Friday, April 13, 2012

East-West Center: Information One-Stop

In the wake of yesterday's failed ballistic missile shot by North Korea, I was reminded of the value of the East-West Center. The EWC provided a timely analysis of the domestic political context in the hermit communist state, written by North Korea specialist Marcus Noland, who blogs about that country at, and posted his thoughts yesterday.

Who or what is the East-West Center? Glad you asked.

The EWC was founded in 1960 by the United States Congress, with the aim of promoting mutual understanding among the countries of the vast Asia-Pacific region through exchange visits, sharing of information and ongoing conversations. These days, it is a thriving, non-profit think tank and academic institution with a 21-acre campus bordering the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and an office in Washington, D.C. I turn to the EWC ( often to gain context and insight that informs my travel journalism.

The center is independent and non-partisan, funded by a combination of private and public sources. Among them: The U.S. Congress, corporations, non-profit foundations and private individuals. It is not a branch of the U.S. government in case you're wondering, but does have excellent contacts with Uncle Sam, as it does with dozens of governments, academics, politicians and media people. I spent a month under EWC auspices a decade ago as a Jefferson Fellow; the Jefferson Fellowships bring professional journalists from around the region together for seminars, classes, and trips. I visited Japan, China and Vietnam with my Jefferson group at the EWC.

So, consider this a plug. For me, the EWC is an information one-stop. It's definitely worth checking out the Web site (see above), to see the latest and greatest about this dynamic, fast-growing and volatile part of the world.

1 comment:

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