East-West Center to Honor Distinguished Alumni at Manila Conference in January

HONOLULU (Dec. 16, 2015) – The East-West Center has announced the names of EWC alumni, volunteers and alumni chapters that will be honored at the Center’s upcoming international alumni conference in Manila, Philippines Jan. 15-17, 2016. The honorees are being recognized for their outstanding personal accomplishments and service toward the Center’s mission of helping to promote better relations and understanding among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and the United States.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments, including significant contributions to the promotion of better relations and understanding among the countries of East and West through activities of cultural and technical interchange; significant achievement in one’s career; and continuing support of the goals of the Center. The award was established and endowed by Dr. Dai Ho Chun, former Director of the East-West Center’s Institute for Technical Interchange.


Balisacan2Arsenio M. Balisacan is the Philippines’ current Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning as well as Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority. He was a research intern at EWC and a Fellow in the Resource Systems Institute during the 1980s, and following his time at the Center, was an economist at the World Bank and later Dean and Professor of Economics at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Secretary Balisacan is a recognized and widely-published scholar on poverty, food security, rural and regional development, natural resource use and management, and governance issues in Asia.

Arfa ZehraArfa Sayeda Zehra was a Ph.D. grantee at the East-West Center from 1978-1982 and has embodied dedication and commitment to the Center ever since. She served as leader of the EWCA Lahore Chapter in Pakistan from 2005 until earlier this year, and under her leadership the Chapter received the EWCA Outstanding Chapter Award in 2014. She served on the EWCA Executive Board for two terms, and was profiled as an exceptional alumna in the East-West Center 50th anniversary publication Fifty Years, Fifty Stories. Dr. Zehra is Professor Emeritus at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan, where she is passionate about her commitment to the education of young girls.  It is this commitment to teaching excellence that has won her national acclaim in Pakistan, where she has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards and the highly-regarded “Fatima Jinnah Award.”

EWCA Outstanding Volunteer Awards

This award recognizes outstanding alumni volunteers who have provided significant contributions to the programs and activities of the East-West Center Association. The awardees lead by example, demonstrating the qualities that bring out the best in others.


Myung-Seok Park1.jpgMyung-Seok Park, Chairman of Jinseok Company and Professor Emeritus at Dankook University, is recognized for his generous support and active volunteer service in the EWCA Seoul Chapter. A Center participant in the 1960s and ’70s, he made major contributions as the chapter leader and was integral in organizing the EWC/EWCA Regional Conference held in Seoul in 1979. In 1980, he received the Center’s first Distinguished Alumni Award.

Authors Night 2009

Estrella Besinga Sybinsky, an EWC Open Grants awardee in the early 1970s, provided outstanding commitment to the EWCA Executive Board as Vice-President for Chapter Development for five years. Bringing her personal touch to this role, she developed a strong rapport with the almost 50 chapter leaders worldwide, providing encouragement and motivation for chapter activities. She also chaired the Washington, D.C. Program Planning Committee for the Center’s 50th Anniversary in 2010.

EWCA 21st Century Outstanding Service Award

This new award recognizes East-West Center participants who became involved in an EWC program after 2000 and who have provided outstanding community service through activities that strengthen intercultural understanding, economic and social empowerment, and civic engagement.

The first recipient of the 21st Century Outstanding Service Award is:

Glenn van Zutphen

Glenn van Zutphen, owner of the VanMedia Group international media consultancy, who worked to bridge gaps between East and West while at such companies as ABC News Radio, USA Today, NHK Japan, CNN International, and CNBC Asia. He was a participant in EWC’s Jefferson Fellowships journalists’ exchange program in 2002, and since then has participated as a presenter at several EWC International Media Conferences and has been actively involved with the EWCA Singapore Chapter.


Outstanding Chapter Awards

This award recognizes outstanding East-West Center Association chapters that have provided significant contributions to the goals and programs of the EWCA, including fostering an active and committed membership, and promoting activities which broaden the outreach of the Center into local communities.


Chennai, India Chapter

In recent years, the Chennai Chapter has organized many community awareness programs on such topics as health, environment, water conservation and student development in cooperation with various voluntary organizations. The chapter also conducts broad outreach activities, including seminars, lectures, workshops and informal get-togethers, as well as actively working to help recruit new participants for the East-West Center. This is the second time the Chennai Chapter is receiving the Outstanding Chapter Award, after earning its first award in 2006.

Islamabad, Pakistan Chapter

The EWCA Islamabad Chapter has truly supported the vision and mission of the East-West Center through its inspiring community service. The chapter has organized service activities for underprivileged children in the region and was also very active in coordinating relief and awareness programs following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

The awardees will be honored at the East-West Center/EWC Association’s major biennial international conference, which will be held Jan. 15-17, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Several hundred international scholars, officials, educators and business leaders are expected to attend the conference on “Bridging Diverse Cultures towards an Inclusive Asia Pacific Community.”

The conference is jointly presented by the East-West Center, an internationally recognized education and research institution headquartered in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, and the East-West Center Association, the organization that represents the Center’s more than 62,000 alumni throughout Asia, the Pacific and the U.S., many of whom now serve in positions of responsibility in their respective fields.

For more information or to register online, visit: EastWestCenter.org/manila2016  or call: +1 808-944-7506.