Message of concern for EWC alumni in Nepal

The East-West Center community expresses its sympathy and deep concern over the loss of life and on-going crisis in Nepal resulting from the devastating earthquake. Our hearts go out to the family members of those who lost their lives and to the thousands who are still trying to locate family and friends, who lost property, or who have had to leave their homes. We know that rebuilding, psychologically and physically, will require enormous leadership, stamina, and resources, and we hope to be able to help.

We encourage all EWC alumni to use this blog site and visit the EWCA Facebook page to connect with the wider EWCA community. We also invite you to share your images, stories or reflections regarding the experience on the EWCA Facebook page and EWCA blog as a central communication point for EWC alumni affected by the earthquake. Please share any news about EWC alumni in the region who may have been affected and any relief activities that the EWCA chapter or individual alumni may be undertaking so that we can share that information with the Center community.

We hope that the international community can effectively help local citizens and authorities in the recovery and rebuilding efforts. Click here for a list of organizations that are dedicated to the relief effort in Nepal.

Continue reading

EWC/EWCA International Conference 2010

The EWC/EWCA 50th Anniversary International Conference concluded with the biennial alumni conference’s traditional Aloha Dinner and alumni talent show. The dinner capped a four-day conference and reunion that brought together more than 800 EWC alumni and friends from 35 countries.

On Friday, participants were welcomed by an opening ceremony of taiko drumming, hula dance and welcome addresses from Center and Hawai‘i officials, before boarding buses for a joyful homecoming afternoon at the EWC campus.

Maya Soetoro-Ng, daughter of two EWC grantees and currently an education specialist at the Center, conveyed a message of welcome from her brother, President Barack Obama. “My brother is grateful to all of you for your important contribution over the last 50 years in building bridges and working collaboratively throughout the countries of the Asia Pacific region,” she said. “He thanks you for all the grassroots diplomacy you do so well, and that makes his job much easier.”

EWC Board of Governors Chairman Puongpun Sananikone, himself a Center alumnus from the 1960s, called the conference “a great homecoming for the worldwide EWC ‘ohana (family).” He said that “as alumni, we have a responsibility to tell the East-West Center story and share its legacy with the world.”

Center President Charles E. Morrison said that a solid foundation has been laid by the “open book” of the EWC’s half-century of history. “Gazing toward the future of enhanced needs in U.S.-Asia-Pacific research, education, and exchange,” he said, “a challenging but rewarding agenda lies ahead. We have, we can, and we will make a difference.”

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said the city and its people are “eternally grateful for the East-West Center and all that you do.” Hawai‘i governor Linda Lingle called the Center “an essential institution of our world going forward” and a integral part of bringing the APEC summit meeting to Honolulu in November 2011.

Over the next the next three days, the conference featured more than 50 expert discussion panels on a range of key regional issues, including climate change, U.S. foreign policy, education issues, governance challenges and more.

Participants, many of whom had not seen each other or returned to Hawai‘i since they were students at the Center, also enjoyed a variety of social festivities, including the EWC homecoming open house; a dinner honoring Hawai‘i Senator Daniel K. Inouye with the East-West Center Association’s Makana Award; a luncheon recognizing distinguished alumni and exceptional volunteers and alumni chapters; an Independence Day reception with the Royal Hawaiian Band and the Aloha Dinner.

At the final dinner, the alumni association presented a special tribute to EWC Alumni Officer Gordon Ring, who has served the Center in a variety of capacities since he first arrived as a student in 1963.

Photos from the Conference

EWC President, Charles E. Morrison’s Address

EWC Board of Governors Chair, Puongpun Sananikone’s Address

Conference Attendees List

Abstract Booklet

Conference Program

2010 Alumni Awards

Special Publication – “East-West Center: Fifty Years, Fifty Stories”

NSF Awards East-West Center $1.4 Million to Study Development’s Role in Avian Flu Transmission

Source: East-West Center News

HONOLULU (Sep. 1) – The East-West Center (EWC) was awarded a three-year grant for $1,398,380 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate the impact of development-based environmental change on avian flu transmission. The project, “CNH: Coupled Natural-Human Systems and Emerging Infectious Diseases,” will examine the interaction of urbanization, agricultural change, and habitat alteration with outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry in Vietnam.

“Studying the role of societal development in disease transmission is urgent and critical for improving the prediction and control of disease,” stated Jefferson Fox, East-West Center Senior Fellow and member of the team heading up the project. “The outcomes will be useful in designing policies for preventing and managing infectious disease outbreaks in Vietnam and other developing nations.”

Between December 2003 and August 2005, three waves of HPAI in Vietnam have resulted in 45 million bird deaths and 106 confirmed human cases with 52 deaths. As part of the coupled natural-human (CNH) system, people are exposed to infectious diseases from each other and other animals. Previous research suggests that disease outbreaks are associated with environmental changes that occur as societies evolve. However, the mechanisms underlying these outbreaks are not well understood because the CNH interactions are so complex. The findings from this study will help inform the Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) research community about the significance of development-based environmental change and perceived human risks in disease outbreaks.

The project will bring together a diverse multidisciplinary team of specialists from the East-West Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Hanoi University of Agriculture in Vietnam. It will also include the participation of graduate students in an NSF funded IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) in the fields of ecology, conservation, and pathogen biology.