I recently spent about a month on Magoodhoo, a small island on the southern rim of Faafu atoll, which is one of 26 atolls that make up the Maldives archipelago. This was my first season of fieldwork for my PhD research. I am a graduate student in marine biology, and I am interested in understanding how climate change-related warming events are changing the structure and functioning of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Specifically, I study how disturbances alter the community composition of corals (by selecting for certain species), and how these alterations will be linked to changes in reef fish diversity and function. Will the “reefs of the future”, that will have to persist in warmer and more stressed waters, be biased towards certain functions and relationships? How will this impact patterns of reef fishing and human use? These questions are particularly pressing in low-lying small island states like the Maldives, where the effects of the 2017 El Niño are already beginning to play out on its reefs and shorelines. Continue reading
Over a long weekend in late July, 15 Asia Pacific Leadership Program alumni met in Bangkok to renew ties to the program, refresh their knowledge of leadership concepts and launch a new initiative. The participants from varied nations, professions and age groups represented eight different APLP cohorts including members of the first and the most recent generations of the program.
The gathering, called Alumni One (A1), was intended to help develop new cross-cohort links and renew practical application of APLP teachings, as well as to draw upon the unique skills of this diverse alumni group to explore how new fiscal opportunities might be developed for EWC.
In a collective report on the event, participants wrote that they soon discovered that the dual functions of the workshop were highly compatible: “As agents of change in our respective fields, we were able to draw upon reflections of our time at EWC and our motivations for remaining engaged in the APLP program to explore emerging leadership development needs. Our aim was to conceptualize meaningful and sustainable professional development programs that could generate revenue for the Center while activating program alumni as partners. Together we discovered that our alumni are invested in the long-term success of the program, and it was truly amazing how harmoniously this unique team worked together.”
During their time together participants created a road map for future alumni development workshops, designed prototype training products, and identified potential clients. In addition, they committed to deepening the in-country presence of the APLP and other Center leadership programs across Asia.
An Alumni Two meeting is already being planned for the coming months, and the roster of alumni signed up for the next workshop has grown by over 50 percent. If any APLP alumni want to get involved in this initiative, contact Scott MacLeod or Saw Thinn. And if you know of organizations or businesses who might be interested in the kind of training APLP does so well, let them know!
Life behind bars can be a never-ending struggle to survive anger and violence, or a place where all hopes are gone. However, it could also be a place where hearts are healed and the past becomes a bridge to the future.
For Toni Bissen, the Executive Director of Hawai‘i’s Pū‘ā Foundation, healing takes priority when working with women behind bars at O‘ahu’s Women’s Community Correctional Facility (WCCC). Seeing inmates’ misconduct as a result of their past traumas such as sex abuse or domestic violence, community leaders are helping WCCC residents share their stories, learn from the past, forgive themselves and move on.
In an effort to deepen their understanding of how prison can become a place of healing, nine fellows from the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) recently visited and talked with residents of the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) alongside Toni from the Pū‘ā Foundation. Their goal was to learn how leaders are helping WCCC women reconcile traumatic pasts with the present and facilitate healing in the community.
Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellows Alisha Bhagat and Gretchen Alther report from the field:
Last autumn, a group of 14 Asia Pacific Leadership Progam fellows from the East-WestCenter traveled to China for a fall field study program. China provided the perfect environment to engage in dynamic processes of change and apply classroom learning to the real world. The fellows explored the rapid economic development of China, political change, and the prominence of China in the Asia-Pacific.
During the field study, a team of three students travelled to Shaxi, a historic town in rural Yunnan Province that had recently been restored as a tourism site. Shaxi is an ideal place to see the drivers of change in China occurring in a small space. Continue reading
EWC Education Project Specialist Christina Monroe writes:
Just as quickly as you can end the previously hours-long debate on ‘what countries border Moldova’ with a Google search on your smartphone, human rights activists can now eliminate doubts that abuses are happening.
It’s a new open source transparency. But instead of sharing software for free, scientists and NGO workers are sharing tools to document events. These events used to happen in secrecy, but now they’re in the public domain for all to see. These tools, in the hands of willing citizens, can force public accountability and ultimately more transparency from powerful players in every society.
I recently took part in a briefing for East-West Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program fellows with the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC. I’m fascinated by how they use GIS and remote sensing to support human rights organizations.
EWC international fellows take home lessons from the storm
Christina Monroe, EWC Education Project Specialist & Asia Pacific Leadership Program alumna
It seemed the worst place to be on Oct 29th, but for fellows trying to understand America, New York City was the perfect spot.
During their visit to Washington, D.C. the Pakistani journalists had an opportunity to explore U.S. policy toward Pakistan and learn more about the U.S. system of government and democracy. Later on, they visited New York City, where they participated in discussions about media coverage of Pakistan and the residual effects of 9/11 on U.S. relations with the Muslim world.
Finally, participants saw a very different part of the United States in Columbia, Missouri. The prestigious Missouri School of Journalism is based in Columbia, and hosted a day of discussion sessions on the role of media in democracy and also on cutting-edge media technologies researched at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. The Missouri program also featured home visits with American families and a chance to interact with American citizens from diverse backgrounds.