Quarterly Reports from EWCA Alumni Chapters (1st Quarter 2020)

East-West Center Association
Chapter Development Committee, Quarterly Reports
2020 1st Quarter Chapter Reports (January to March)
Editor: Dr. Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen
Vice President for Chapter Development


Thank you to the 19 Chapters who submitted their first-quarter reports for 2020. Chapter submissions help us and others to know about your activities and your continued patronage for EWCA/EWC outreach. The following Chapters and representatives responded this quarter. These include:

1) APLP (Blaine Baldwin); 2) ASDP (Dona M. Cady); 3) Beijing, China (Hongxia Zhang); 4) Brisbane, Australia (Iraphne Childs); 5) Chennai, India (Sonna Belliappa Pemanda); 6) Dhaka, Bangladesh (Abu Ekramul Ahsan); 7) Faisalabad, Pakistan (Muhammad Ibrahim); 8) Hong Kong (Mark Sheldon); 9) Jakarta, Indonesia (Irid Agoes); 10) Kansai, Japan (Fumiteru Nitta); 11) Mumbai, India (Sarosh Bana); 12) New York (Bill Armbruster); 13) Northern California (Barbara Bornet Stumph); 14) Ontario, Canada (Jonathan Jacobs); 15) Seoul, Republic of Korea (Eunyoung Cho); 16) Singapore (Siva Gopal Thaiyalan); 17) Southern California, USA (Claire Langham); 18) Toronto, Canada (Jonathan Jacobs); 19) Vientiane, Laos (Chanthavong Saignasith)
President: Blaine Baldwin

The APLP alumni board met in January and March with over 50% participation at both meetings which is a significant increase compared to meetings in previous months. The chapter is fortunate to have active board members that represent nearly all 19 APLP generations. Topics discussed In these meetings during the 1st quarter included: preparations for the 60th EWC conference (January meeting), APLP website, planning for the next Global Pau Hana (this time to be held in a virtual online setting in May), and discussion of the COVID-19 impact on members as well as our surrounding communities and the cancellation of the 60th EWC conference (discussed during March meeting). With just a couple of weeks preparation, our team that publishes The Navigator on a quarterly basis was able to issue a special Q1 2020 edition with a focus on the COVID-19 Pandemic. This wonderfully put together issue included various perspectives on COVID-19 that were written by some of our APLP alumni brothers and sisters from several generations.

In the upcoming second quarter there will be a couple more board meetings and planning as well as carrying out the virtual online Pau Hana for each generation.
Contact the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) Chapter


Chapter Leader: Dona M. Cady


The Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) Alumni Board and co-hosts The University System of Georgia Asia Council would like to thank all who participated in the ASDP National Conference in Atlanta Georgia, USA. Program. For as “the Master said: ‘Having studied, to then repeatedly apply what you have learned – is this not a source of pleasure? To have friends come from distant quarters – is this not a source of enjoyment?’” (Analects 1.1)

ASDP02And though our enjoyment may now be somewhat muted by current social distancing and these uncertain times, we are all continuing our commitment to the scholarship and collegiality that inspire and reflect the best of ASDP. And to this, ASDP Alumni efforts across the US have risen to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. ASDP Regional Center and Alumni Board member institutions for the most part have closed all non-essential offices and all but emergency housing. Faculty are working hard to move all on-campus classes to online delivery. Events, study abroad, and graduations are being cancelled or postponed, and some institutions are planning for full summer and fall online delivery as well. Through all this, ASDP alumni continue to infuse Asian studies content into the undergraduate and graduate curriculum and to educate not only students but also administration and elected officials about Asia.

One of our ASDP alumni and director of the University of Central Arkansas regional center, Nicholas Brasovan, sent a letter to an Arkansas senator this week regarding the use of racist terminology to refer to COVID 19. We are proud that through his expert knowledge in ethics and Asian Studies he was able to point out the harm caused to our community by the ignorance of racist and nationalist naming of the pandemic.

ASDP has a variety of Professional Development Programs that will be taking place later this summer and fall. One such program is the Summer Institute Infusing Modern China into the Undergraduate Curriculum during July 6 – July 17, 2020. The application deadline was extended to March 31st.

Another professional development program organized by ASDP Director Peter Hershock is the 2020 Symposium on Humane Artificial Intelligence: The Challenges of Privacy and Social Cohesion. In these very uncertain times, one thing remains clear and certain: if we are going to realize global conditions in which everyone enjoys prospects for better lives, it will require a great deal more shared deliberation and collaborative creativity. Large scale emergencies have often served as accelerators of history, and one possibility is that the COVID-19 pandemic will serve as the “great accelerator” for positive transformations of both human awareness and geopolitics. Other possibilities are that the pandemic will serve to fast-forward populist and isolationist movements or to accelerate the shift of social energies into digital public spheres and deepen the inequalities already associated with what has been called surveillance capitalism.

The East-West Center is committed to serving as a neutral forum for engaging in open dialogue about the post-COVID 19 future and especially the ways in which artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data will factor into it. We invite you to consider applying to be part of the 2020 Symposium on Humane Artificial Intelligence: The Challenges of Privacy and Social Cohesion, which will take place September 24-27 in Honolulu. For further information about the program and how to apply to become a dialogue partner in the symposium, visit the symposium website.
Contact the Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) Chapter


Chapter Leader: Hao Ping
Report submitted by Hongxia Zhang


Initiated by ZHANG Hongxia and coordinated and supported by GAO Song and 22 other chapter members, the Beijing Chapter organized an initiative to purchase face masks for East-West Center staff and students. Through the generosity of individual members, 6,000 masks were purchased and couriered to the Center, delivered just as the mayor of the City and County of Honolulu recommended that everyone wear a face mask when going out into public spaces. Chapter members have great memories from their time at the East-West Center and wished to keep staff and their families healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Many thanks to the members who contributed to this project: CHEN Ying, CUI Yue, GAO Song, HAN Song, HE Jifang, HE Lingqi, JIAO Jie, LAN Cuo, LI Lusi, LU Haoting, QU Pengcheng, SHANG Yuan, SHEN Gang, SHOU Zhenwei, SUN Ruibo, WEI Duan, Lani WU, XIE Lincan, XING Yi, YU Jie, ZHANG Hongxia, ZHANG Shouqing, ZHANG Xiaomin, ZHOU, Changwen.
Contact the Beijing Chapter

Chapter Leader: Iraphne Childs

Sorry but we don’t have anything to report from Brisbane – no opportunities to gather in small groups now for a while with the virus & nothing happening.
Contact the Brisbane Chapter


Chapter Leader: Sonna Belliappa Pemanda

India is in a total shut down of the entire country. There is a ban on movement and gatherings. We also are maintaining ‘social distancing’. Summing up, these are tough days requiring determination and tenacity from each of us. There is no likelihood of any meetings of the Association nor any activity in the foreseeable future. As a result, we may not have anything to report.

Wishing that you all are well and safe.
Contact the Chennai Chapter


Chapter Leader: Abu Ekramul Ahsan

The EWCA Bangladesh Chapter could not hold formal chapter meetings during the past several months because of various preoccupations of many important members and for a number of unfortunate incidents including serious illness and death as communicated to the EWCA from time to time. Some chapter members were involved in out-of-country assignments. However, communication among the chapter members was maintained over telephone and through internet mails during the reporting period.

Contact with EWCA Chennai Chapter
The Chapter Leader Dr. Abu Ekramul Ahsan traveled to Chennai, India with his ailing wife, EWC alumna Dr. Rosie Majid Ahsan, for treatment at the Chennai Apollo hospital. There, he met Mr. P.M. Belliappa, Chapter Leader of EWCA Chennai Chapter, who was very helpful in providing valuable services badly-needed at the difficult time of ailing alumna Dr. Rosie Majid Ahsan. Sadly, she did not survive long, passing soon after returning to Dhaka, Bangladesh from Chennai.

Coronavirus Pandemic and Support to Marginalized Affected Families
Because of the unfortunate situation created by the prevalence of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the members of the Bangladesh Alumni Chapter have been in self-quarantine. However, it has been possible to initiate a drive to mobilize a fund to help selected marginalized families who are compelled to remain home-quarantined and are unable to work and, therefore, have no earnings. The total amount of the fund collected amounts to Bangladesh Taka 119.000 on 30th March 2020 voluntarily contributed by the following persons: Mr. Golam Faruque, Mr. Rumi Billa, Mr. Naeem, Mr. Galib Kondoker, Mrs. Kakoli, Mrs. Nitish Debnath, Mrs. Masuda Begum, Mrs. Lina, Mr. Mehdul Islam, Mr. Badruddoza Kohndoker, Mrs. Sak, Mr. Tareq, Mr. Zihan, Mr. Mostafa, Mr. Shafique, and Dr. Abu Ekramul Ahsan.

This fund will be used to distribute among the selected affected marginalized families in kind packets containing a combination of the following food and cooking items namely – i. Rice (5 kg), ii. Pulses (0.5 kg), iii. Potato (1 kg), iv. Salt (0.5 kg), and Cooking oil (0.5 litre) – an estimated one weeks’ ration per person in the family. Approximately 350 such packets each containing the above-listed food and cooking items were distributed on the 30th March 2020 to the target families.

Future Chapter Activities
After we are able to overcome the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, globally, in general and in Bangladesh, in particular, the Bangladesh Chapter hopes to hold meetings to start chapter activities. The Chapter aims to plan for initiating small projects with particular attention to the poor section of the community with particular attention to supporting poor students in the rural areas.
Contact the Dhaka Chapter


Chapter Leader: Muhammad Ibrahim

During this period we were able to hold another free medical camp on 23 February 2020 with the collaboration of the Islamabad City Lion Club in a nearby village Chakhra Rawalpini for poor and needy people in the community. Medical Specialists from different Hospitals took part. In the camp several people showed and checked for Diabetes, Blood pressure, HIV, X-Rays, eyes. Free medicines were given.

Later on, due to Corona Virus we could not do any activity, but we were planning our trip to Hawaii for 60th anniversary; unfortunately it could not mature.
Contact the Faisalabad Chapter


Alumni Liaison: Mark Sheldon

There have been no EWC-related alumni activities in Hong Kong this quarter. Since late November, the Universities here have been on closure, all teaching and advising at distance online via ZOOM and other platforms. Late last year, it was the political protests, social unrest and police siege of several campuses, especially CUHK and PolyU, then the coronavirus outbreak and public health crisis. We are still in these closures, almost a community-wide lock down. No public events, classes, schools, kinders, etc. are open or taking place. Now a new surge of imported cases, causing further travel bans, closures and postponements, likely at least through May. We are at 356 cases, 4 deaths and 100 recovered, returned home after hospital treatment (as of March 23, 2020). We are on the brink of a community outbreak and still hoping to prevent such a catastrophe. The new imported cases are travel related for the most part, also HK residents’ evacuees from Hubei, and the return of many HK students from the US, Europe and the UK. I expect further spikes in new cases in the coming few weeks.

Do keep us posted on summer, 2021. EWC affiliates here were, of course, deeply disappointed about the conference and alumni reunion postponement. Most will try to attend in 2021, but some have lost some energy and interest. We have very big problems to face in Hong Kong and in Hong Kong higher education. The mechanisms and infrastructures of international education and exchange have basically collapsed. It will be likely 2-3 cycles before significant recovery, if ever, and return to “normal,” whatever that now means these days in Hong Kong.

Our political and governance crisis here is fundamentally unresolved, now merged, mutated if you will, with the coronavirus outbreak and public health crisis. When the virus wanes, the political protests and demonstrations will surely return, re-emerge, likely with new force. The political calendar of June 4th, July 1st and the September Legislative Council (LEGCO) elections will soon be on us, a political calendar imperative . . . so prepare for more complicated and confrontational days in Hong Kong. Both crises are far from over.
Contact the Hong Kong Chapter


Chapter Leader: Amin Abdullah
Report submitted by Irid Agoes

Members’ activities resulting from the postponed 60 Year EWC/EWCA International Conference under way (cancellations of flights and accommodations). Loss due to most members’ promotion tickets being non-refundable.

During this difficult social distancing time, EWCA Jakarta Chapter decided to start monthly online discussion. The first Zoom discussion topic was on Coronavirus Pandemic and it was attended by: Amin Abdullah, Lita, Rahman, Erfan, Ubaedillah, Susan, Rasyid, Monti, Wilmar Salim, Syaiful Umam and Muhammad Ali.

The result of the first discussion:

  1. EWCA in Indonesia (KALEA) will be active in organizing and contributing to those affected, in the form of donating PPE, funds and basic food supplement.
  2. Actively fighting hoax on Covid 19 information and campaigning positive attitude in social media, documenting and compiling all of the above activities using #EWCA Jakarta and # KALEA both in English and Indonesian.
  3. Using social media, encourage members to be active to campaign in activities of the member’s passion and field such as: Art and Musical Performance From Home, suggested by Amin and Cutting Used Mask suggested by Lita.

Plan for the next online discussion: a) Use of religion and how to accelerate curbing of Covid 19; b) KALEA response toward Indonesian Government Covid 19 policies; c) Usage of the existing grass root groups strength at all levels in mindset change to handle the impact of Covid 19.
Contact the Jakarta Chapter


Chapter Leader: Fumiteru Nitta

The Kansai Chapter, Japan has had no chapter events and activities during the first quarter!
Contact the Kansai Chapter


Chapter Leader: Sarosh Bana

The EWCA Mumbai Chapter has nothing to report this quarter, except for the cancellation of the Mumbai visit of EWC Leadership Program Senior Manager, Christina Monroe, on account of the travel restrictions necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak. The Mumbai Chapter was looking forward to the visit of Christina, who was to have met the Chapter members, the US Consulate, and other partners to provide institutional updates and alumni opportunities available in this 60th anniversary year of EWC. The focus was to have been on the Professional Development division, which includes the Seminars, Media, Asia Studies Academic, and Leadership Programs, as well as the new Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence Initiatives among other programmes.

The Mumbai Chapter had planned on a reception dinner for Christina on 16th March 2020, but regrettably the entire program fell through.

I do hope all of you, along with your families, are doing well and successfully riding out the coronavirus storm. India went into lockdown at a very critical stage, but the situation was challenging enough to bring the entire population of 1.3 billion under quarantine. There’s not much anyone can do but wait things out and hope for the best. But in a country like India, the poor bear the brunt of all manmade or natural calamities and things have already become rather precarious for them. The virus proves itself more lethal under the circumstances.
Contact the Mumbai Chapter


Chapter Leader: Bill Armbruster


The New York Chapter had a dinner on Tuesday, March 10 at Best Sichuan. Ten people braved the threat of the coronavirus to hear our guest speaker, NYU Professor Rochelle Almeida, discuss her hilarious travelogue/memoir “The Year the World Was Mine: An Anglophile Hits a Half Century,” about her travels around Europe and India during the 2008-09 academic year when she was teaching at NYU London and traveling on budget airlines and staying at youth hostels during her long weekends and holidays.

The attendees also included a surprise visitor to New York, Christina Monroe, director of leadership programs for the EWC. Others in attendance included chapter leader Bill Armbruster, and alumni Marion Boultbee, Bruce Reynolds (who alerted Christina Monroe to the dinner), Cristina Veran, Gulbadan Habibi and her husband Mirwais, Ted Kaplan and Ted’s husband, Henry Tobin.

We were expecting to have EWCA President Amanda Ellis as one of our speakers, but she cancelled her visit to New York when the UN cancelled its meetings that week of the Commission on the Status of Women, in which Amanda was going to participate. We hope to have Amanda speak on her next visit to New York. Several other alumni canceled due to the coronavirus, including Joviana Guterres, an alumna from Timor-Leste who was planning to be in New York for the same meetings as Amanda.

We hope to have Best Sichuan restaurant as our regular meeting place for future gatherings — whenever they can resume.
Contact the New York Chapter


Chapter Leader: Barbara Bornet Stumph

Barbara Bornet Stumph shared a link to an article written by her 102 year old research historian father, Vaughn Davis Bornet, that appeared in The George Washington University Columbian College of Arts & Sciences History News Network on March 26, 2020.

Can We Build On Yesterday, Salvage Today – And Save Tomorrow?

There was life as it was lived in the United States before the Coronavirus; and as all know there is life after its arrival (from China—or wherever, it matters little). Our nation has been torn apart and not put together again. . . .

. . . I’m trying to envision a life like the one I had from birth ’til now being lived so very differently . . . Everything was working, it seemed. Things were “on time.” Products were available. Services could be gotten for the asking.

Now: well, let’s just skip “now” for now. It won’t be like today in a couple of days, will it? Change is the way things are going to be. . . .

. . . It’s time to give, to share, to “think outside the box.” Members of our own family have experience in doing that. Let’s Unite. Let’s lick this. We’ll be patient, and innovative, and use our imaginations. And relax a little. I just know that we can come out of this united; maybe not better; but not licked!

Read the article in its entirety.
Contact the Northern California Chapter


Chapter Leader: Jonathan Jacobs

I live in the City of Toronto, Canada, which has been hit quite hard by the effects of COVID-19. My family and I left the City as all schools, workplaces and forms of normality started to close down. We moved to a cottage property a couple of hours north in the country. I have spoken with a couple Chapter members and they are self-isolating at home. It has not been easy on any of us. There is not much to share in terms of what any of us can do in our communities as we are confined to our houses and none of us are in the medical field, where a more direct impact on those in need could likely be made. The federal, provincial and local governments have closed all public places, stores, etc., except for essential services. Essentially, our world has shut down other than being able to go out to get groceries, gas, pharmaceutical products, and some other essential services on a carry away basis. At least where we are in the country we can go for walks in nature, fish in rivers, hike on trails without the congestion of anyone seeking the same nearby.

It’s not a good situation and I wish I had better news to report to you, but we are making the most of the situation as we can as a family with 2 young kids confined with us.
Contact the Ontario Chapter


Chapter Leader: Won Nyon Kim
Report submitted by Eun Young Cho

First and foremost, our prayers for all the alumni and members and staff of EWC.

Everything seems stalled, here in Seoul Chapter. Only the beeping sound of SNS warning is busy. We hope we could get back to the age Before Covid-19, as soon as possible. Till then, our best wishes and aloha.
Contact the Seoul Chapter


Chapter Leader: Alice Seok-Hoon Seng
Report submitted by Siva Gopal Thaiyalan


Members of the EWCA Singapore Chapter met for the first Talk Story session in 2020 on Saturday, 1st Feb 2020 at the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI). Dr. Scott MacLeod, Head of Knowledge and Solutions at HCLI, facilitated the session which was well attended by seven other alumni and honorary members. Dr. MacLeod is a former staff member of the East-West Center who was previously directing the Center’s leadership programmes.
During this Talk Story session, Dr. MacLeod provided an overview of the mission and work of HCLI. He subsequently facilitated a participatory conversation where members discussed leadership concepts using the Cynefin framework, as well as drawing on leadership concepts espoused by the EWC leadership programmes. The session was both engaging and enriching, and members expressed their desire for similar forms for future Talk Story sessions.

The Singapore government, as you would have known, has kept the situation under control, and I am thankful for the leadership. I hope the situation will not have too much impact on Hawaii, and life will return to normalcy sooner than later.
Contact the Singapore Chapter


Chapter President: Claire Langham

The Aloha spirit expresses our caring about one another, and especially at this challenging time.

Starting around mid-February – Valentine’s Day ❤️ – my thoughts were on planning our EWCA Southern California (So CA) Chapter spring gathering. Lily Lee Chen had offered to host at her home. But too soon there was news of the coronavirus COVID 19, and then news of the cancellation of the EWC – EWCA International Conference in Honolulu at the end of June 2020. As you all know, the COVID 19 situation worsens very rapidly. Several chapter participants have informed me that they are keeping social distancing.

Times like this remind us to stay positive, physically distant, yet socially connected. “This too shall pass.” Meanwhile, I’m finally tackling solitary back-burner projects, smiling at circulating humor via email, and reminiscing by sending you a group photo from our Dec. 2019 EWCA So CA gathering. Also – thanks to Geeta Brara for compiling contact information of our chapter participants.


My ALOHA to others at the EWC. Minimize risks, stay healthy & safe.
Contact the Southern California Chapter


Chapter Leader: Chanthavong Saignasith

The message from EWC president Richard Vuylsteke with EWC updates regarding COVID-19 was forwarded to all EWC Alumni in Laos. So far, EWC Alumni in Laos are free from COVID-19.
Contact the Vientiane Chapter