Quarterly Reports from EWCA Alumni Chapters 2017 (1st Quarter)

East-West Center Association

Chapter Development Committee, Quarterly Reports

2017 1st Quarter Chapter Reports (Jan-April)

Compiled by Dr. Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen
Vice President for Chapter Development

Thank you to the 17 Chapters who submitted their first quarter reports for 2017. Your submissions help us and others know how active the Chapters are, and show your continued patronage for EWCA/EWC outreach. The following Chapters and representatives responded this quarter: 1) APLP (Miloni Gandhi) 2) ASDP (Dona M. Cady 3) Beijing (Hongxia Zhang) 4) Brisbane (Iraphne Childs) 5) Chennai (Vasanthi Ranganathan) 6) Dhaka (Abu Ekramul Ahsan) 7) Hawaii (Carl Hefner) 8) Kansai (Yumiko Okamoto) 9) Kathmandu (Nirendra Maske) 10) Kuala Lumpur (Gan Siowck Lee) 11) Laos (Chanthavong Saignasith) 12 ) Mumbai (Sarosh Bana) 13) Okinawa (Kiyoshi Nakachi) 14) Philippines (Pearl Angeli Erguiza Pacada) 15) Seoul (Won Nyon Kim) 16) Singapore (Alice Seng Seok Hoon) 17) Southern California (Claire Langham)


More than 60 APLP alumni and friends joined for the Chapter’s 4th Biannual APLP Global Pau Hana,  that took place on Tuesday, March 7th and surrounding evenings. Gatherings were held in cities across 11 countries, including Brazil, India, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, UK, USA, and Vietnam.

The Chapter gives thanks to the alumni hosts that volunteered their time to make this initiative a reality. A special note of acknowledgement to the hosts in Bangkok, Honolulu, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore, and Tokyo. These cities have held gatherings for all Global Pau Hana meet-ups since the program began in September 2015. Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm!

The Chapter is now planning their board turnover and the APLP global day of service, which will take place in May.

Contact the APLP Chapter


The Asian Studies Development Program convened its 23rd annual conference in Portland, Oregon, 2-4 March 2017. More than 125 participants attended and heard panels and papers addressing “Asia Connections: Confluences and Contradictions.” The Conference also hosted the annual board meeting of the ASDP Alumni Chapter and welcomed its new president, Professor Dona Cady from Middlesex Community College. The Association of Regional Centers for Asian Studies met concurrently as well.


Conference attendees participated in a guided tour of Lan Su Gardens in Portland

Conference keynote speakers included Dr. Alissa Freedman who presented “Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Trains as Social and Cultural Vehicles.” Her paper explored the links between highspeed transit and the concept of what it means to be Japanese. Dr. Edward Slingerland presented “Trying Not to Try: Cooperation, Trust and the Paradox of Spontaneity,” which focused on the spiritual ideal of wuwei.

The 24th ASDP annual conference will be held at the Georgetown Marriott, Washington, D.C. in early March 2018.

Contact the ASDP Chapter



An alumni reunion meeting was organized earlier this year in January. In total, six alumni met for dinner in a restaurant in Beijing. The current status for each alumnus was updated at the dinner. Also, some opportunities to cooperate were initiated and explored. Further, compared with last year, there are 10 newcomers who joined the China WeChat group in this quarter as alumni.

Some challenges the Chapter faces include how to motivate more alumni to join the discussion. The active players are always the active players and for the rest, it is difficult to get them to share their opinions either through the WeChat group or face-to-face meetings.

The Chapter is unsure whether leaders from EWC have any plans to come to China for cooperation and visitation but they believe that many alumni are interested in meeting.

Contact the Beijing Chapter


EWCA Board: Karen Nunan has been participating in deliberations of the East-West Center Alumni Board.
Support for Nepalese students: The Chapter continues to support their two Nepalese students through their tertiary studies.

  • Lasha Manandhar is now in her final year of nursing studies in Bangalore, India.
  • Sunu Rai has completed her formal coursework in Fashion Design and Manufacture in Kathmandu. She will finish her internship in June 2017.

Sunu Rai with her personal sewing machine, purchased by Brisbane Chapter members

Brisbane Chapter members also funded the purchase of a sewing machine for Sunu as a graduation present. Friends from the Nepal Australia Friendship Association assisted in purchasing the machine late last year while they were in Nepal.

The Chapter meeting on 1 April has been postponed due to many member absences. Two Chapter members, Karen and Iraphne, continue to volunteer with the Australian Red Cross. Due to the recent emergency situation from tropical cyclone Debbie in north Queensland, Karen and Iraphne have been deployed to Mackay with Red Cross to assist in response and recovery in affected communities.
Support the Center with financial contributions: Chapter members are encouraged to make contributions to the Center individually.

Current membership list

Brisbane-based members
Bhishna Bajracharya, Edilyn Bajrachary, Harry Bhaskara, Patricia Byrne, Ralph Carlisle, Iraphne Childs, Rara K.C., Timothy McInerny, Peter Nunan, Karen Nunan, Marvin Starominski-Uehara, Kanna Uehara, Aline Webb, Jeremy Webb

Affiliate members
Most Affiliate members live in other cities in Australia, and so dues are optional. They are asked to let us know when they are in town so we can try to offer some hospitality, and are kept informed of our activities so they can join in if they wish.
Bruce Allender, John Beruldsen, Akbar Hessami, Geoff Hogbin, Terry and Val Hull, Martina McGinn, Margaret Robertson (Brisbane supporter, no connection with Center)

Contact the Brisbane Chapter


The Chennai Chapter meets every third Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. to share and learn together at Lake View , Chembarambakkam. On 20th February 2017 Chennai Chapter members heard a lecture on “Emotional Intelligence and Leadership.” It was presented by Swami Chiddananda, who is the founder and chief resource person of FOWAI Forum. He has reached out to many in communities, companies, and colleges. With degrees from Mysore University, IIT Madras and B.I.T, he has served in leading companies. Inspired at the age of 23 by the famous Vedanta teacher, Swami Chinmayanadaji, he brings his vast experience in spiritualism, serving for many years in the Chinmaya and Krishnamurthi Foundations across the world.  He will share his learning on Emotional Intelligence and Leadership.

The Lake View Learning and Development center is a luscious green space amidst villages, schools, colleges and six industrial belts. A lot of Chennai member, Vasanthi  Ranganathan’s work will be centered on developing women and youth from these communities, who do not have much access to mainstream education or employment. Vasanthi plans to involve Devi who is in Ramachandra and Phani in some of the activities. She will plan a get together at Lake View shortly and looks to others for donations in kind – like tables, mikes, a mobile van, Language or Science education videos or handouts. This collection is a sponsorship for the ‘What Next’ exhibitions, which promote career awareness programs for students in schools and colleges, visits by experts in education or health awareness for women, and video exchanges for high school students with schools in the US or in other alumni spaces. In the future, there may also be a plan to start a community college at Lake View, as there are interested parties.

Contact the Chennai Chapter


The Dhaka, Bangladesh Chapter had only one meeting during the reporting period. The major issue of discussion was to explore the possibility of undertaking a community development project in collaboration with a foundation on the outskirts of Dhaka Metropolitan City area.

The Chapter has been planning to work on the following small projects with particular attention to the poor section of the community, namely, supporting poor students with financial assistance in the form of book allowance and helping their nutrition level.

The Chapter Leader plans to visit Kolkata, India next week where he hopes to meet a number of EWC alumni, to explore the possibility of undertaking collaborative community development activities.

The next chapter meeting is proposed to be held on 7th April 2017 at the residences of Prof. Md. Abdul Mannan, Chairman, University Grant Commission.

Contact the Dhaka Chapter


New EWC President Richard Vuylsteke dropped by the Hawaii Chapter Board meeting to provide an update on goals and aspirations for the EWC in the coming years. The Hawaii Chapter welcomed him to the EWC and stated once again that they would always do their best to support the mission of the EWC, current students, and alumni.

On April 23, 2017, the Hawaii Chapter will once again hold the Annual Dinner and Fundraiser at the beautiful Pacific Club. With a usual attendance of nearly 150 alumni and friends, the Hawaii Chapter uses funds raised from the Dinner to sponsors five EWC students to attend professional conferences and conduct research, with travel stipends. President Richard Vuylsteke will address the audience, in an evening of socializing, a fine buffet dinner, an art bazaar, and auction. EWC students will also provide cultural performances.

The Chapter continues to hold regular monthly meetings in 2017, in the President’s Conference Room at Burn’s Hall

They are also continuing the Professional Linkage Program (ProLink), providing EWC participants an opportunity to “shadow” relevant Center alumni in order to get a first-hand experience of the everyday work environment and work culture. Each semester the ProLink Committee, made up of both alumni and participants, hosts a social for alumni and participants to meet “their match.”

Contact the Hawaii Chapter


EWCA-Japan (Kansai) Chapter was engaged in the following two activities between January 1, 2017, and March 31, 2017.  The main ones were to prepare for the coming (2017) assembly meeting of the Kansai Chapter.

(1)  The Kansai Chapter’s board of members decided to hold the 2017 general assembly meeting, as well as a seminar for the public in general at Kansai University on June 5, 2017. Professor Fred Anderson is in charge of these activities and is negotiating with a research center at the university so that they can hold a joint seminar with the research center.  Details will be announced soon.

(2) Following the decision made at the second meeting of the board of directors on October 24, 2016, Professor Takashi Mita (Vice president of Kansai Chapter) asked a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawaii and current East-West Center grantee (Mr. Taniguchi) to join their seminar.  Mr. Taniguchi is kind enough to speak about his research activities as well as student activities as an East-West Center grantee, in front of the public and the university students in particular on June 5. The purpose of inviting Mr. Taniguchi, a current student as well as alumni, as a speaker is to attract more attention from current Japanese university students in the same generation.

Contact the Kansai Chapter


During 2017, the Kathmandu, Nepal Chapter is celebrating the 70th Anniversary of US- Nepal Bilateral relationship, and the Fulbright Commission (USEF) Nepal has organized a series of monthly lectures for policy discussions. The following lectures have been held:


Fulbright Commission (USEF) Nepal Lecture Series

Date Title Speakers Venue
31 January 2017 Gorkha Earthquake, 2015, Causes and Consequences: socio-economic impacts, lessons learned, and way forward. Dr. Meen B. Poudyal Chhetri, President of NAHF Institute of Crisis Management, Dhumbarai
United States Assistance in Disaster Risk Reduction Mr. Berger, Senior Regional Advisor of USAID/OFDA
Chair Dr. Nirendra Maske
28 February Inclusion Honorable Supreme Court Judge, Ms. Sapana Malla Shangri La Hotel, Lazimpat
28 March Girls’ Education in Nepal Dr. Anjana Singh, Professor of Microbiology Shangri La Hotel, Lazimpat
Gender and Youth Dr.Divas Rai, Mr. Gangaram Gautam, and Dr. Sanjita Raimajhi

20 March 2017: The Nepal Chapter attended a reception hosted by Dr.Thomas Robertson, Executive Director of the Nepal Fulbright Commission of the US Educational Foundation in Nepal to welcome the 2016 – 17 US Fulbright English Teaching Assistants at the Commission auditorium in Gyaneshwar from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.
22 March 2017: Nirendra Maske attended a talk offered by Circle Artist, Kevin Bubriski at Alliance Francaise, Jhumsikhel on: “The Roadless Karnali–exploring north west Nepal where the roads have and have not reached.”

Contact the Kathmandu Chapter


The Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Chapter held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25th March at 12 noon, at the Royal Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur. Twelve alumni turned up for the meeting and a light lunch was served before the AGM proper. During the meeting, they discussed some possible activities/projects for this year. The AGM was adjourned at 3 pm.

Contact the Kuala Lumpur Chapter


The Chapter has nothing to report for this quarter.

Contact the Laos Chapter


The Mumbai, India Chapter held a recent meeting that was, in fact, a riveting talk by the great Indian astrophysicist, 78-year-old Dr. Jayant Narlikar. He gave a talk on his favorite theme, ‘The Lighter Side of Gravity,’ which he had also made into a book years ago.

By no means frivolous or even a populist discourse, as the title may suggest (it is actually a pun), Narlikar’s ‘The Lighter Side of Gravity’ is an immensely interesting introduction to the mysteries of gravity. Taking a historical approach, he began with Aristotle and Galileo and the basic concepts of mechanics and dynamics and then continued with Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler and the motion of the planets, with Newton and the law of gravitation, and with Einstein, relativity, and curved spacetime. He explained the concepts of escape velocities and potential barriers, along with the workings of fusion and stellar nucleosynthesis. He then expounded on the more dramatic topics: tides and gravity waves, gravitational collapse and black holes, and cosmology (big bangs, grand unified theories, inflation, and dark matter) — and his pet topics of white holes, and quasi-steady-state cosmology.

As a youth, Narlikar went to England on scholarship, where he joined Cambridge University and obtained his MSc degree in just two years. He was fortunate to have registered for a Ph.D. under the world famous astrophysics professor, Fred Hoyle, who was then conducting research on the speed and condition of celestial bodies. Hoyle accepted Narlikar wholeheartedly, and as his mentor had a great influence on him. Narikar stood first in Cambridge, his subjects being mathematics and astrophysics. (Mr. Sarosh Bana’s father, Homi Bana, who passed away at the age of 98 and a half in 2009, was also deeply influenced by Fred Hoyle and had written extensively on Astrophysics.)

Contact the Mumbai Chapter


The Okinawa Chapter held their annual New Year party on January 29, 2017.  Ten members participated in the party, and introduced their past experiences and future plans.


Friendships formed as EWCA Fellows led Mr.Fumio Teruya and three senior members to enjoy a Mediterranean cruise in November. Mr. Teruya expressed his observation of European culture as saying that while Western culture was a stone culture, the Oriental culture was a wood culture.

Mr. Choko Takayama is now coordinating to organize a war memorial ceremony for Okinawan prisoners who were brought to Hawaii from Okinawa and died in prison camps in Hawaii after the Okinawa Battle during the Pacific War.

Mr. Kiyoshi Nakachi, president of the Okinawa Chapter, visited Mr. Frank Hung, president of the Taiwan Chapter in Taipei for discussing the possibility of exchanging programs between Taiwan and Okinawa members on March 31. They agreed to plan a joint activity in the future.


L to R: Kiyoshi Nakachi and Frank Hung

Contact the Okinawa Chapter


Just like the year 2016, the first few months of 2017 were a busy quarter for EWCAA Philippines. The following activities highlight the active participation of all officers and members. A board meeting was held on February 04, 2017 at the Bacani’s residence in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila to set the roadmap for activities for the whole year. This was attended by the majority of officers and board members, and a general meeting was set on March 04, 2017 to finalize the planned activities, such as regional conferences and other advocacy programs.

The general meeting on March 04, 2017, and held at Champaca Room of Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan City, was attended by the majority of all concerned. Committees for the 2017 conferences in the Philippines were assigned. The conference in the Ilocos region was set tentatively for October 27, 2017. The committee will be composed of Arsenio M. Balisacan, Antonio P. Contreras, Majah Ravago and Pearl Angeli Pacada. The tentative theme is “Immigration of Ilocanos to Hawaii,” plus the LGU Priority issue will be considered. To date, Dr. Balisacan informed the body that the Governor of Ilocos already agreed to collaborate with the Chapter to ensure the success of this activity.

The committee for the Mindanao conference was set tentatively for the 3rd quarter of 2017. It was assigned to Dr. Alex Brillantes, Rita Gallardo, and Mac Muslim. The proposed topic is ‘federalism and peace management.’ Updates will be discussed at their second quarter meeting.

While the general meeting was ongoing, the EWCAA Philippines was represented by Rita Gallardo in Cebu City during the US Embassy’s activity called: “Alumni Engage 2017.”  The EWC International Conference in 2016 was discussed together with the Chapter’s directions as a US Alumni association in the Philippines.


Aside from the Facebook page of EWCAA Philippines all over the world, a new closed Facebook group was created to make meeting announcements. The webpage will also be created soon, to document all programs and activities of the association.


On the second quarter, Tita Yoly Bacani and Tita Ditas will treat the group to their piano recital on May 21, 2017.

Contact the Philippines Chapter


Seoul Chapter has been busier than ever with the 2018 big conference!

After many talks and discussions for the theme of the 2018 Seoul Conference, “Intercultural Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Community” has been chosen. With the main theme settled, the need to develop sub-themes and panel topics has been raised. There have been serious discussions on the possible sub-themes which are related to the main theme and/or attractive to the region. Among the suggested topics are: how to educate resilience, how to overcome digital divide between generations and between nations, East-West cooperation in the age of industry 4.0 age, how to facilitate understanding between different cultures, etc. We are clarifying and specifying the topics and asking for more ideas relevant to the main topic and beneficial to the region.

Fully aware of the importance of the need to fix the timeline and venue, Won Nyon Kim has been busy with contacting people. Ted Lee seems the ideal person and spares no effort to find venue that is both comfortable and economic. Committee members are also assigned with more detailed responsibilities about fund raising, cultural events, and post-conference tours, etc. Success of the 2018 Seoul Conference is anticipated in the enthusiasm of the committee members and all those who willingly provide ideas and advice!

Contact the Seoul Chapter


On 13 February, the chapter held a fellowship lunch with both senior and junior alumni members. These include the young ones and the young at heart, who met for the first time. It was a good fellowship in an Indian restaurant and plans were discussed on how to keep gatherings known to lost members.


On 27 Mar 2017, alumnus Siva dropped by in Singapore to collect data for his doctoral program. He is currently studying environmental science in New Zealand.


The chapter managed to discuss plans on how the chapter can support a worthy environmental education program, such as Cicada Tree Eco Place, which is a non-profit organization that promotes the natural and cultural heritage of Singapore through environmental education and eco living. The lunch meeting was held with the founder of the organisation, Dr. Vilma D’Rozario.


Contact the Singapore Chapter


The Southern California EWCA chapter met on Saturday, February 4, 2017, at the beautiful view home of Dorothy Siddell and Ron Jackson in Santa Ana, CA. Twenty members gathered and enjoyed a casual catered Italian lunch. Joining them were EWC alumni from India – Ari and Dolly Brara. During this meeting they shared announcements, EWC news, and launched chapter support of the EWC Foundation Fund.

Contact the Southern California Chapter