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San Francisco’s upcoming trade summit needs volunteers. Here’s how to join in

Annie Petsonk, U.S. assistant secretary of transportation for aviation and international affairs, left, and Catherine King, minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development of Australia, right, look on as U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks at the start of the second APEC Senior Officials meeting during the Transportation Ministerial Meeting in Detroit on May 16, 2023. | Source: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Want to be part of San Francisco’s biggest international event in decades?

Less than two months before San Francisco is set to host the massive Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, the city is calling for volunteers to help the week-long conference run smoothly.

The event’s organizing committee has posted a volunteer application form online and is seeking 800 volunteers for various roles, including providing directional guidance to the guests in the city, helping with meeting logistics, distributing bags and staffing the desks for information, credentials and registration—in short, helping San Francisco put its best face forward.

Bilingual and multilingual volunteers may also be tasked with providing interpretation, as the international event is expected to attract tens of thousands of travelers from non-English speaking regions around the Pacific Rim.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show your love for our city,” the official APEC website said, appealing to applicants’ sense of civic pride for what’s likely to be the Bay Area’s largest gathering of world leaders since the United Nations was formed after World War II.

And don’t freak out if you are asked to provide your Social Security number. Because top political and business leaders from around the globe are expected to attend, applicants must go through a security background check by the United States Secret Service.

After being approved and credentialed, volunteers will attend a mandatory training in mid-October. APEC will take place from Nov. 11-17.

Han Li can be reached at

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