Alumni Couple Tomo and Aska Hamakawa Honored by the Dalai Lama for Their Non-Profit Work

Congratulations to husband-and-wife EWC alumni team Tomohiro and Asuka Hirabe Hamakawa, who both recently received Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014 awards from His Holiness the Dalai Lama for their dedicated volunteer work.

Tomo DLAt an event in San Francisco in February, the Dalai Lama personally recognized 51 individuals from around the world who help those in need without expectation of reward. Asia Pacific Leadership Program alum Tomo, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, helps  raise funds for the preservation of Tibetan culture through documentary film and photography and is a staff member at Kopernik, an Indonesian nonprofit that brings simple, innovative technologies to rural areas. He also served four years as a full-time staff with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which subsidizes low-cost and high-impact interventions that save children’s lives.

Aska DLAsuka, or “Aska,” a former EWC affiliate degree student in Pacific islands studies, has known since she was a teenager donating to UNICEF that she wanted to devote her life to helping those in need. In 2009, she assisted with relief and reconstruction  for victims of an earthquake and tsunami in Samoa, and she helped head relief efforts in the fishing village of Ishinomaki after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Currently, she serves as vice president of Tuvalu Overview, a NGO that promotes research and awareness of climate change in the island nation of Tuvalu.

Senior EWC Fellow Fesharaki Endows Scholarship Fund

Source: East-West Center News

On March 9, 2010, EWC Senior Fellow and prominent energy market analyst Fereidun Fesharaki has established a fund to help Iranian and other participants attend the East-West Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program.

Under an agreement recently signed with the Center, Dr. Fesharaki has pledged to donate his full monthly take home EWC salary, which will exceed the $25,000 necessary to establish a scholarship fund. The Fesharaki Scholarship Fund will be used to fund awards of at least $1,000 each year for one or more students, with a preference for (but not limited to) Iranian students from Iran or elsewhere outside the United States. Awards will be granted based on financial need, leadership experience, educational achievement, and funding availability.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to develop my professional career in part through my association with the East-West Center,” Fesharaki said. “I want to contribute back and set an example for others to do so.”

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Fellowships for 2010-2011 Asia Pacific Leadership Program


The East-West Center is pleased to announce new fellowships for the Asia Pacific Leadership Program for 2010-11. Entering its tenth year, the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) is the center of excellence for leadership education in the Asia Pacific region and a signature program of the East-West Center. The APLP is a graduate certificate program combining the development of regional expertise with the enhancement of individual leadership capacity. Based at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, the program has created a network of dynamic leaders in 48 countries who are helping to build a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community. All participants receive a fee-waiver valued at approximately $15,000. Continue reading

Reflections on China from APLP G9 Students

Marvin Uehara, Laisa Roi, and Samuel Gorohouna are current participants of the 2009 – 2010 Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) at the East-West Center. Marvin, Laisa, and Samuel are part of the Generation Nine of the APLP (also known as G9), where 21 countries are being represented.

Reflections on China

by Marvin Uehara, Laisa Roi, and Samuel Gorohuana

A very common image in Beijing.

A very common image in Beijing.

We recently shared our impressions about China after spending four days in Beijing. We were all surprised by the number of skyscrapers, by the cutting-edge infrastructure, and by the vibrance of this economy. To us, China will definitely be the next world economic superpower.

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Marvin Uehara

Marvin Uehara is a current participant of the 2009 – 2010 Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) at the East-West Center. He has experience and education in tourism and development. Marvin is part of the Generation Nine of the APLP (also known as G9), where 21 countries are being represented.


by Marvin Uehara

Halfway between Kyushu – Japan’s main island – and Taiwan, Okinawa is the most populated island of the Ryukyu Archipelago. There are around 1 million and 300 thousand people living in Okinawa and 700 thousand in Naha, the capital.

Okinawa’s history is peculiar. Due to its geography Okinawa became an important trade center for the Japanese, the Chinese, and many other South-East peoples. It was a kingdom until 1879, the year that marks the creation of Okinawa Prefecture by the Japanese. After the Second World War, Okinawa went under the United States administration for 27 years. In 1972, the Ryukyu Islands were returned to Japan. There is still, nevertheless, a large US military presence in Okinawa owing to its strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Story of a Successful Internship: EWCA Beijing Chapter Head hosts APLP Fellow at Xinhua News Agency

By Huma Sheikh (APLP 09)

Huma Sheikh is a journalist from Kashmir working in New Delhi with United News of India. In her position as Senior Sub-editor she covers issues in her homeland, politics, lifestyle, economics, and culture. Ms. Sheikh has also written for the Hindustan Times. In addition to print media, she anchors a live English language television program on Doordarshan TV and a Western music program on All India Radio. She narrated in English for a University of Kashmir Educational Multimedia Research Center documentary that was telecast on Doordarshan TV. Ms. Sheikh struggled amidst mandatory bans on school attendance during her region’s conflict, eventually completing her secondary education. She now holds a BA and postgraduate degree from the University of Kashmir – New Delhi in Journalism.

Xu Shi (President of EWCA Beijing Alumni Chapter) and Huma Sheikh (APLP 09).

It was on February 23, when I joined Xinhua News agency’s web portal, Xinhunet, as Foreign Language Expert and Editor. Xu “Sharon” Shi gave me – an Asia Pacific Leadership fellow at EWC – a chance to explore Beijing as a working journalist at Xinhua News. And she is happy to help more APLP or EWC journalists in the future.

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Lopen Gembo Dorji (APLP 04-05) promoted to Secretary of the Central Monastic Body in Bhutan

Buthan Broadcasting Service

Source: Bhutan Broadcasting Service

Good news from Bhutan.

On August 7th, 2009 His Holiness the Je Khenpo appointed Lopen Gembo Dorji (APLP 04-05) from Gangtey in Wangduephodrang as the new Secretary General of the Central Monastic Body.The EWCA would like to congratulate Lopen Gembo Dorji in his appointment.

Gembo will play a key role in the administration and management of the Central Monastic Body and the regional monastic centers all over Bhutan. As Secretary General of the Central Monastic Body, Gembo becomes the key decision maker in shaping the future direction and advancement of the 400 year old Monastic Institution.

His promotion includes the conferring of the Totsi Jim Dhar, which now makes him equivalent to the members of the Honorable Secretaries of the Bhutanese Cabinet Ministries. Currently, Gembo is putting together his team of managers and administrators for the Central Monastic Body.

After completing his diploma in Japanese Language and culture from Reitaku University in Japan, Gembo attended the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) at the East-West Center in Hawaii during 2004 and 2005. The vision of the APLP is to create a network of action, focused on building a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community. On completing the program, participants understand key trends which will affect the region in the future, what types of leadership these trends require, and how they fit within these shifting contexts as individuals and community leaders.