Quarterly Report from EWCA Alumni Chapters (April 2014)



RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED BY: Estrella Besinga Sybinsky, VP Chapters


As always, Mahalo and sincere appreciation for your submissions.

Twenty one chapters responded this quarter.

The following chapters and chapter leaders are: 1) Bangladesh Chapter (Abu A.M. Ekramul Ahsan) 2) Brisbane Chapter (Iraphne Childs) 3) California, Northern Chapter (Barbara Bornet Stumph) 4) California, Southern Chapter (Claire Langham) 5) Chennai Chapter (PM Belliappa) 6) Faisalabad Chapter (Muhammad Ibrahim) 7) Hawaii Chapter (Carl Hefner) 8) Hanoi Chapter (Hoang Hoe) 9) Korea Chapter (Jeong Taik Lee) 10) Lahore Chapter (Arfa Zehra) 11) Latin America Chapter (Laura Viana) 12) Myanmar Chapter (Thein Lwin) 13) Mumbai Chapter (Sarosh Bana) 14) Nepal Chapter (Nirendra Maske) 15) New York Chapter (Bill Armbruster) 16) Okinawa Chapter (Keiko Yamazato) 17) Philippines Chapter (Ramon Clarete/Pauline Bautista) 18) Singapore Chapter (Alice Seok-Hoon Seng) 19) Taiwan Chapter (Nora Chiang) 20) Tokyo Chapter (Yasukata Yano) 21) Washington D.C. (Jacob Dowd/Mary Jo Furgal).


Chapter leader Abu A.M. Ekramul Ahsan reported on the enthusiastic interest of their members to the 2014 International Media Conference in Myanmar. The conference encouraged a number of chapter meetings, and communications with conference organizers were kindled. The Bangladesh chapter had a total of seven participants in Myanmar. Four of the seven arrived in time in Yangon and were present for the entire conference (Prof. Abdul Mannan, Ms. Najma Haque, Ms. Khaleda Ekram, Mr. Sohrab Hassan). The Chapter leader, Dr. Abu A.M. Ekramul Ahsan, Dr. Rosie Majid Ahsan and Ms. Mouhumi Das Purkayashta were unavailable to reach Yangon in time for the entire conference. The overall positive impact of the conference: the Bangladesh chapter has been energized resulting in frequent chapter meetings about the event. The chapter views the visit to Myanmar as: 1) educational and interesting and a wonderful country with different political, social, economic and religious groups 2) saw the private sector tourism development as efficient and flourishing 3) chapter members had mixed reactions specific to the luncheon lecture of Aung San Suu Kyi, and noted that being Burmese and Buddhist elicits respect in Myanmar and 4) the report suggested improvement vis a vis conference logistical arrangements.

The Chapter’s community outreach development project with Dhaka Ahsania Mission is still being worked on. Regarding networking activities, the Bangladesh chapter hopes that with the financial support and cooperation of the Alumni office, they can proceed with organizing a large scale conference-cum-alumni in 2014.

Contact the Bangladesh Chapter


Chapter leader Dr. Iraphne Childs, is happy to report the following significant activities from our Brisbane alumni: 1) On the subject of chapter organizing activities: We welcome the newly elected Treasurer (Bhisna Bajracharya) and Secretary (Edilyn Bajracharya) as well as five new members (Colleen Corrigan, Zubin K.C, Rara K.C, Kanna Uehara and Marvin Starominsi-Uehara) to the Brisbane chapter. Chapter member Jeremy Webb, responsible for the Alumni Climate Change Network, sends regular press reports on climate development to a diverse alumni network. 2) On the subject of Community Service Projects in Brisbane, last March 8, three chapter members (Iraphne, Patricia, Ralph) volunteered at a Japanese Fund-raising concert at Queensland Multicultural Centre to raise money for children with disabilities (affected by the 2011 Japanese tsunami). The event was organized by the Japanese community in Brisbane. 3) Regarding the international community service project of the chapter, the following activities are reported: A) Chapter members Bhisna & Edilyn Bajracharya visited Honolulu in August 2013, updated the EWC alumni office staff about their chapter activities. Bhisna presented a “Disaster Governance in Queensland” paper at an EWC workshop on governance capacity and natural disasters. B) Chapter members Iraphne and Ralph visited southern India and met with former EWC grantee, Dr. Jamuna Ramakrishna. Iraphne lectured at the Faculty of Architecture, Manipal University. C) The chapter is continuing a larger financial commitment to support the tertiary studies of two Nepalese students; a freshman nursing student and another who started her fashion design and manufacture coursework in Nepal. The chapter’s partner organization NAFA is partly subsidizing the students. Lastly, we thank the Brisbane chapter for encouraging members to individually make contributions to the EWC.

Contact the Brisbane Chapter


Thank you Chapter leader Barbara Bornet Stumph, for your consistent effort in nominating fellows for the APLP program. The chapter had two meetings in the Fall with the Asian Society of San Francisco, one with author June Chang’s Empress Cu Xi, The Concubine Who Launched Modern China and the other with Monique Demery, Finding Madame Nhu. The latter was TV telecast and members were informed. The public is kept aware of the EWCA via the chapter leader’s publication “Breakfast With a Painting Master” at the UC Berkeley Digital Paper, School of Education.

Contact the Northern California Chapter


Claire Langham, Southern CA Chapter leader, is happy to announce that the members are getting together for a pot luck lunch on March 15th at the home of Gary & Back-Mai Larsen’s home in Lakewood, Los Angeles.

Contact the Southern California Chapter


PM Belliappa is gladly sharing a major activity of the Chennai chapter. They are currently organizing an interactive session and meeting with the faculty and students of one of the best universities in the country, the SRM University, together with the Director of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, Dr. Helen Pennant. The theme of the meeting: “the importance of collaboration with leading foreign universities and the value of study abroad.” The Chennai chapter extends good wishes to all.

Contact the Chennai Chapter


Muhammad Ibrahim, Chapter leader, is reporting on four activities: 1) Information about EWC scholarships continue to be disseminated to community colleges and others. 2) The marijuana plant eradication program is suspended for the winter and will be resumed during the summer season. 3) Popular among community people, the chapter’s health awareness activity of weekly seminars, is ongoing in collaboration with a Chinese company dealing with food supplements. 4) The chapter’s annual get-together will be a dinner gathering on April 5th. Participation at the Okinawa conference will be discussed.

Contact the Faisalabad Chapter


Chapter leader Carl Hefner reiterates the group’s commitment to supporting the EWC’s mission by chapter sponsored cultural enrichment events and providing academic social experiences for EWC grantees and others. Towards this mission, three important activities are shared for this quarter: 1) Annual dinner fundraiser at the Pacific Club on April 13th to support EWC students attendance at professional conferences and other activities. The event includes an Asian art auction, an art bazaar and cultural performances by EWC students. 2) March 26th, the chapter organized a night at the Hawaii Opera Theater attended by fifteen chapter members. 3) On May 6th, the chapter is organizing a field trip to the US Coast Guard facility and the chapter plans on other field trips for 2014. The chapter acknowledges its role as an organizing board for alumni and students.

Contact the Hawaii Chapter


An important networking event from our Hanoi chapter. Chapter leader Hoe Hoang reported that the chapter members had a meeting on February 25th with former EWC grantee from India, Dr. Ari S. Brara (and his wife). The meeting covered environmental issues and other subjects of mutual interest to India, Vietnam and the EWCA.

Contact the Hanoi Chapter


Chapter leader Jeong Taik Lee is glad to share the following activities of the chapter: 1) On February 24th, the EWCA and UH alumni held their first joint meeting at Duksung Womens’ University, presided by the Executive Director of the EWCA-UH Association, Thomas Jin Park. About sixty alumni and couples, as well as prominent figures like Prof. Myung-Seok Park, former Ministers and Ambassadors attended. 2) Two EWC issues were raised at the meeting- the EWC Wall of Honor for Student Scholarship Project and re-energizing ways towards further progress among the alumni community. 3) On March 21st at Duksung Women’s University, the EWCA-UH Association invited UH Manoa Chancellor Dr. Tom Apple, Director Sang-Hyop Lee of the Center for Korean Studies, UH Dean/Prof. Ned Shultz and four other members of the Chancellor’s party to dine with forty Korean alumni. The Honorary President of the EWCA-UH Korea Association, Prof. Myeong-Seok Park, presented the Chancellor with a $10,000 donation for the UH Student Scholarship Fund. The lively gathering encouraged cheerful laughter and fond recollections about the EWC and UH.

Contact the Korea Chapter


Chapter leader Arfa Zehra is sharing the chapter activities for this quarter:

On EWCA related matters: Members are currently busy discussing their potential participation at the Okinawa conference. The spring festival in Lahore is on and the Lahore chapter exhibited pictures of the EWC and Hawaii, which gathered positive responses from attendees. The chapter leader was heavily engaged with the Children’s’ Literary Festival held at the start of 2014. A visiting EWC alumnus from Islamabad, was an occasion for an evening of nostalgic chapter gathering in addition to the exchange of ideas among members and guest. 2) On the outreach community activities of the chapter: A) The Lahore chapter’s community service projects in education and health is on going. In the rural areas where children are most at risk for polio, the chapter is raising awareness via corner meetings and sponsoring radio advocacy to reach the rural population. Volunteers are helping to administer polio drops to children. Noted in the report are death threats to volunteers, including death from some conservative members in the community. B) The chapter sponsored a trip for school children to old Lahore, emphasizing the kids’ historical and cultural heritage. A documentary on Historical Lahore was co-produced by Arfa Zehra, for a prominent Pakistan television channel. 3) Other significant and noteworthy activities from the chapter: A) On March 12th, the Chapter leader was awarded the Fatima Jinnah award to honor her services for the cause of education. The award is named after a courageous woman who challenged a military dictator in a general public election (and the sister of the nation’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah). Arfa was also tapped as Plenary Speaker in a Christian organization arranged inter-faith symposium on Ethics of the Environment.

Contact the  Lahore Chapter


The co-presidents of the newest EWCA chapter, Laura Viana (Argentina) Michelle Taminato (Brazil) are glad to report that they welcomed their 20th member since the chapter’s inception a year ago. Presidents Laura and Michelle held EWCA gatherings in London and in Bangkok. At the latter event, EWC alumni Mayco Santaella (Argentina) and Ratirose Supaporn (Thailand), welcomed their first baby in February 2014. They appreciate reconnecting with members and are especially thankful to EWCA head Noreen Tanouye, for her advice and assistance towards organizing their chapter. We extend our warm aloha to our Latin America chapter for joining our EWCA ohana.

Contact the Latin America Chapter


Chapter leader Sarosh Bana reported on the following events of their chapter:

1) On March 1st, the chapter had a “more than usual” attended meeting at the Tea Centre in Mumbai. Sarosh described the meeting as joyful and the group discussed hosting periodic informational talks on pertinent subjects. 2) On April 7th, the chapter had an enthusiastic turnout to an inspiring presentation about an expedition to Antarctica by retired physicist, Dr. Sreedharan. The scientist retired in 1992 as Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Dept. The scientist also was a post doctoral fellow at Utah State University in the US for 3 years. His entertaining Antarctica presentation gave the audience a cool feeling of respite from the warmer April in Mumbai.

Contact the Mumbai Chapter


Chapter leader Thein Lwin reported on three important activities of the chapter for this quarter: 1) The EWC Fundraising effort was launched at Sane Lan So Pyay Garden in Yangon. Fifteen alumni attended the event. 2) On March 8th, twenty-two EWC alumni gathered for lunch at Bangkok Kitchen in Yangon. In attendance were EWC President Charles Morrison and EWC Director of External Affairs Karen Knudsen. Welcoming the guests were U Maung Maung (former Myanmar chapter President) and Ambassador U Maung Maung Soe Tint, Advisor to the Myanmar chapter. 3) On March 9th, nine selected EWC alumni members, including Dr. Morrison, Karen Knudsen and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, attended a function at Suu Foundation Ceremony Cooperative Center.

Contact the Myanmar Chapter


Chapter leader Nirendra Maske reported the two important activities of the chapter: 1) On January 30th, chapter members attended a reception held at the Gyaneshwar Commission Auditorium. The event was hosted by the Executive Director of the US Educational Foundation, Dr. L.A. Vasily and the Fulbright Commission, both in Nepal and welcomed the 2013-2014 US Fulbright Senior Scholars and Fulbright Clinton Fellows. 2) On February 28th, chapter members were invited to a Fulbright screening of “Who Will Be A Gurkha,” a documentary film about the meticulous recruitment process of the British military by Kesang Tieten (who joined the discussion after the screening). Gurkha refers to Nepali hill men recruited by Britain 200 years ago who fought in the two world wars. Gurkha subsidy helped to prop up Nepal’s economy then. Currently Nepalese boys still compete for spaces in the British Army Brigade of Gurkhas and the film informs viewers about a modern day ritual born in the days of the Empire.

Contact the Kathmandu Chapter


Chapter leader Bill Armbruster announced that a chapter dinner meeting is scheduled for April 23rd at a fine Evergreen Shanghai Restaurant in New York. Two activities are planned for the event: First, to generate participatory interest among members via informal discussion, networking and dinner. Second, to avail of the expertise of the Speaker, Writer and Consultant Michelle Fanzo (who briefly lived and ran a women’s empowerment NGO in Afghanistan and was in Myanmar for over a year). She will talk about the latter two Asian countries. The chapter leader hopes she will include Taiwan in her presentation. Bill is particularly energized by the encouragement and support of Noreen Tanouye in publicizing the New York chapter dinner meeting.

Contact the New York Chapter


Chapter leader KeikoYamazato and the members of the Okinawa chapter have been especially busy processing the 2014 EWCA Okinawa conference and thanks the EWCA Alumni office for the patient and generous help extended to them in their preparation (they ask that alumni check the EWC’s website about the Conference). Executive members especially have been hard at work finding financial supporters, speakers for the different sessions and opening ceremony, rooms for concurrent sessions, and tuning in to weather conditions for the conference (climate prognosis: good). Further activities related to the conference include: 1) Reasonably priced guest rooms are now available at Pacific Hotel Okinawa and proximate hotels. 2) Two sites for half-day tours are scheduled on the second day. The Shuri Castle, an old time tiny kingdom respected by Chinese emperors and The Peace Memorial Park with the “Cornerstone of Peace” monument where EWC alumnus, former Prefectural Governor Masahide Ota, took a leadership role in the construction of the monument. 3) The Tokyo chapter has been kept in the loop about the conference via Chapter leader Professor Yano and they hope to get Tokyo members to attend the conference. 4) Dr. Morrison has sent an invitation letter to the US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, about the conference and two EWCA alumni, professors at the University of Ryukyus (who were invited to Ambassador Kennedy’s earlier reception), also sent her an invitation to join the Conference. They are hoping for a favorable response. 5) Positive response has been received from university presidents who are expected to send teachers, students and staff to the conference since this is a great opportunity to experience people from different cultures and religions.

Contact the Okinawa Chapter


Pauline Bautista, reporting for Ramon Clarete and the EWCAA-Philippines Ohana, submitted a fruitful quarterly report. 1) First, on March 22nd, members were welcomed to the International Rice Research Institute by Bruce Tolentino (and Santi Obien) who took the group on a complete tour of the rice fields. The IRRI curator also gave the group a tour of the Rice Museum, inspiring them to conceptualize rice as a metaphor for prosperity. The IRRI’s Filipino cooks and Italian chef prepared a rice-infused merienda (snack) and lunch buffet for the grateful chapter members. 2) With the Bangsamoro Peace Treaty as a platform, the chapter roundtable zeroed in on what members can collectively contribute towards youth leadership capacity building, incorporating individual projects already underway. Cited as important are: the need to secure youth scholarships, self-directed youth development that considers the particular nuances of the Muslim governance structure and the imperative of economic sustainability for genuine peace. 3) In 2014, the EWCAA-Philippine chapter became an official convenor (with a grant from the US State Department) of the Youth Leadership Peace Camp. The Sinigbayan Fieldbook, a cooperative 2nd edition developed and authored by chapter members, was published in time for use by youth leaders (62 Muslims, Lumad and Christians) at the Peace camp. 4) EWC alumnus and Presidential Peace Panel Secretary Senen Bacani, presented a thorough overview of the recently signed Bangsamoro Peace Agreement which was met with intelligent questions from the youth participants. 5) On May 17th, focusing on chapter contribution to a just Asia-Pacific community, the EWCAA-Philipine Reconnect will hold its meeting followed by an August EWCAA-Mindanao reconnect meeting.

Contact the Philippines Chapter


Chapter leader Alice Seok-Hoon Seng, has one significant chapter event to report for this quarter. Last February 6th, the SEAYLP (Southeast Asia Young Leadership Program organized by the EWC in 2012), held a chapter event with science teacher Has Gunawan, who shared his SEAYLP experience. Five SEAYLP students attended the dinner and described their time at the EWC and Hawaii, meeting other young people from the Asia Pacific region, as a wonderful experience. They are encouraging other Singapore youths to participate in EWC organized youth programs. A frequent visitor to Singapore, EWC alumnus Garrett Kam, also contributed to the positive happy fellowship at the event.

Contact the Singapore Chapter


Chapter leader Nora Chiang reported on their activity for this quarter. 1) In mid-February, the group had a successful board meeting. The report noted that some members have retired and are re-focusing their energies towards business and academic paths like writing books, reviewing proposals and papers, attending international conferences and teaching part-time. 2) Notable chapter members are: Serena Yang, elected Chairperson of Zorita Women’s Club, Robert Chan (painting book author), who is currently preparing for an exhibition of his sixty years work on abstract art, Mr. Kao, the Chairperson of the 21st Century Foundation, with its positive influence on Taiwan’s society and Dr. K.K. Hwang who is furthering his academic debates by writing articles for the newspaper.

Contact the Taiwan Chapter


Chapter leader Yasukata Yano is pleased to report on the quarterly activities of their chapter: 1) Last March 21st the UHAA held a reception to welcome UH Chancellor Tom Apple and others in his party. Several EWCA Tokyo alumni attended. Chie Hashimoto, Board member of the EWCAA chapter also serves as VP for the Tokyo UHAA. This should foster closer cooperation between the two associations. 2) On March 29th, at the annual JEWCA Tokyo General Assembly meeting, further chapter activities are noted:  A) UHAA Charity walk for the UN’s World Food Program B) Nomination of the late Masao Baba for the EWC’s Wall of Honor. C) A send-off /welcome party for EWC new grantees and returnees. D) Welcome dinner for new chapter members. E) Creation of mini-lectures and panels that emphasize alumni awareness over the years at the EWC. F) Approval of the 2014 proposed chapter budget presented by Michiko Yamashita, Finance officer. At the General Assembly meeting, current chapter officers were announced, including Pres. YasutakoYano and VP Yutaka Harada, Directors Michiko Yamashita, Kazuko Tonoike, Ruriko Kumano, Jun-Ichi Umeda, Chie Hashimo, Naomi Tonooka, Yoichi Hasegawa, Matoro Yamamoto, Shigeo Tanaoke and Teruhisa Ichihara. The Assembly meeting was followed by entertainment presented by Prof. Naomi Tonooka and a glad welcome was extended to four new members and three guests. The party, complete with bingo games, was reported enjoyable and successful to all present.

Contact the Tokyo Chapter


Mary Jo Furgal, reporting for Chapter leader Jacob Dowd, shared the following information from their chapter: A group of EWC Pakistani journalists gave a presentation at the EWC Washington D.C. office and the fellows were subsequently spread out in D.C. homes for hospitality. Jacob Dowd, Mary Jo (with Joe Furgal) and other former Jefferson Fellows, graciously hosted the Pakistani journalists who were in D.C. for the 2014 Pakistan-US Journalists Exchange program. The journalists will travel on to New York and the reputed journalism school, the University of Missouri. At the same time, American journalists are in Pakistan and both groups are scheduled to reunite in Hawaii for the final wrap-up. Other second quarter guests to our Washington D.C. chapter are Janey Cole and Mike Anderson. The visiting fellows for 2014 are expected to arrive in Washington D.C. and will surely receive hospitality from our D.C. members.

Contact the Washington D.C Chapter