Quarterly Report from EWCA Alumni Chapters (April 2015)




Extending to all of our chapters and chapter leaders a warm aloha and a cheerful spring.

As always, thank you all for your outreach activities to others in your community, for your notable scholarly and academic endeavors, for promoting research and cross-cultural collaborations and for continuing to sustain collegial dialogue in the different areas of your respective interests. On behalf of the entire East West Center community, a proud mahalo for all of your work.

Seventeen chapters formally acknowledged the call for chapter reports. The following chapters and chapter leaders responded: 1)ASDP AC (Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen) 2) Bangladesh (Abu Ekramul Ahsan) 3) Brisbane (Iraphne Childs) 4) California, Northern (Barbara Bornet Stumph) 5) California, Southern (Claire Langham) 6) Karachi (Ghazala Fasih/Kamal Siddiqi) 7) Korea, Seoul (Yen Kyun Wang) 8) Islamabad (Arjumand Faisel) 9) Laos (Chanthavong Saignasith) 10) Latin America (Laura Viana) 11) Malaysia (Gan Siowck Lee) 12) Mumbai (Sarosh Bana) 13) New York (Bill Armbruster) 14) Okinawa (Keiko Yamazato) 15) Singapore (Seng Seok Hoon) 16) Taipei (Christie Chang) and 17) Tokyo (Yasukata Yano).

Additionally, for this quarter, we acknowledge the hard work of our Hawaii chapter (Carl Hefner). To support the attendance of EWC students at professional conferences and other activities, the chapter will be holding their annual fundraising event at the Honolulu Pacific Club in April. We likewise acknowledge the busy preparations of our Philippine chapter (Pauline Bautista/ Ramon Clarete) as their members prepare for the January 2016 International Conference in Manila. Congratulations to our Tokyo chapter member, Yutaka Harada. The latter has been invited to the Board of the Bank of Japan, the bank that directs Japan’s monetary policy.

I would especially like to highlight the recent report from Arjumand Faisel, President of our Islamabad chapter. Karen Knudsen happily acknowledged the House of Light School with her recent visit. The school for underprivileged students (established in 2006 by the EWCA, Islamabad chapter) provides free education including school uniforms, books, stationary, meals and free transportation to and from school to 221 students. Congratulations for providing hope to these children and their families and for providing the leadership vision for community outreach to the rest of your colleagues in the EWCA community. Pictures of the school during Karen’s visit will be shared at the Executive Board meeting.


Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen, chapter leader, reported on several activities for this quarter. 1) The 21st national conference of the ASDP AC titled: “Rethinking Asian Studies: Taking Asia as Method,’ was held at the Hilton Convention Center last month. The Missouri State University Office of International Affairs hosted over 140 participants. Chinese acrobats from Beijing performed at the conference. Keynote speakers were: William Tsatsui and Pheng Cheah. Respectively, they covered the ways in which the 2011 earthquake affected the Japanese people and touched on questions relating to the political, cultural and historical studies of Asia in a globalizing age. 2) The ASDP Alumni chapter and the Association of Regional Centers for Asian Studies Board meetings are ongoing and recently included notables as Betty Buck and Peter Hershock. 3) For March 2016, the chapter, together with the Association of Regional Centers for Asian Studies, will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Asian Studies Development Program. The venue will be in Washington DC and the chapter hopes to involve the Washington office of the East West Center.

Contact the ASDP Chapter


Abu Ekramul Ahsan, Bangladesh chapter leader, reported that after a lengthy dormant period, the group met on April 4, 2015 with most of the members attending. Whereas the chapter leader wanted to be replaced (as he has been in the position for a long time) the members requested that he stay on, until they organize a general meeting. The following events were discussed: 1) One of the 2 alumni that attended the Okinawa Conference, Abdul Mannan shared his experience at the conference. 2) Many of the chapter membership expressed interest in attending the 2016 International Conference in the Philippines. 3) New community development projects were discussed and the chapter is exploring collaborative outreach with other actors regarding these proposed projects.

Contact the Bangladesh Chapter


Chapter leader for our Brisbane chapter, Iraphne Childs, will be meeting with Noreen and Karen in mid-April when she is in Honolulu. Likewise, I and my daughter Andrea (alumni 70’s Open Grants & APLP Fellow respectively) look forward to having breakfast with her earlier in the day. Not much to report for this quarter from Brisbane.

Contact the Brisbane Chapter


Chapter leader Barbara Bornet Stumph reported that the Northern California chapter co-sponsored on March 24th, a “What We Know: Writing on North Korea Today,” event. Other co-sponsors were the Asia Society of Northern CA, Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, the Center for Korean Studies, UC Berkeley and the Yale Club of San Francisco. Barbara and her husband attended the Asia Society of Northern CA panel. The theme brought the Asia Pacific region and the US together in a people to people venue. Speakers covered insights about North Korea from the growth of defectors, spies, US role in “creating” North Korea to starvation and the sale of children. Barbara also shared information about the 2016 Manila conference to the members.

Contact the Northern California Chapter


Chapter leader Claire Langham reported that: 1) Two chapter members (Ron Jackson and Dorothy Siddell) will attend a seminar on combating forced labor by the UCLA International Center & the UCLA Law School. 2) The Southern CA chapter will have their fellowship gathering on April 25th. Ron Jackson and Dorothy Siddell, the host for their social meeting, specifically inquired about Karen Knudsen and the possibility of enlarging the chapter gathering that day to include younger graduates and students (to stimulate their interests with our EWC grant programs.

Contact the Southern California Chapter


Chapter secretary Ghazala Fasih reported that for this quarter, the Annual General meeting of the chapter was held on March 21st at the Karachi Press Club. The primary agenda was to elect the new officers and members of the chapter’s Governing Board. Items covered at the meeting 1) The chapter approved the financial report from last year. 2) Announced the set up of the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/East-West-Center-Alumni-Association-Karachi/1589296564689884 and Twitter account https://twitter.com/EWCAKhiChapter. 3) Discussed enhancing the role of the EWCA Karachi chapter with member involvement in social and educational activities. 4) The newly elected Cabinet are: Kamal Siddiqi (President), Abid Ali Syed (Vice-President), Ghazala Fasih (Secretary), Sabin Jameel (Treasurer). Aziz Husain (Governing Board member) and Mehtab Karim (Governing Board member).

Contact the Karachi Chapter


For this quarter, Chapter leader Yen Kyun Wang reported on the following activities of their chapter. 1) The leadership passed on to the members the need to donate to the EWC.  2) Donation to the Wall of Honor project, its purpose/mission, has been re-iterated to the members (a reminder relating to donations: income of Korean scholars after retirement generally drops to about half their previous income). 3) The chapter leadership has set up the EWCAK bank account, asking members to donate using the automatic transfer system from their account. 4) Responding to the request for direct message from the VP for Chapter Development regarding donations, the Korea chapter leader passed on a two paragraph email from Estrella to the large list of their EWC/UH alumni. The feedback to the email: “We sent your heart-moving message. Already, we have received responses from some people.” Hopefully, we are sowing positive seeds and we hope that the result will be positive. 5) Finally, the chapter leader inquired about a suggestion they made at the Okinawa conference regarding educational materials on global ethics and educating people in the region be undertaken by the EWC. I believe our Alumni Coordinator, Noreen replied to his inquiry.

Contact the Korea Chapter


On a visit to Islamabad on January 21, 2015, EWC Director for External Affairs, Karen Knudsen, saw first hand, the Islamabad chapter’s completion of phase one (phase 2 and 3 are in the plan) of the House of Light School (built in 2.5 years). Appropriately named House of Light, the school teaches up to grade nine and currently has 221 students from poor underprivileged communities (families with less than $120 monthly income). The school is proud to provide free quality education including school uniforms, books, stationary, meals and transportation to and from school. With a dedicated group of people including Arjumand Faisel (one of the Trustees) and Tayyaba Gul, General Secretary of the chapter, Horizon International Trust established the school in 2006. Each year, 25 students are admitted.

Intended originally to operate only up to grade 5, in 2012, after the 5th grade students graduated, the boys and girls refused to leave the school. The Principal was forced to hold 6th grade class in a tent borrowed from UNHCR. Later, fortuitously, as part of the school’s outdoor education, the students had a specially arranged visit to Gallery 6. Since the students wanted proper classrooms, they expressed the wish to exhibit their paintings as a way of raising funds. The Islamabad chapter donated $400 to provide paints, brushes and painting boards. Under the guidance of their Art teacher, Shehla Rafi (school trustee and outstanding painter), 50 paintings were sold to raise funds. The chapter only expected the proceeds to pay for renting 1 or 2 rooms. To their delight, the children’s display at Gallery 6 (and through emails), the chapter received mails overseas including UAE, USA, KSA, Europe and Australia and netted over a million rupees (over $10,000). Chapter members as Tayyaba Gul actively organized a variety of services for the school through the Rotary Club, other chapter members sponsored the school children ($240 for one year) and others helped in different ways. Truly, the House of Light is a beacon to all of us, highlighting that compassion, imagination, a strong vision and caring people, responding affirmatively to social justice and a noble cause, can turn dreams into reality not only for the chapter members but especially for the future of these children. Karen’s visit that day included a lunch hosted by artist Shahia Rafi, 3 school trustees, the chapter president and General Secretary.

On January 21st, EWC’s Karen Knudsen & Susan Kreifels met with chapter members, 2 representatives from the US Embassy in Islamabad and participating journalists. The topic: different ways and activities to encourage interest among a large number in the community. A Pakistani inspired lunch among chapter members was held on March 29th.

Congratulations to the inspirational contribution to less fortunate communities by our Islamabad chapter, its leadership and members. Your work with your school is exemplary indeed.

Contact the Islamabad Chapter


Chapter leader Chanthavong Saignasith is happy to report the English teaching apprentices under the Brunei-EWC programme started its operation since late 2014. All across Vientiane Capital, ten teachers have been assigned to teaching in secondary schools. This quarter, the chapter leader hosted the teachers, along with Puongpun Sananikone and the family of the Second Secretary of the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam to his house, where briefings about Laos and Vientiane occurred. Chanthavong reports that the teaching program is doing very well.

Contact the Laos Chapter


Laura Viana, Latin America chapter leader reported the following activities for this quarter: 1) Laura Viana participated in the EWC Leadership Workshop Series in March. The series title: From the Dance Floor to the Balcony, In support of APLP’s Nainoa Thompson Scholarship Fund. 2) Member Elke Yamazato (APLP GII) is on sabbatical from her work and is currently in Sydney pursuing personal interests and taking extension studies. 3) Michelle Taminato (APLP G12) started a new business, Taminato Organizational Development. She is a management consultant and creates new methodologies for corporations, prepares speeches and training in organizational development. She is a counselor of Yoga and is implementing meaningful experiences for a group of business women in Southeast Asia.

Contact the Latin America Chapter


Chapter leader Gan Siowck Lee reported that the chapter holds its annual get-together or AGM. Beyond that, the chapter has been relatively dormant. For a few years now, the leadership has tried to pass the batons to younger alumni/returnees but has had little success. We thank Gan for keeping us in the loop and hope that activity will increase in the future.

Contact the Malaysia Chapter


Chapter leader Sarosh Bana reported on the following activities for this quarter. 1) EWC Director Karen Knudsen and Susan Kreifels visited Mumbai on January 27th and were hosted to a Parsi lunch by Sarosh and wife at their home. 2) On January 28, the chapter had a dinner reception at Wodehouse Gymkhana Club to send Karen and Susan off to Delhi. 3) The chapter leader and members met on March 3rd, and as they did not have much to discuss about EWC developments, they engaged in a variety of stimulating discussions over tea and snacks.

Contact the Mumbai Chapter


Chapter leader Bill Armbruster mentioned that EWC alumni Doug Murray and Peggy Blumenthal suggested having the chapter meeting and dinner at a Chinese restaurant in midtown Manhattan which has a large backroom. He will follow up on this with the membership. He likewise mentioned that he would forward the information about the 2016 Manila Conference to his friends and chapter members. He hopes to see a lot of friends at the conference. As always, we appreciate your response to the call for reports.

Contact the New York Chapter


Keiko Yamazato, Okinawa’s chapter leader, reported on the following activities of their chapter: Relating to the Okinawa Conference in 2014, pertinent information are as follows: 1) You tube now highlights the Okinawa conference in 2014. This is part of a promotional video made by the prefectural government. The site is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yQOUEUALGg&list=PLjCs709XbPuoNjHhRdCBEp_KM6blULaU6&index=1. 2) The Jan-Feb magazine issue AMI (Association Meetings International) featured the Okinawa conference. With the theme “Developing a Peaceful and Sustainable Asia Pacific Community,” participants had a chance to see the world from different viewpoints. 3) An outgrowth of the panel discussion on solving international conflict in the Asia Pacific Region, the chapter is continuing to pursue the idea of establishing an EWC-like Center in Okinawa. People interested in the latter idea are not only chapter members but people from Tokyo, Hokkaido, Saitama, Hawaii and Osaka. This will be further discussed at their chapter meeting on May 31st.

Relating to the Okinawa chapter members: Sawako Kinjo is now in Tokyo with the Office of International Patent; Mariko Miyahira is doing a study and legal system research in a rural area in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island for a Japanese development consulting firm; Hiromitsu Miyagi received the distinguished “Ryukyu Shimpo Award” for his contribution to the development of Okinawa; Two recipients of the EWCA Okinawa Chapter awards are: Hidemasa Goya, a corporate planner at Kanehide Holdings Co. and Sayaka Sakuma, doctoral student in Geography at UH, Okinawa Conference planning committee member and panelist.

Contact the Okinawa Chapter


Report from Singapore chapter leader Seng Seok Hoon includes the following activities:

On Jan. 23rd, United Nations Messenger of Peace and renowned Primatologist Jane Goodall, met with chapter members Seng Seok Hoon, Thai Gek Ching and Lim Cheng Tuan at the Nanyang Technological University. In addition to discussing the environmental pollution threatening chimpanzees and humankind, discussion centered on a global youth program called Roots & Shoots, which the chapter hopes can be initiated with primary school children in Singapore. 2) On Feb 5th, the chapter graciously offered a landmark tour and dinner to EWC Hawaii alumnus Bonnie Dong. 3) On Feb 20th, celebrating an open house Chinese New Year, the chapter welcomed APLP fellow from Honolulu Sharanya Dilip. They interacted with IT officials from the Dept. of Ministry of Education and Siva, who hopes to be accepted to the APLP program. 4) On Mar 14-21st, the chapter leader and 5 youth volunteers were in India in an international service learning project.

They hope that younger chapter members can teach English and learn environmental wildlife via hands on lessons in the village school of 102 children. 5) Chapter member Pushpa Thambipillai who is currently in Penang was in Singapore for a conference. She and other members observed the sad funeral service of the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.

Contact the Singapore Chapter


Chapter leader Christie Chang shared pictures and inspiring Aloha exchanges during this quarter. 1) Thanks to Carolyn and Alumni Coordinator Noreen Tanouye at the EWC and chapter leader Christie’s coordination, Valerie Wong (Visa Officer at the EWC) who was in Taipei from Feb1-Feb 4th, met over lunch with chapter members as Nora (former chapter leader), Christie & Frank Chang, Hsinhsin, Janice and Der-Liang Lai. Topics discussed: EWC news and the 2016 Conference in Manila. This was followed by a tour of the Lu Family collection Museum and the LuPerla Company, headquartered also at Waikiki in Honolulu. The group had a happy time reconnecting. 2) On March 6th, on her way to a work meeting in the East Coast, Christie dropped by the EWC and met with EWC staff Noreen, Valerie, Marilyn, Eric and Karen. Julie Sormak, wife of retired Swedish Ambassador Ulf Somark. Julie was with Christie and helped deliver gifts from the chapter to the EWC. The EWC staff had a merry follow-up tea party where tea, snacks, book and DVD from Taiwan were shared. 3) A group of US journalists will travel to Taipei with Marilyn in late April. Coordinating with Christie, the group is looking forward to another Aloha reunion with chapter members. So glad to hear joyful reconnections with the EWC alumni.

Contact the Taipei Chapter


Tokyo Chapter leader Yasu Yano reported that on Feb 14th, the chapter held its annual General Assembly meeting. Items covered: 1) Yasu Yano had dinner with stage Director Yoko Sakai, who translated Neil Simon’s Odd Couple, after the viewing of the stage performance. 2) The chapter hosted a send-off party for Eriko Ohga and at the same time, a welcome party for Dr. Taeko Yasunaga. 3) UHAA Japan’s Hula Competition party 4) the International Conference in Okinawa 4) the Open House for the new American Center Japan in Tokyo 5) welcome dinner for Yuki Hayashi.6) The chapter is proud to announce that Yutaka Harada has been invited to the Board of the Bank of Japan, who directs Japan’s monetary policy. Initially chosen to succeed Yasu Yano, Yutaka Harada had to subsequently resign as chapter leader because his new appointment required his leadership only with the bank. We welcome Kazu Takemoto, Director of the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) as Tokyo’s acting chapter leader. 7) Outgoing chapter leader Yasu Yano thanked the chapter and board members for their cooperation with chapter activities. The 2014 financial report and proposed budget for 2015 was applauded.  8) New chapter members are: Yoichi Hasegawa, Chie Hashimoto, Ruriko Kumano, Kazuko and Shigeo Tonoike, Naomi Tonooka, Matori Yamamoto, Michiko Yamashita and Auditor Takashi Tsuchiya. Following the meeting, a mini-lecture on “Stage Directing Translating Dramas-My Case” was presented by the above-mentioned stage Director Sakai where she shared the difficulties and pleasures involved in stage directing and translating dramas in English to Japanese. The meeting ended with a party. Honored guests: Tim Ondo, UHHA President and Chie Hashimoto dancing hula. The whole group sung Aloha Oe, a beautiful way to end the gathering. Congratulations to your new Chapter leader Kazu Takemoto.

Contact the Tokyo Chapter


Special thanks to Alumni Coordinator Noreen Tanouye for holding the Alumni Office so efficiently despite budget cutbacks. Mahalo once again to all of our chapter leaders and members who are passing on the excellent spirit of leadership of the East-West Center especially in the Asia Pacific Region and the active roles that alumni play towards scholarship and research in the academic world and towards their community involvement in responding to the needs especially of the marginalized citizens of their countries. Happy Spring, warm Aloha and a big Mahalo to all of you fellow alumni.

Estrella Besinga Sybinsky, EWCA Executive Board, Vice-President for Chapter Development