By Majah-Leah V. Ravago
“It’s a small world after all!” It may sound cliché, but is true as exemplified by my recent experience of meeting several EWC alumni in the Western Economics Association International 8th Biennial Pacific Rim Conference in Kyoto, Japan on March 24-27, 2009. We organized sessions in this conference and I realized that several participants we invited have one thing in common — EWC. Alumni that participated in this conference are James Roumasset (USA, FI ’76-’77, et al.), Arsenio Balisacan (Philippines, RSI ’82-’86), Shigeyuki Abe (Japan, OG ’70-’72, et al.), Manabu Fujimura (Japan, IEP ’90-94, et al.), Chieko Umetsu (Japan, ENV ’89-93, et al.), and Sittidaj Pongkijvorasin (Thailand, GDF ’03-’07).
In this conference, I presented two papers: “Optimal Water Allocation and Pricing for Climate Change Adaptation” and “The Philippines at the Crossroads: Resource Curse vs. Sustainable Development.” The second paper is part of the session that I also organized entitled, “Poverty, Environment, and Agriculture,” which combined the “Hawaii mafia” and “Philippines Yakuza.” The former refers UH faculty, alumni, and students while the latter are Japanese scholars who study the Philippines.The conference featured Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Laureate and a former WEAI President who talked about the “Economics and Obligation in Climate Change.” The conference’s main purpose is to foster an exchange of ideas between Western and Asia Pacific economists. By bringing together leading experts as well as junior and senior scholars, the conference covered a broad range of topics in several fields. Participation in this conference has been extremely beneficial to me as it gave me an opportunity to discuss my research in an international audience as well as network with scholars in my field of interest on development and resource economics. While in Kyoto, I also took the opportunity to visit some of the historic places and learned about the Japanese culture. It was a great and memorable trip. My travel is made possible by the travel grants from the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) and EWC. My first two years of graduate studies have been assisted by funding from EWCA and I continue to receive support from EWC as a graduate degree fellow. Your generosity is very much appreciated. Thank you, mahalo, and maraming salamat!