Burma: Should We Care?—

The following appeared in The Free Press on April 6, 2021

The above was the title of a piece that I wrote, published in The Free Press 14 years ago, in October 2007, following the massacre of monks in the streets of Rangoon by the military regime. Nothing has changed. Today, in early April, over 500 protestors have been killed by the new dictator, who took over February 1. It is heartbreaking to be retired in Maine and observing, yet again, decade after decade, the cruelty in that land.

I have had a special relationship with Burma for close to 60 years and it grieves me.

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Legacy and Recommitment to Advocacy, Equality, Justice

I came to this land, the land of indigenous Native Hawaiians, from the Philippines. Today I want to speak to my fellow immigrants and fellow AAPIs: to the essential workers on the front line, to the service members who wear our flag, to the parents with big dreams for their children. No matter where we came from, AAPIs and immigrants belong in our country’s long fight for justice. We belong in the America we are building together.

Amefil “Amy” Agbayani

Legacy and Recommitment to Advocacy, Equality, Justice for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and All Racial Groups” by Doris Ching (EWC/EWCA International Conference, 2014) and Amefil “Amy” Agbayani (Institute for Student Exchange, PhD in Political Science 1964-1969), is based on a survey of national community and higher education Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders. The article focuses on five current challenges: 2020 Census, COVID-19, immigration, elections, racism and discrimination. The diverse AAPI community is the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States (6%). An internally strong and united AAPI, coupled with external partnerships with all racial/ethnic groups, can create a more powerful force for equity and justice for all racial/ethnic groups than standing alone.

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Stop Asian Hate

The analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, this month examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent. 

“Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Increased by Nearly 150% in 2020, Mostly
in N.Y. and L.A., New Report Says”, NBC News, March 9, 2021

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Voices from Myanmar

Alumni in and from Myanmar have reached out and we share their voices

Myanmar civilians are in a war zone with security forces. People are killed without hesitation. Soldiers shoot into apartments, capture civilians and rob at shops. Their actions are not limited to the protestors, but indiscriminately to civilians, including kids, mothers, and elderly people. Ambulances are shot. Journalists and lawyers are beaten, kidnapped at night, or seized at the scene. Children are shot with catapults and guns even while staying in. Young students, men, and women are shot in the head, neck, and abdomen daily. Sound bombs, gunshots noises, and tear gases are everywhere. Nothing makes sense. It is as if we are trapped in the nightmare of a barbari
This is all happening in villages, towns, and the big cities of Myanmar. Imagine a life where you are aware that you or your beloved ones can die any day. Imagine being afraid to walk outside or drive on the road, because you might be shot on the spot, stopped at any moment, captured or beaten up with no apparent reason. (A woman was shot randomly on purpose while she was walking by the road.) Imagine a life where you need to secretly guard your ward in groups at night. You can’t even guard publicly because they will shoot if they see you. Seeking justice is out of the question even when you get killed in plain sight.

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Support EWC’s Coral Triangle Endangered Shark Initiative

EWC Alumni Feature of the Week! @Rafid Shidqi and @Nesha Ichida. Thresher Shark Indonesia has been working alongside thresher shark fishermen, and all Alor stakeholders to put an end to targeted endangered thresher sharks in two small and remote fishing villages. Their engagement since 2018 has made them gain trust from community members, village elders, indigenous leaders as well as the government. Thresher shark fishermen have been asking for ways to increase their skills and for facilities to transition into sustainable yellowfin tuna fisheries, which are thriving in the region. Rafid and Nesha are asking EWC Alumni to consider donating to help these fishermen get out of poverty and prevent the thresher sharks from going extinct. Together with other EWC alumni we can achieve this conservation outcome by 2022!

Christina Monroe appointed as Director of Alumni Engagement

We are pleased to start 2021 with new energy and an addition to the alumni office. Christina Monroe has been appointed as Director of Alumni Engagement.

Aloha EWCA ‘ohana,

Happy 2021 to you and your families! May the new year bring health, safety and prosperity to you and your community.

It has been a pleasure to meet and collaborate with so many of you since I joined the East-West Center 16 years ago, first as an Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellow, then Leadership Education Specialist (including APLP, PILP and YSEALI), and most recently as the Leadership Program Senior Manager. Under my direction, the EWC Leadership Program increasingly involved alumni and alumni chapters as expert resources, especially for programs in the region. It is an honor to now serve as Director of Alumni Engagement. Leaning heavily on Noreen Tanouye’s years of experience and deep relationships and on EWCA President Amanda Ellis’s expertise and commitment, I will lead the current Alumni/Associates Office, now renamed as the Office of Alumni Engagement.

The FY2021 Appropriations bill, recently signed by the U.S. President, includes a $3 million uptick in federal funding for the Center. Excitingly, President Vuylsteke has included alumni engagement in the set of priorities for fund usage. We know that alumni are and will continue to be at the heart of the Center. The energy and expertise of alumni is essential not only as a resource to sustain the Center, but as a source of new innovative programming, which is especially important now.

I will need your help to understand the needs, interests and expertise of our diverse alumni ‘ohana. Starting now and continuing until we hear from everyone who wants to share, we’ll be conducting a listening tour to get your inputs and ideas, specifically in three ways: (1) an all-alumni survey; (2) a series of meetings with the EWCA Board, Chapters and individual alumni; and (3) an “open door” for anyone to contact me directly (MonroeC@eastwestcenter.org / +1.808.944.7645)

We know many of you are eager to hear about and contribute to the 2021 virtual conference and 2022 Hawaii conference. These gatherings are a top priority for us all and we will be sharing information as soon as possible.

I hope to bring the same level of enthusiasm and genuine love for the alumni ‘ohana of great alumni leaders such as Gordon Ring and Karen Knudsen. I will build on the foundation that so many have worked hard to build over 60 years, while bringing fresh ideas and energy needed for the next 60.

Please reach out with initiatives that interest you and/or are your area of expertise. We want to hear from you!

Christina Monroe

Director of Office of Alumni Engagement