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Sixty Years After the San Francisco Peace Treaty:  Peace, Conflict, and Historical Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific

Thursday and Friday, 17-18 November 2011

Second International Forum for Peace and Prosperity in Northeast Asia

This conference brought together experts from around the world to discuss the legacies of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and subsequent issues in international politics. Professor John Coatsworth, Dean of SIPA, gave welcoming remarks, and Jae-jeong Chung, president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, gave the keynote speech. The conference was divided into three sessions, each covering a broad topic.

Session One focused on the San Francisco Treaty and the making of the postwar Asia-Pacific region. Charles K. Armstrong, Professor of Modern East Asian and International History and the Director of the Center for Korean Research (CKR) at Columbia University, chaired the session. Presentation topics included U.S. relations with postwar Asia, the continuing legacies of the San Francisco system, a reinterpretation of the U.S. occupation of Japan, and third parties involved and affected by the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty.

Session Two focused on conflict and security during and after the Cold War. Kenneth R. Robinson, of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, presided over this session, which explored psychological operations and warfare in Cold War East Asia, U.S. security policy in the post-Cold War Asia-Pacific region, Chinese perspectives on the U.S.-ROK alliance, and challenges and prospects facing the South Kuril Islands. 

Session Three dealt with historical reconciliation in comparative perspective. Victor Cha, Professor, D.S. Song-KF Endowed Chair in Government and Asian Studies, and Director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, chaired the session. Topics included the reconciliation process between native Hawaiians and the United States; the influence of historical memory on reconciliation in East Asia; and changes in international law, conflict resolution, and education after the second World War.

Presented by the Center for Korean Research.

Borders and Frontiers: Connections Between Power, Ideology, and Identity in Southeast Asia

Friday, 11 November 2011

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sylff program, this panel convened to discuss issues in power, ideology, and identity in Southeast Asia.

Opening remarks were given by Myron L. Cohen, the director at WEAI and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Duncan McCargo, visiting scholar at WEAI and professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds, gave a keynote speech titled, “Mapping National Anxieties: Thailand’s Multi-Layered Conflicts.”

The first panel, moderated by Ann Marie Murphy, Adjunct Research Scholar at the WEAI and Associate Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, focused on boundary issues in Southeast Asia. Panelists in included Peni Hanggarini, lecturer at the Department of International Relations at Paramadina University, Jakarta, and PhD student in Political Science at Northern Illinois University, who spoke about intra-cultural border disputes; Emily Hong, Asia Training Associate at the Minority Rights Group International, who discussed nonviolent power and protest; and Kimberly Rogovin, MA candidate in Human Rights at Columbia University, who talked about issues in female migration such as institutional friction and exploitation.

The second panel, moderated by Trude Jacobsen, Assistant Director at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Northern Illinois University, focused on power, ideology, and identity issues. Tony Do, MA candidate in Anthropology at Columbia University, talked about inscribing agency to Vietnamese AIDS orphans; Karen Bryner, PhD candidate in Comparative International Education at Teachers College at Columbia University, discussed the cultural Islamization of Indonesia through integrated Islamic schools linked with the Prosperous Justice Party; Lisa H. Kim, MPA candidate in Economic and Political Development at SIPA, focused on making Indonesian women essential by framing gender discourse within the framework of wives and mothers; and Laur Kiik, MA candidate in Anthropology at Columbia University, discussed ethnic environmentalism and military-capitalist dispossession in Kachin Land, on the Burma-China-Tibet-India borders. 

Closing remarks were given by Akiko Imai, the Director for Public Communications, on behalf of the Tokyo Foundation.

This conference was organized by WEAI.

China's Economic and Trade Relations

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Merit E. Janow, Professor of International Economic Law and International Affairs and Director of the of the Program in International Finance and Economic Policy at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), hosted a private, high-level roundtable conference on a broad range of issues related to China’s economic and trade relations at SIPA.  The purpose of the interdisciplinary conference was to bring together a group of leading academic experts, practitioners, policymakers and business executives to analyze and discuss certain key areas of both economic tension and potential economic opportunity between China and developed economies.  The conference content focused on four areas: trade, investment, capital markets, and technology/innovation.  These areas were selected because they can be expected to present opportunities for commercial collaboration and economic growth in the years ahead.  The event was held in a roundtable format to encourage discussion.  Each topic began with four presenters making short speeches, followed by questions and commentary from the group, and finally a few minutes were reserved for each set of speakers to respond.   At the outset of the conference, Professor Janow encouraged participants to be bold and creative.  These objectives were successfully achieved as the experts in the room unearthed a wide array of specific knowledge on U.S.-China economic relations and provided solution-oriented policy ideas from multiple perspectives.  The flow of the discussion across the theoretical and practical divide was a testament to both the diversity and experience of the participants.  A full summary report is available.

This conference was co-sponsored by the Center for International Business Education and Research, Weatherhead East Asian Institute and SIPA of Columbia University; CJEB and The Jerome A. Chazen Institute for International Studies of Columbia Business School; and the Columbia Law School as well as its Center for Chinese Legal Studies.

China's 2012 Leadership Transition: Implications for U.S. National Security

Wednesday, 9 November 2011 

Piin-Fen Kok, senior associate at East West Institute, and Colonel Blaine D. Holt, Vice Commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, engaged in a panel discussion on the state of Chinese-American security relations and how the upcoming Chinese leadership transition will have an effect on them.

Ms. Kok said she strongly believes there will be a continuity of policy into the Chinese 18th congress in 2012.  The fifth generation of leadership will continue a cautionary approach to security issues since they are very preoccupied with economic issues: inflation, the sustainability of the GDP growth rate, regional and economic disparity, and increasing domestic consumption.  She remarked that the most important security issues in the next five years have to do with its relationship with the United States: a possible shift of power during the upcoming U.S. election; the United States’ two long wars, its perception of China as a real economic threat; tensions between the two countries resulting from the American sale of arms to Taiwan; and military maneuvers in the Yellow Sea.  Likewise, other Asian countries are concerned with China’s power and aggressiveness.  Despite this situation, there are efforts to reconcile differences between the United States and China.

Colonel Holt recognized this rivalry, and believed that the United States needs to understand better China’s strengths and weaknesses.  He believed that the United States’ reliance on institutions is weak, and likewise China’s leadership through “humane authority” may not work in every situation.  He observed that China’s passive role in global military efforts allows it to benefit greatly from American action; for instance, with America stabilizing Afghanistan, Chinese companies are able to benefit from investments into natural resources in the region.  Ultimately, he believes there is great optimism between the two countries, but there are still some tough issues.  It would be a huge catastrophe if  China and the United States were to ever have a military conflict.

This panel was convened by the Asia-Pacific Affairs Council and the Defense & Security Student Organization.

Localizing Global Justice: Rethinking Law and Human Rights in Southeast Asia

Friday and Saturday, 4-5 November 2011

Kristy Kelly, Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia and Duncan McCargo, Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI) at Columbia and Professor of Southeast Asian Politics at the University of Leeds, convened this two-day conference on behalf of WEAI.  The purpose was to bring together scholars and activists working at the intersections of justice, law, politics, culture and human rights in Southeast Asia with an aim to change the landscape of debate on these issues.  David Engel from the State University of New York-Buffalo started by giving a keynote address on “The Quest for Justice and the Conundrum of Rights: Law, Religion, and History in Lanna.”

The first panel, moderated by Ann Marie Murphy from Seton Hall University and Columbia University, was about “Complicating Justice,” and panellists focused on disparate aspects of justice in different areas of Southeast Asia.  Panellists included Jiwon Suh from Ohio State University who focused on human rights advocacy in post-new order Indonesia; Tyrell Haberkorn from ANU on torture and accountability in Thailand; Benjamin Tausig from New York University on broadcasting rights at Thai protests; and Trangdai Glassey-Tranguyen, who talked about justice in Vietnam.  The theme of Panel Two, which was moderated by Amy Freedman  of Long Island University and Columbia University, was “Complicating Law, Contesting Rights,” and panellists included Frank Munger from New York Law School, who talked about the relationship between global law and local human rights in Thailand; Kristy Kelly on gender, class and retirement rights in Vietnam; Nguyen Thu Huong from the Vietnam National University of Hanoi on the interface of gender, sexuality, and politics in dealing with rape cases in northern Vietnam; and Michael Herzfeld from Harvard University on housing rights in Thailand.

Day Two started off with Panel Three, moderated by Jayne Werner of Columbia University, on “Global-Local (Re)Imaginings.”  Panellists included Ehito Kimura from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Leslie Dwyer from George Mason University on justice in Indonesia; Bridget Welsh from Singapore Management University on justice for Malaysian political leaders; and Eugenia McGill from Columbia University on gender justice advocacy in the Philippines.  Panel Four, moderated by Professor McCargo, was about “Transitional Justice: The Case of Cambodia.”  Panellists included Sophal Ear from U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, on transitional justice in Cambodia; John Ciorciari from the University of Michigan on global and local "Truths" in Democratic Kampuchea; and Alex Hinton from Rutgers University and Lorraine Paterson from Cornell University on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.  Professor McCargo moderated a closing conversation on how to effectively use the information gathered going forward.

This conference was co-sponsored by Columbia’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Southeast Asian Student Initiative, School for International and Public Affairs, and Economic and Political Development Program.

Power Shifts in Northeast Asia

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Center for Korean Research (CKR) brought together a panel of experts to discuss the changing power dynamics in Northeast Asia for a day-long conference at Columbia University.  Session One focused on “Major Powers and the Shifting Regional Balance,” and was moderated by Charles Armstrong, Director of CKR at Columbia University.  Panelists included Victor Cha from Georgetown University discussing the United States and Northeast Asia; Richard Bush from the Brookings Institution discussing China and Northeast Asia; Sheila Smith from the Council on Foreign Relations discussing Japan and Northeast Asia; and Stephen Noerper from The Korea Society discussing Russia, Mongolia and Northeast Asia.  Andrew Nathan from Columbia University served as the discussant.   

Following the first session, Ambassador Yong-Mok Kim, Korean Consul General to New York, gave a congratulatory address.  In-Taek Hyun, Minister of Unification of Korea, then gave a keynote speech.  Finally, Edward Rim from the Pacific Culture Foundation discussed the Institute for Peace Affairs. 

Ambassador Mark Minton, President of The Korea Society, chaired Session Two on “The Korean Peninsula.”  Panelists included Jin Shin from the Institute for Peace Affairs discussing Korea’s relations with the major powers; Jeong-Ho Roh from Columbia Law School discussing the legal aspects of inter-Korean relations; Sung-Wook Nam from the Institute for National Security Strategy discussing the leadership transition in North Korea; and Yangho Hong from Ewha Womans University discussing South Korea’s policy toward North Korea.  Bernhard Seliger of the Hans Seidel Foundation served as the discussant.  Finally, Jin Shin, Director of the Institute for Peace Affairs, provided closing remarks.  

This conference was co-sponsored by Columbia’s Institute for Peace Affairs, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Center for Korean Legal Studies, and The Korea Society.

China's Difficult Economic Adjustment

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Michael Pettis, finance professor at Peking University and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, gave a talk at Columbia University describing the issues surrounding China's economic growth. Although China is currently experiencing tremendous growth, there are systemic and infrastructural weak points that mimic the meteoric rise and fall of other great economies.  He posited that by 2013-14 Chinese GDP growth will start to level out, and by 2015-16 growth rates will slow to 3%. 

Professor Pettis first put China's current economic boom into context, making comparisons to the economic histories of Japan, Korea, and the Soviet Union in the mid-late 20th century.  He argued that China’s investments, predominantly in the form of governmental policy and financial infusion, are too decadent. High profits of state-owned enterprises translate into investment for capital-intensive projects and can work for some time; however, if Chinese enterprises run out of investment opportunities and cannot find the next project, the Chinese government will have to shore them up.  For these reasons, China’s economic growth “miracle” will most likely transition into a debt crisis. For the rest of 2011 and 2012, Chinese debt levels will continue to rise quickly; attempts to rein in debt growth will fail because they will only address specifics, rather than opposing the economic model which China follows. Attempts to rein in spending at the local level will continue to fail because costs are nationalized, while benefits are local.  Loans in China do not get repaid; they just get rolled over.

Professor Pettis also addressed China’s low domestic consumption. For much of the past decade, there has been growing recognition of its heavy export-driven economy. By 2013, Chinese household consumption will stagnate at 35% of Chinese GDP, which it achieved in 2009, and will likely start to trend downward. 

Finally, Professor Pettis outlined several initiatives that China can enact to stop an economic failure: 1) increase currency value; 2) raise domestic wages; and 3) raise interest rates slowly.  When governments introduce distortions into the market, only certain people will benefit.  If these distortions persist for too long, they may become impossible to remove. However, he does not endorse a full free market; he believes that policy and markets should work in tandem to perpetuate a strong economy. Until Beijing acknowledges that it must dramatically change its growth model, its artificial market will result in failure.

This lecture was co-sponsored by the Asia Pacific Affairs Council, APEC Study Center, and SIPA Finance Club.

Asia Pacific Economic Outlook: Short & Medium-Term Policy Challenges

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dr. Vivek Arora, Assistant Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Asia and Pacific Department, outlined the global economic recovery, the growth outlook in Asia, risks of overheating, and policy challenges. He stated his belief that the growth outlook for Asia looks strong, though there are new risks from exuberant credit and property markets, higher commodity prices, and the effects of Japan’s earthquake.

Professor David E. Weinstein, Carl S. Shoup Professor of the Japanese Economy and Associate Director of CJEB, served as a discussant for this lecture, and noted the many countries which are in danger of default: Japan, Ireland, Greece, Spain, the United States, and Portugal. Professor Shang-Jin Wei, N. T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and Director of the Chazen Institute at Columbia Business School (CBS), moderated the lecture. A more complete summary can be found here:  Vivek Arora Report (.pdf, 163 kb)

This lecture was co-sponsored with the Chazen Institute and CJEB.

Prospects for the Global Economy

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, Member of the Executive Committee at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the JPMorgan International Council; Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University and President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD); and Min Zhu, Special Advisor to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, presented their views on the challenges and prospects of today’s global economy as part of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs’ 2011 Distinguished Speakers in International Finance and Economic Policy series.

Frenkel noted the growing importance of emerging markets. Not only are equity flows moving to emerging markets, but their gross domestic product (GDP) rates significantly surpass those of advanced economies. Stiglitz discussed the growth of emerging markets as well as the...

The World Bank and Trade: Looking Ahead Ten Years

Monday, 25 April 2011

John Wilson, Lead Economist of the Development Economics Research Group at the World Bank, gave a presentation at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs assessing the unique challenges and new opportunities available in shaping the global development agenda through the lens of the World Bank, particularly in the area of trade facilitation and high trade-related transactions costs.

Wilson noted that the recent global economic crisis of 2008 has presented the World Bank with the opportunity to advance an international trade agenda anchored in reform and the research of aid effectiveness for the next 10 years. In particular, the World Bank’s data found that every $1 invested in trade policy and regulatory reform has resulted in $697 in trade. However,...

The U.S.–Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Jose Fernandez, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Fernandez spoke on the importance and mutual benefits of the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Fernandez started by noting that the 2010 KORUS renegotiations were put in place to ensure that U.S. companies can compete in a fair and free method and to provide everyone with greater transparency to the agreement . . .

20th Annual Graduate Student Conference on East Asia

Friday, 4 February 2011

This conference provided a forum for graduate students from institutions around the world to meet and present their research for discussion with other students and Columbia faculty. Nearly a hundred students presented papers, including “Investing the Lessons of East Asia: A ‘Market-Enhancing’ View of Dynamic Export Promotion,” “China: Catching Up or Falling Behind?,” and “Legal Aid NGOs and the Rule of Law in China.” Details can be found here.

This event was co-sponsored with the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as well as several other organizations at Columbia.