2022 EWC/EWCA International Conference In-Person Participant Profiles

Ronny Adhikarya, Ph.D.

📍Hawaii, USA

Man with glasses in a Hawaiian print shirt, laughing.

Ronny Adhikarya is a retiree of the World Bank in Washington D.C. and United Nations/FAO in Rome. He currently gives lectures at conferences on topics, such as the challenges of digital disruption and AI-tech-based applications. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Hawaii-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and on the EWC Executive Board.

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Ronny Adhikarya

Mrs. Daphne Roberts bell

📍New Zealand

Woman with short, brown hair with glasses, smiling.

Daphne Roberts Bell has worked in social work, community development, and philanthropy and has served nine years on the local council, along with supporting settlement services for Hawai’i’s community. She advocates for effective action on climate change locally and nationally and encourages and supports able younger women to stand for council.

Her topics of interest: Environment and Climate, Gender Equality, and Social Issues

Mr. Jonathan Bensky

📍Washington, USA

Man smiling at the camera.

After joining the Peace Corps in Nepal, Jonathan (Jon) Bensky began his career in the U.S. Foreign Service, State & Commerce Departments, in Vancouver, Madras/Chennai, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, New Delhi, Singapore, and Brussels. Now retired and living in Seattle, he is involved in local volunteer activities, including domestic politics and international affairs.

His topics of interest: Economics, Politics and International Relations, and Science and Technology

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Jonathan Bensky

Mr. Arvinder S. Brara


Man wearing a suit and a red turban smiling at the camera.

Arvinder (Ari) Brara likes to spend his time writing articles and books and has a great interest in health and environment-related matters. His future interests are in health and the environment, and he would like to collaborate with the East-West Center to plan an international conference focused on environmental issues.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Environment and Climate, and Leadership

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Arvinder Brara


📍California, USA

Man wearing a multicolored plaid shirt and glasses, smiling.

Dr. Jaswinder (Jay) Brara has worked on poverty alleviation strategies in India, project and financial management in the U.S., and also teaches Economics in online MBA Programs. At the conference, he looks forward to building a multimedia interactive database of EWC Alumni continuing from the EWCA Southern California Impact Retreat Conference.

His topics of interest: Economics, Education and Exchange, and Politics and International Relations

Charles Chen, Ph.D., PMP, Pe

📍Hawaii, USA

As an APLP Generation 4, Charles Chen is currently teaching, researching, and publishing in the Social Science and Science Citation Indexes, the European Reference Index for the Humanities, and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index journals. In the future, he is interested in collaborating with other EWC colleagues in publishing works in more of these journals.

His topics of interest: Economics, Education and Exchange, and Environment and Climate

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Charles Chen

Dr. gaye christoffersen

📍California, USA

Woman with short blond hair and wearing glasses, smiling at the camera.

Gaye Christoffersen is the editor of Russia in the Indo-Pacific: New Approaches to Russian Foreign Policy, Routledge (2022), and author of “Russian Thinking about CSTO Peacekeeping: Central Asia, China, and the Ukraine War,” The Asan Forum (May 2022). She is currently working on co-authoring a book titled Russia’s Turn to the East.

Her topics of interest: Environment and Climate and Politics and International Relations

Connect with her here on LinkedIn: Gaye Christoffersen

Ms. Moushumi Das Purkayastha


Moushumi Das Purkayastha has a long professional experience in supporting the cause of marginalized women and children in the fields of education, women, and child rights through various top-level NGOs. She is now working in the field of business and continues to support small groups of young woman entrepreneurs.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Gender Equality, and Leadership

Connect with her here on LinkedIn: Moushumi Das Purkayastha

Mrs. Gulbadan Habibi

📍New Jersey, USA

Gulbadan Habibi worked for UNICEF as a Program Officer. She was instrumental in drafting committees of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Her work focuses on protecting the rights of children, women, and refugees.

ms. najma haque

📍Bangladesh, USA

Najma Haque is a retired government officer of the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh and is now working with some EWC friends for social uplift-ment in some of the villages there. With the help of her fellow EWC colleagues, she hopes to create something more permanent. She believes young, talented Bangladeshi’s can work wonders with a little help and encouragement.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Environment and Climate, and Population

Mr. C. David Hickey

📍Florida, USA

David Hickey is now retired from the University of Florida Smathers Libraries, as an Asian Studies Bibliographer. Currently, he is continuing to pursue research and avocational interests in Chinese Studies, films, and reading. In the future, he would like to support EWC endeavors, such as hosting possible grantee visits to the University of Florida.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Arts and Culture, and Travel and Tourism

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: David Hickey

Dr. Ahmad Reza Hoshmand

📍California, USA

Man in a suit smiling at the camera.

Reza Hoshmand is a Senior Advisor at the Global Institute of Service Leadership and former Director of General Education at Hong Kong Baptist University. In the future, he hopes to collaborate with EWC colleagues to discuss the economic development in the Asia Pacific Region.

His topics of interest: Economics, Politics and International Relations, and Leadership

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Reza Hoshmand

Mr. Ishfaq Hussain


Ishfaq Hussain is a current video journalist. In the future, he hopes to progress and work for a renowned organization.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Environment and Climate, and Media

Mrs. May Imamura-uruu

📍Hawaii, USA

Woman with short black hair, wearing a green shirt, smiling at the camera.

May Imamura is a Special Ed. Teacher from Waipahu Elementary with 35 years of experience writing curriculum for American Samoa, Western Samoa, Fiji, and Tongan culture. She is also a donor to the East-West Center and offers scholarships for current EWC students. Since retiring in 2000, she likes to spend her time traveling.

Mr. greg knudsen

📍Hawaii, USA

Man in a Hawaiian print shirt and wearing glasses, smiling.

Greg Knudsen is a former Director of Communications at the Hawaii State Department of Education, as well as a former magazine editor and Peace Corps volunteer. Now retired, he enjoys photography, traveling, and mental health support. He is also an EWC alumni and a Hawaii Chapter board member of the East-West Center Association.

His topics of interest: Politics and International Relations, Arts and Culture, and Media

dr. dayaprasad g. kulkarni

📍New York, USA

Dayaprasad Kulkarni is the founder and director at Aarogya Seva. Dr. Kulkarni is also a medical doctor, public health specialist, entrepreneur, artist, and development consultant. He would like to collaborate with his fellow EWC colleagues on addressing healthcare problems with innovative solutions, as he has initiated several health-tech solutions.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Public Health, and Arts and Culture

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Dayaprasad Kulkarni

Claire Koch Langham, Ph.D.

📍California, USA

Woman with blonde hair and dangled earrings.

Claire Langham has done field study in many different countries as a Fulbright recipient. She has 12 years of experience in the U.S. Diplomatic Service and is a former chapter leader of the EWCA Southern California Chapter. She looks forward to upcoming EWCA SoCal Chapter activities and the EWC International Conference.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Politics and International Relations, and Travel and Tourism

miss cheryl cadeline lee

📍Singapore, USA

Cheryl Lee is an environmentalist interested in community building, policy analysis, and social innovation.

Her topics of interest: Environment and Climate, Politics and International Relations, and Social Issues

Connect with her here on LinkedIn: Cheryl Cadeline Lee

Dr. Maria Chelo Manlagnit-De Venecia

📍Maryland, USA

Woman in professional attire and pearl necklace, smiling at the camera.

Maria Manlagnit’s past and current works include economic research and policy analysis in the fields of monetary & banking, development economics, women empowerment & racial equity, and housing and urban economics. She is looking forward to participating in new EWC programs, particularly in the Washington D.C. area, and furthering the mission of the EWC.

Her topics of interest: Economics

dr. ingebord kendall maranto

📍California, USA

Ingeborg Kendall Maranto is currently interested in sustaining growth and encouraging and enabling cooperation.

Her topics of interest: Economics, Leadership, and Travel and Tourism

Connect with her here: Ingeborg Kendall Maranto

Mr. Lawrence Meacham

📍Hawaii, USA

Lawrence (Larry) Meacham teaches American and World Politics in the University of Hawaii system and volunteers at the Democratic Party of Hawaii and in election campaigns. In the future, he is looking forward to constructing information and community networks for seniors, as well as mentoring students.

His topics of interest: Politics and International Relations

Prof. Linda K. menton

📍Hawaii, USA

Linda Menton is a retired professor of education at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. At the alumni conference, she hopes to catch up with her former EWC classmates.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Politics and International Relations, and Arts and Culture

Dr. Linda Miller

📍Nevada, USA

Woman wearing a blue dress and blazer is smiling at the camera.

Dr. Linda Miller is a retired educator who does re-enactments. In 2020, she provided the East-West Center a $25,000 scholarship for students. Her future interests include preserving the legacy of the USS Nevada in World War II, as well as collaborating with the EWC Art Department.

Ms. yukiko miyazato


Yukiko Miyazato has conducted research within the cruise industry, international trade and Education. In the future, she would like to coordinate with scientists and researchers on international networking and educator’s exchange.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Travel and Tourism, and Science and Technology

Dr. Fumiteru Nitta


Man in a burgundy suit is smiling at the camera.

Fumiteru Nitta is interested in intercultural interaction between Americans and Japanese and multicultural interactions among Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Americans.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Arts and Culture, and Social Issues

Ms. Regina M. Ordonez


Regina Ordonez is a facilitator of human and management development workshops for multiple projects. She is also a former professor at the Asian Institute of Management and DeLaSalle University in Manila. She hopes to help resolve education challenges of Filipino students and parents and address the broken values of virtual environments among its voter population due to social media.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Media, and Leadership

Dr. Rebecca S. Ovitt

📍Hawaii, USA

Rebecca Ovitt conducts support group classes for divorced, widowed and separated individuals. In the future, she will continue her work in the same field- reaching out to broken-hearted people.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Leadership, and Social Issues

Dr. shafiqur Rahman

📍South Carolina, USA

Man in a striped shirt and white suit, wearing glasses, is smiling at the camera.

Shafiqur Rahman is a Bangladesh TV Producer, Mass Media Professor and Chairman at Mississippi Alcorn State & South Carolina State Universities. In the future, he hopes to collaborate with his EWC colleagues on media management, press freedom, social media cyber security, and other similar topics.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Politics and International Relations, and Media

mr. ronald Richmond


Man at the beach, wearing sunglasses.

Ronald (Ron) Richmond is a former Fiji grantee and geologist. He started the EWC Soccer Team and is a Hawaii Rugby Union Representative. In Fiji, he was the Director for Mineral Development and founder of the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission. He is also a member of the Scientific Review Board. He is now retired and interested in climate change-related topics.

His topics of interest: Environment and Climate, Leadership, and Science and Technology

Connect with him here: ronrichmond88@gmail.com

Ms. Cerell rivera

📍California, USA

Woman with long brown hair and wearing a green turtleneck is smiling at the camera.

With a unique focus on business strategy and operations, Cerell Rivera has developed new business models and managed global programs in a variety of industries, including Fortune 100 enterprises, start-ups, and nonprofits. She is passionate about creating opportunities for people to achieve their full potential- personally, professionally, and economically.

Her topics of interest: Economics, Education and Exchange, and Social Issues

Connect with her here on LinkedIn: Cerell Terese Rivera

Ms. Cindy yoshiko shirata


Woman with short hair, wearing a white blazer is smiling at the camera.

Cindy Yoshiko Shirata is the former Secretary-General of the Science Council of Asia in 2010 and 2011. In 2005 she helped organized the EWC Tokyo Conference. In the future, she hopes to collaborate with EWC colleagues to discuss the East-West Center’s Leadership Program from a Japan Management point of view.

Her topics of interest: Economics, Environment and Climate, and Gender Equality

Connect with her here on LinkedIn: Cindy Yoshiko Shirata

mr. mohammad sadiq sohail


Mohammad Sohail has held positions as a director of a research institute, a university lecturer, a socio-political advisor, and a security analyst. His areas of interest are political economy and economic security in South Asia, international relations, policy studies, security studies, women’s rights, and human rights.

His topics of interest: Politics and International Relations, Leadership, and Social Issues

mr. david stilwell

📍Hawaii, USA

David Stilwell has served 35 years in the US Air Force, including as the Defense Attache to the People’s Republic of China, and transitioned to the State Department as Assistant Secretary for East Asia and the Pacific. He would like to collaborate on improving K-12 education and working to get news outlets back to reporting news and information.

His topics of interest: Politics and International Relations and Media

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: David Stilwell

Ms. sri liana suryo-atmojo


Sri Liana Suryo-Atmojo’s enduring interests have been in anthropology and teaching languages, especially English as a second language to immigrants to Canada. She plans to continue nurturing her interests in anthropology, languages and history.

Her topics of interest: Education and Exchange, Gender Equality, and Social Issues

mr. richard tillotson

📍Hawaii, USA

Since retiring from a career in advertising, Richard Tillotson has published two novels, produced a play, and written several (unproduced) screenplays. He has also written newspaper columns on climate change. In the future, he hopes to collaborate with EWC colleagues to discuss more creative writing and the future United States elections.

His topics of interest: Environment and Climate, Arts and Culture, and Media

Mr. takashi Tsuchiya


Takashi (Taka) Tsuchiya is a former CLI grantee and used to assist Japanese companies’ overseas business with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). Though he is now retired from his full-time job, Tsuchiya is a Japanese Licensed Guide Interpreter and may facilitate interchange of visitors to Japan.

His topics of interest: Politics and International Relations and Travel and Tourism

representative gene ward, ph.d.

📍Hawaii, USA

Man in suit with striped yellow and black tie, smiling at the camera.

Since leaving the East-West Center, Representative Gene Ward served 12 terms in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He now serves on the EWC Board of Governors and helps to make the East-West Center into the best thought leadership and cross-cultural instrument for better relationships in the world.

His topics of interest: Economics, Politics and International Relations, and Leadership

mr. michael s. zdanovich

📍Virginia, USA

Michael Zdanovich currently teaches English for Academic Purposes at George Mason University, Korea. He wishes to discover more about the history of the Japanese and Korean people in the Pacific islands and has interests in the archaeological record of the Pacific islands.

His topics of interest: Education and Exchange and Politics and International Relations

Connect with him here on LinkedIn: Michael Zdanovich

Theodore “Ted” Bo Lee as Remembered by Dr. Linda Miller

In the summer of 2004, I was fortunate to have been selected by the Korea Society for their Alumni Fellowship to Korea. The Alumni Fellowship required participants to conduct a teacher workshop with teachers in their district upon their return. One participant joked, “Oh Linda won’t have any trouble getting sponsorship for her workshop in Las Vegas, just call a casino.” An article appeared in the Las Vegas paper that Ted Lee (former EWC staff, member of the EWC Board of Governors, Seminar participant 2008, 2009, international alumni and media conferences 2008, 2010), had donated the sign for the Sunrise Park. He was an owner of the local Eureka Casino so I went there and asked to see him. They told me he was in San Francisco and gave me his contact information. When I contacted him and told him that I was an East-West Center alumna (EWC Summer Institute 1991), he asked me how much I needed. I said $500. He said he would send it. His wife and partner Doris wrote me a note. “Good Luck with your seminar. Anything that promotes better understanding between countries and cultures is good. Sincerely, Doris and Ted.”  The money paid for a workshop at my school, the College of Southern Nevada.

I later nominated The Lees for an award at the College of Southern Nevada which they received and I accepted for them.

As an East-West Center Alumna teaching about Asia and the Pacific, I have continued to be involved with the Center serving on the EWCA Development Committee.  I donated $1000 towards Ted Lee’s Wall of Honor which describes his achievements.

On September 10, 2021, I attended his memorial service at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he was remembered for his contributions to the Business School. I am pictured below with his son Gregg Lee. I was further inspired by Ted Lee as he had given a scholarship for the Center. I also recently gave a scholarship.

Dr. Linda Miller and Ted Lee’s son, Gregg

To learn more about the Wall of Honor or to make a contribution, click here.

Get Ready for the 2021 EWC/EWCA Conference!

Come join alumni and friends on July 16-17 from 2:30 pm-6 pm HST for the 2021 EWC/EWCA International Conference, Bridge to 2022: Virtual Mini-Conference and Awards. We are excited to invite our 68,000+ alumni from 179 countries to participate and experience the conference. A dynamic, easy to use platform will give a different look and feel.

Mahalo to the 156 alumni who told us what they wanted to see at the conference. In the survey, you told us you want to get updates and hear what’s happening at EWC and learn about interesting things alumni are doing. Your topics of choice are Climate Change; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Misinformation in the Media; and Pandemics and Planetary Health. We’re now working to make your suggestions a reality!

Registration and program information are coming soon.

Check for updates on the conference website http://eastwestcenter.org/2021AlumniConference

Questions? Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement by email at alumni@eastwestcenter.org or phone 1-808-944-7506. #EastWestCenterAlumni

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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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


When you’re a member of the EWC “family” the world opens up and you have friends throughout the region — whether in capital cities or in remote villages. Wherever I traveled, EWC alumni extended generous hospitality and provided much appreciated guidance. When I sprained my ankle on one trip alumni showed up at my hotel with walking sticks and canes. I still have them. They’re a reminder of the bond of friendship we share. I’m very grateful to the alumni for their kindness and for their commitment to continuing the East-West Center’s mission. Being involved with EWC/EWCA International Conferences was always a rewarding highlight. I’ve worked on ten international alumni conferences and each of them hold a special memory for me. Joining hands and singing Aloha Oe at the close of each conference ends with the phrase, “until we meet again” . . . I look forward to “meeting again” with each of you in the future.


Working with alumni across the region and U.S. was one of the most rewarding and important highlights of my long career at the East-West Center. Our alumni are the Center’s most valuable and important legacy.