Quarterly Report from EWCA Alumni Chapters (October 2013)



RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED BY: Estrella Besinga Subinsky, VP Chapters

ALOHA TO OUR US & INTERNATIONAL CHAPTERS!  This report comes to you amidst a general anxiety backdrop currently preoccupying American societal discourse over our seemingly divided United States government. We keep optimism alive however, hopeful  that a creative resolution to the impasse between our political leaders and parties will soon be resolved (preferably before our EWCA Executive Board meeting scheduled on October 17th!).  MAHALO TO OUR CHAPTER LEADERS for your positive response to the call for chapter reports.  As always, your reports are sincerely appreciated.

The followings chapters & chapter leaders responded:  1) ASDP Chapter (Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen)  2) Bangladesh Chapter (Abu Ekramul Ahsan)  3) Southern CA Chapter (Claire Langham Richmond)  4) Chennai Chapter (Sonna Belliappa Pemanda)  5) Faisalabad Pakistan Chapter (Muhammad Ibrahim) 6) Jakarta Indonesia (Irwansyah)  7) Lahore Pakistan Chapter (Arfa Sayeda Zehra)  8) Laos Chapter (Chantavong Saignasith)  9) Malaysia Chapter (Gan Siowck Lee)  10) Mumbai India (Sarosh Bana) 11) Myanmar Chapter (U Thein Lwin)  12) Nepal Chapter (Nirendra Maske)  13) Okinawa Chapter (Keiko Yamazato)  14) Philippine Chapter (Ramon Clarete/ Pauline Bautista)  15) Singapore Chapter (Alice Seng Seok Hoon)  16) Taipei Chapter (Yu-Jen Kao)  17) Tokyo Chapter (Yasukata Yano)  18) Washington D.C. Chapter (Jacob Dowd).  19) Hawaii Chapter (Carl Hefner).


Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen, the ASDP Chapter leader and Professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, is pleased to announce that the Double Tree by Hilton in Houston Texas is the venue for the Twentieth Annual Conference of the Chapter on March 13-14, 2014. Conference Coordinators are Jessica Sheetz Nguyen and Betty Buck, and Conference Chairs, Rachana Sachdev and Sylvia Gray. Keynote Speaker, Hardt-Nickachos Chair of Peace Studies Yasmin Saiki, Arizona State University and Special Guests, Roger Ames, Rich Smith, Stanley Murashige and Betty Buck. The invitation is open for ASDP alumni and the EWC  community to participate. The chapter has elected for a 2-year term their new member-at-large, Dennis Arjo, Philosophy Professor at Johnson County Community College and has a new Editor for the ASDP Alumni Chapter Journal, East West Connections, Professor Rachana Sachdev of Susquehanna University.

Contact the ASDP Chapter


Chapter leader Abu Ekramul Ahsan is happy to report that after a lengthy period of dormancy, the chapter held three meetings for this quarter. The following matters were handled at these meetings:  The first was the election of Dr. Ahsan as Chapter President.

Second, a number of EWC Bangladeshi alumni and non-EWC Bangladeshi’s are eager to attend the 2014 EWC International Media Conference at Myanmar. The chapter is currently working with the EWC Associates Office and the Conference Management on the areas of registration and hotel accommodations. They have requested that a formal invitation be sent to the Myanmar Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh requesting entry visas to Myanmar. Third, in collaboration with the Dhaka Ahsania Mission, the chapter started a community development project to teach functional English to selected trainees at the Dhaka Ahsania Mission’s vocational training center. Lastly, the chapter hosted a reception for visiting alumni.

Contact the Bangladesh Chapter


While the Southern CA chapter did not have formal chapter events to report for this quarter, Chapter President Claire Langham Richmond did share two member related happy activities. The first was the wedding of EWC alumni Vijay Trehan and his wife, Sushma Trehan, where the ceremony incorporated Indian style and Western style wedding.  The chapter leader and 5 other EWC alumni attended, including Washington D.C. guest Michael Anderson. Second, EWCA chapter members are planning a surprise birthday celebration for Vijay Trehan. Congratulations to the chapter for promoting fun and hospitable activities among their members.  Later this fall, the chapter plans to hold another EWCA alumni event.  The photos sent indeed confirmed the friendly social networking happening at the chapter.

Contact the Southern California Chapter


Chapter leader Sonna Belliapa Pemanda, sent his apologies that for this quarter, the chapter has been relatively inactive.  Chapter Vice-President Subramaniyam had a medical setback requiring a by-pass operation (he is thankfully recuperating) and Dr. Rajamani, chapter secretary has been very busy.  We wish the VP a speedy recovery, we thank you for your information and we are looking forward to your next chapter report.

Contact the Chennai Chapter


Chapter leader Muhammad Ibrahim shared the following quarterly activities of the chapter: 1) The chapter leader spent a couple of days providing a list of agencies to Namji Steinemann, in response to a chapter request soliciting the chapter leader’s help in identifying agencies in Pakistan that can help the EWC in recruiting students and teachers under the “Indian and Pakistani students-teachers English Across Micro-Scholarship Program to the US (Hawaii).” The program was not finalized, the chapter leader was informed, for lack of interest on the other side. 2) The chapter continues to spread to the community the information about the “US-Pakistan Journalists Exchange Program.”  3) The chapter’s Community Health Awareness project in cooperation with a Chinese International Company is ongoing. The free lectures on health awareness is beneficial to the local attendees. 4) On weekends, members of the chapter continue to educate the community about the harmful effects of marijuana. The “Marijuana plant eradication from community housing project,” has led to the building of a small community team that helps the EWC alumni in eradicating marijuana plants from community housing.

Contact the Faisalabad Chapter


Transfer of chapter leadership from Mr. Purnawan to Dr. Irwansyah of the University of Indonesia, occurred this year.  The new chapter leader initiated the first website for EWCPA activities and among others, was acting President for EWCPA in 2004-2005.

To mark this leadership transition, 1) The chapter held a panel discussion on August 30, 2014. EWC alumnus Rusdi Muchtar (Professor of Indonesia Institute of Science) moderated the panel of two speakers, Amien Sunaryadi (former Leader of the Anti-Corruption Commission) and Ari Perdana (Staff of the working group of the Vice- President’s Office) who discussed integrity and corruption in Indonesia. 2) The chapter adopted the use of “Kalea Indonesia” and developed “Kalea” for their closed group on Facebook. 3) The Asia Pacific Foundation led by Indonesia EWC alumnus, Irid Agoes and “Kalea Indonesia” are planning an event for February 4, 2014.  The purpose:  To develop a solution for “population explosion, natural resource languish, and corruption reign.” 4) Finally, the chapter had a meeting with EWC alumnus James Castle, Chairman of Castle Asia, to discuss networking and joint activities with the chapter.

Contact the Jakarta Chapter


Chapter President Arfa Sayeda Zehra, shares their ongoing active chapter activities directed towards community service.  The chapter is involved in the following services:  1)  The Lahore chapter is extending help to people negatively affected by target killings, especially those who have lost family bread earners. 2)  Floods resulting from torrential rains, increasing cold weather and recent earthquakes necessitated action from the chapter via social networking, the latter has partnered with a group of doctors to provide emergency help for affected areas. Likewise, they are collecting funds for food and clothing in response to the cold weather and have sent three humanitarian consignments to people in need. 3) The chapter leader specifically is working in solidarity with a Christian community to raise their voices against ongoing carnage and atrocities, as an immediate response to a recent terrorist attack on Peshawar Church.  4) On an upbeat note, the Chapter hosted a dinner where members discussed the forthcoming conference in Japan and networked with young academicians hoping to pursue higher education, by presenting the prospects offered at the EWC. 5) Arfa continues to articulate about socio-economic issues and inspirational talks in response to speaking invitations from prestigious institutions.

Contact the Lahore Chapter


Chapter leader Chanthavong Saignasith has two reports for this quarter.  First, the chapter distributed materials pertaining to the EWC Fellowships and the East-West Center to the National University of Laos and to the line agencies of the Lao government. Second, the chapter is still waiting for news regarding the disappearance of EWCA alumnus Sombath Somphone.

Contact the Laos Chapter


For this quarter, chapter leader Dr. Gan Siowk Lee reported no activities.

Contact the Malaysia Chapter


Chapter leader Sarosh Bana (Executive Editor of Business India) reported the continuation of quarterly tea meetings among members. Participation at the 2014 EWCA Okinawa Conference was discussed and attendance by chapter members is contingent on the healthy recovery of the Indian rupee (currently performing badly among Asian currencies against the US dollar). The current state has made imports prohibitive and foreign studies and tours are suspended, as they are presently economically prohibitive.

Contact the Mumbai Chapter


Chapter President U Thein Lwin reported on the activities of their chapter for this quarter. At their annual meeting on Feb. 9, 2013, the following officers were confirmed: President Thein Lwin, Vice Presidents U Soe Win and Dr. Soe Naing, Secretary Dr. Nanda Aung and Communications Officer, Dr. Kyaw Linn Tu.  Further confirmed as Advisors: U Than Oo, U Maung Maung Soe Tint and U Maung Maung.

Other chapter activities were the May 12, 2013 EWC Annual Day celebrated at Dolphin restaurant with 10 members attending and a get-together party on August 4, 2013 with 12 members attending at Thuwunna Township, Yangon.  At the event, k.121,000 was collected for the EWCA fund.  Related social activities were held on March 31, 2013 hosted for Karen & party with 23 alumni at a restaurant in Yangon on June 26, 2013,

U Maung Maung and others attended the dinner given by EWC officials where gifts and EWCA funds were presented to the EWC officials.

Contact the Myanmar Chapter


Nirendra Maske reported the celebration of East-West Center Day for the chapter on July 6, 2013. Highlights of the event included a talk program and a buffet lunch in Tripureshwar, Yellow Chili Banquet restaurant. Two topics for the program included: presentations on “The 21st Century as the Asian Century & The Role of Good Governance” by EWC alumnus Dr. Omkar Lal Shrestra and “Nepal’s Future Development Scenario: A Regional Perspective,” by Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel. Thirty-seven alumni, guests and spouses, Fulbright and Humphrey alumni, USEF and US Embassy guests attended.  For the month of August, Nirendra was invited by the Nepal Fulbright Association to an anti-corruption talk program on August 9, followed by another talk program on August 16th on Governance and the Current Situation in Nepal, with a dinner reception. Finally, on August 23rd, the chapter attended a reception to welcome the 2013-2014 US Fulbright Student Scholars.

Contact the Nepal Chapter


The following activities are reported for this quarter. 1) On August 30, 2013, Chapter leader Keiko Yamazato and Choko Takayama met with Charles Morrison, Gary Yoshida, Karen Knudsen and others to discuss preparations for the 2014 International Conference in Okinawa. The theme of the conference is: “Developing a Peaceful and Sustainable Asia Pacific Community”.  This and other information on venue, dates, hotel, etc. may now be viewed on the Website.  2) On August 3rd, the Kansai chapter invited Keiko to their general meeting where the latter requested their cooperation and support for the 2014 conference.  The Tokyo chapter has also been helpful. 3) Support for the 2014 Conference has also been requested from the local government, from two Vice-Governors and the Governor of Okinawa who was handed a letter from Dr. Morrison.

Paid advertisement for program booklets at the Conference from leading companies in Okinawa have been promoted by the chapter along with Dr. Morrison’s letter. 5) The Okinawa chapter leaders joined the 31st Okinawa Festival in Hawaii from August 31st-September 2nd and they met the Governor of Hawaii and the Mayor of Honolulu.  They hope that friendship between Okinawa, Hawaii and the East-West Center will be enhanced.

Contact the Okinawa Chapter


Communications Liaison for the chapter Pauline Bautista, reported on the following activities: Chapter members Alex Brillantes, Nash Sampaco, Jose Abueva and Pauline Bautista participated in a November International Conference on Values and Governance.

The chapter (with EWC alumnus Jose Buenconsejo) is also involved in a November socially involved ballet production based on J. Ayala’s album for fisherfolk at the University of the Philippines, College of Music.

Contact the Philippines Chapter


Chapter leader Alice Seng Seok Hoon is reporting 3 activities for the month of August and September.  August 29, 2013:  the chapter organized a dinner to discuss ways of networking among members and with the Honolulu EWCA. Information about conferences in 2014 was discussed, i.e. the Myanmar conference and the Okinawa conference.  Tentatively, Alice Seng Seok Hoon and Baskaran MuiTeng are expected to attend the latter conference.  September 14, 2013:  Director of the Cultural Learning Institute Verner Bickley and Gillian shared their roles as writers, publishers and mentors to promote literary arts in Asia at a meeting attended by chapter members.  September 26, 2013:  Alice was invited by the YMCA in Singapore to discuss community outreach projects that would benefit the community. Two volunteer programs were focused on: Mentoring Workshop for troubled youths and Outdoor Experiential Program for underprivileged children.  Further meetings are scheduled by both groups.

Contact the Singapore Chapter


The Taipei chapter is pleased to announce that chapter member Hui-Lin Lee is a recipient of the 2012-2013 EWCA Alumni Scholar Award.  Since the alumni association now includes graduates from the University of Hawaii, they hope to expand membership in the near future. On May 18, 2013, a chapter lunch was organized to welcome Nepal chapter leader Nirendra Maske, whose son Niraj, met his Taiwanese wife Lulu, in Hawaii. After lunch, the group visited the University Museum of National Taiwan University, visiting among others, geological exhibits that Nirendra enjoyed especially as a Senior Geologist of the Department of Mines and Geology in Nepal.

Contact the Taipei Chapter


Chapter leader Yasukata Yano, is happy to welcome back to Tokyo from the East West Center, Dr. Masaaki Kuboniwa, Professor at Hitotsubashi University. The chapter is sad to report the passing away of their EWC alumni members: Kiyomi Nishimura (1963), Motoyasu Miyata (1963), and Masao Baba (1999).  Due to the oppressive heat wave that hit Japan, the chapter does not have much to report for this quarter.

Contact the Tokyo Chapter


Three activities are reported by Washington D.C. Chapter leader, Jacob Dowd.

First, over the summer, Jacob had met with Dr. Shyam Agrawal (the EWCA New Delhi chapter leader) for coffee to discuss collaboration between alumni groups. 2) Chapter members met at the EWC office in D.C. to welcome students from the Timor-Leste Scholarship Program in D.C. for their internship program.  3) In August, chapter member Mary Jo and husband Joe, hosted a gathering of alumni at their home in Arlington VA.  The group proceeded to a Hawaiian concert at Lubber Run Park in Arlington.

Contact the Washington D.C. Chapter


The annual picnic hosted by the Hawaii Chapter was held on August 24, 2013.  The event’s focus is to honor and support incoming EWC students. Chapter leader Carl Hefner and the Hawaii chapter welcomed Hawaii alumni, EWC staff and new EWC students who attended the 4-day Community Building Institute Orientation organized by Kuhio Vogeler. In addition to networking and socializing, attendees were delighted to sample a variety of picnic foods and a cultural lesson in Hawaii history by Alapaki Luke.

Contact the Hawaii Chapter