Asia Program

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Asia Policy Assembly 2010 Asia's Global Influence: How Is It Exercised? What Does It Mean?

June 17, 2010 // 8:30am5:00pm

The inaugural Asia Policy Assembly was held on June 17–18, 2010 in Washington, D.C. This major international conference was the flagship event of the National Asia Research Program (NARP), a new national research and conference program launched by The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that is designed to reinvigorate and promote the policy-relevant study of Asia.

Lee Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, launched the Assembly by welcoming a full room of over 300 participants from academic, philanthropic, business, journalistic, and policymaking communities. Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA) also offered brief remarks at the opening session, which featured keynote addresses from Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg on policy challenges and opportunities for the United States in Asia and Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) on the importance of smart power in Southeast Asia.

The first day's substantive sessions concluded with keynote addresses from Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) on the importance of U.S. interaction with Asia and former Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth on the role of academe in informing U.S. policy in Asia.

The two-day Assembly addressed a broad range of issues relating to Asia's increasing global influence, including international security, military modernization, economic integration, regional institutions, and environmental protection in East, Central, South, and Southeast Asia.

More than 90 speakers presented their ideas and engaged in critical debate in five plenary sessions and 21 roundtable discussions. Among the speakers were most of the first class of National Asia Research Associates and Fellows, other experts in the field of contemporary Asia Studies, and prominent policymakers. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Schiffer and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler made policy addresses during two of the
plenary sessions. Audio recordings, transcripts, and photographs from the event are available on the NARP website (http://www.nbr.org/narp).

A major highlight of the Assembly was the award of the Scalapino Prize to National Asia Research Associate David M. Lampton (Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies) in recognition of his exceptional contributions to America's understanding of the vast changes underway in Asia. The Scalapino Prize honors the legacy of Robert Scalapino, arguably the United States' foremost scholar of Asia over the past 60 years. During the course of his illustrious career, Dr. Scalapino has published over 500 articles and 38 books or monographs and has helped shape key institutions around the world that work on Asia. Dr. Scalapino, who attended the Assembly, received heartfelt praise and huge ovations from his colleagues and former students, who eagerly shared stories about Dr. Scalapino during the prize award reception that took place on the evening of Thursday, June 17.

Alongside the Assembly, NBR and the Wilson Center hosted a private meeting of the NARP Presidents' Council on June 17. Representatives of U.S. universities and grant-making foundations participated in this meeting to discuss the state of Asia studies and share ideas about how to strengthen the field to encourage and support new generations of scholars equipped with the expertise and tools needed to effectively inform the policy process.

The first group of National Asia Research Associates and Fellows, who were chosen through a competitive, nationwide selection process, are now working on papers that address key themes in the NARP research agenda. NBR and the Woodrow Wilson Center will publish these findings in the coming year, and these scholars will take part in policy briefings and other events across the country. The first of these will take place in October at the University of California-Berkeley, in partnership with The Asia Foundation.

In total, more than 300 policymakers, scholars, business leaders, journalists, and students, including representatives from 10 countries, 10 embassies in Washington, D.C., and more than 25 U.S. states attended the 2010 Asia Policy Assembly. The next Asia Policy Assembly will be held in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2012. The NARP website (http://www.nbr.org/narp) has more information about the 2010 Asia Policy Assembly. Please follow the links below to:

1) View the complete 2010 Asia Policy Assembly agenda

2) View the the list of presenters, and the list of sessions and topics

3) View video or read the full transcript of James Steinberg's keynote address

4) Listen to the audio from keynote addresses, plenary sessions, and select roundtable discussions

5) View the list of National Asia Research Associates and Fellows

6) View the NARP research agenda

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