Silly shirt’, the idea was to get the leaders to pay tribute to the host country’s tradition. So in the following year when APEC was held in Indonesia, the world leaders had a chance to wear Indonesian batik shirts.

APEC Family photo – Indonesia, 1994. Photo credit: TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

The tradition has since become a fun practice displayed at the end of the summit; however, it has not been consistent all throughout the years, with issues arising from Kimonos being too bright and shapey when Japan played host, to Barack Obama expressing his thoughts to cancel the ‘silly shirts.’

Whether this colourful tradition will die out or not, there is no doubt it has established itself as a signature event of the APEC summit.

APEC family photo – Papua New Guinea, 2018. Photo source: Social Media

This year with Papua New Guinea playing host country, the leaders and their spouses have been dressed in Papua New Guinea’s national colours of red, black, gold and white.

The colours are taken from the Papua New Guinean national flag.

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