EWC Participants are “Leading Sustainably”

What does it mean to be a leader and model for sustainability?

This and many other questions are the starting point for a discussion panel that took place at the EWC/EWCA 2008 International Conference in Bali today. Participants Meutia Chaerani, R. Don Peel, Bryan Bushley, and Wendy Miles presented “Leading Sustainably in the Asia Pacific: An Interactive Discussion on Environmental Sustainability in the East-West Center Community.” These Participants are part of an active group concerned with environmental sustainability, and their efforts are focused first where they live: the East-West Center and the island of Oahu.

In recent years, EWC participants have been exploring new ways to promote sustainability in the East-West Center living and working community. Continue reading

Travel Grant Series: International Linguistics Conferences

By Carl Polley
Graduate Degree Fellow, Linguistics (PhD)

I would like to thank the East-West Center Alumni for their generous Summer Travel Award, which I used to travel and present at two conferences in August. This was my first time attending international linguistics conferences outside of the United States.

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East-West Center Association Summer Travel Grant

Each year the East-West Center Association (EWCA) awards summer travel grants to deserving students to offset the costs of traveling to conferences or field work destinations. These travel grants are funded by generous East-West Center alumni from all over the world. In 2008, 10 EWCA travel grants were awarded – five funded by the EWCA Hawaii Chapter – to travel between May and August.

Currently, the East-West Center’s Alumni blog, EWCA Discussion Board, is featuring its “Travel Grant Series” – a series of nine short narratives of the East-West Center Travel Grant recipients’ experience. To read the series click here.

Travel Grant Series: Bringing Social Issues into a Language Classroom

By Man-chiu Lin

This summer, I explored the possibilities of incorporating social issues into a language classroom in Ubon Rajathanee University in Thailand. Students practiced writing argumentative essays while engaged themselves in active discussion on social & environmental issues like “Thai elephants in tourism” and “globalization & sex trade.” Through role-play activities in class, students are encouraged to broaden their perspective and think critically.

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Travel Grant Series: International Federation for Theatre Research

By Ronald Gilliam

I presented my Master’s research on cultural touring performances at the International Federation for Theatre Research Conference in Seoul, South Korea from July 14-19, 2008. Overall my experience was amazing and I met numerous theatre scholars from around the globe.

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Travel Grant Series: American Sociological Association Meeting

By Turro Wongkaren

I presented a paper entitled “(De-)Institutionalization of Social Movement in Indonesia with Walhi as an Example” at the American Sociological Association Meeting, held in Boston, August 1-4, 2008. My session was in the last day of the conference. It was a refereed round-table session, with four people presenting their work.

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Travel Grant Series: Pacific Circle Consortium 32nd Annual Conference on Education

By Thuy La
PhD Candidate Educational Administration
University of Hawaii at Manoa
EWC degree fellow 2005-2009

I’d like to write to thank the East-West Center Alumni Office for their Travel Award which helped me to make it possible to attend the Pacific Circle Consortium 32nd Annual Conference on Education. The conference was hosted by the Faculty of Education National University of Samoa.

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Travel Grant Series: Tourism and World Heritage Site Conservation

By Jovel Ananayo

Research Topic: Tourism and World Heritage Site Conservation: A Case Study of the Tourism Program of the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo) in Ifugao Province, Philippines.

There are two major objectives of the field work that I conducted over the summer. First is to gather secondary and primary data for my research and second is to have firsthand exposure on the conditions in the project sites. In order to accomplish my first objective, I visited various offices such the SITMo, Ifugao Provincial Tourism Office, and the regional office of the Department of Tourism and gathered information from their reports, financial records, and other documents.

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Travel Grant Series: The determinants of Cambodian cultural values on the Civil Service Reform

By Kongkea Chhoeun

I was doing a research project on “The determinants of Cambodian cultural values on the Civil Service Reform” during the summer. It was an enriching learning experience and had further deepened my interest and knowledge in Public Sector Reforms in Cambodia. It was a very successful project. Based on the result, I am strongly encouraged to build on this work and include it as part of my thesis.

My initial project was “Perceptions on Public Sector Reforms in Cambodia.” It was my intention to gauge the perceptions of the stakeholders of the reform movements. I wanted to see why Public Sector Reforms have failed. Well, my hypothesis was “Cambodian cultural values are the main determinant to the failures of these reforms.” In carrying this project, my methodology was mainly to collect secondary data and do face-to-face interviews with the stakeholders.

The scope of my research was narrowed soon after I conducted informal interviews with the stakeholders. I went to Cambodia in late May 2008. Before I undertook the core works of my research project, I visited a number of stakeholders whose works and interests are of relevance to my project. I talked to researchers in the Economic Institute of Cambodia, a leading independent think tank in the country. After a couple of meetings, I learned that I needed to narrow the scope of my research a little bit. Rather than focusing on the whole ranges of public sector reform programs, I decided to look specifically on Civil Service Reform, a reform that has been seen as slow progress when compared to Decentralization and De-concentration.

Right after I got a clear-cut research focus, it was time I went collecting the literatures on both the Civil Service Reform in Cambodia and Cambodian cultural values and constructing questions for the interviews. While research papers on Public Sector Reforms in Cambodia in general and Civil Service Reform reports by the Council for Administrative Reform of the Kingdom of Cambodia were readily available in the government institutions and research institutions, it was virtually impossible to collect those literatures on Cambodian cultural values for various reasons. First of all, very few scholars have so far attempted to study Cambodian cultures and society; therefore, few works in these areas have been produced. Second, these scarce literatures are hardly found. University of Hawaii library does not have any of them and Cambodia does not have many large libraries to store them either. Upon a number of conservations with the stakeholders, I fortunately learned that these literatures are scattered in individual researcher’s bookshelf. In acquiring these needed literatures, I used all means, including personal connections. I was very lucky to have known many of my former colleagues in research institutions and as a result able to access to those literatures. It took me almost one month to gather sufficient secondary data on Cambodian cultural values and about two weeks to summarize them.

Then I was able to write the literature review, a precondition before I can do the face-to-face interviews. I was advised by my academic advisor on the project that only when I have adequate background on Cambodian value systems can I do the face-to-face interviews because many of the interview questions are more about Cambodian cultures and value systems. Ok, I agreed. I spent two weeks to do the literature review while sporadically talked informally to a number of stakeholders.

As the summer came to an end, I had a clear-cut research focus, well-designed semi-structure questionnaires, well-written literature review, and a number of important findings. I am more than happy to share you these outputs if required.

In conclusion, I have made a great achievement. However, I would not call this work as completed as I am working on it and upgrading it into a thesis paper. It is still a work in progress!