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East-West Center Strategic Planning Process East-West Center Strategic Planning Process

With its foundation in Hawai‘i, East-West Center stands at the heart of this century’s most consequential region. The Indo-Pacific, home to more than half the planet’s people and two-thirds of its recent economic growth, is center stage for some of our world’s best opportunities for progress, as well as some of its most daunting challenges to peace and sustainability. While many Indo-Pacific nations are growing in affluence, influence, and international prominence, the region also faces mounting impacts from climate change, COVID-19, corruption, and geopolitical competition. Waves of regional change pitch communities between breakthrough and disaster.

East-West Center’s work is built on the conviction that capable, committed, and connected leaders make the difference in turbulent times like these. We believe leadership transcends social sectors and roles. It is an individual’s capacity and commitment to making a positive change in their own organizations, communities, and nations through influence, interactions with others, and innovation. East-West Center’s strongest lever of positive impact is convening, developing, and equipping more promising and diverse leaders to address critical challenges together.

This strategy is anchored in the Center’s long legacy of leaders. EWC’s 68,000 alumni from 179 nations demonstrate the difference such leaders can make. Over the past six decades, they have helped make critical discoveries and decisions that enabled the tremendous growth we see in the Indo-Pacific today. Our alumni continue to catalyze positive change, and their tremendous legacy is the Center’s foundation for growth.

East-West Center Strategic Planning Process

To better focus institutional efforts and resources on addressing the Indo-Pacific’s challenges, East-West Center stakeholders collaborated to create this institutionally unifying, impact-oriented strategic framework. Under this framework, EWC’s programs will be prioritized, aligned, and implemented in line with the strategies described here to achieve the Center’s mission and vision.

A wide range of stakeholders contributed to this foundational plan, including the Board of Governors, staff, partners, and alumni. Planning activities included assessing regional needs; selecting priority areas where the Center can make a difference; focusing on the Center’s distinctive strengths and competencies; and establishing key institutional goals and strategies.

East-West Center Regional Assessment

East-West Center stakeholders identified three main areas in which Indo-Pacific leaders must collaborate to address profoundly complicated and important issues of common concern.

A Changing Environment

As environmental degradation and climate change grow ever more severe, Indo-Pacific communities face the worst impacts but also hold the keys to a thriving Earth. East-West Center can work alongside partners and emerging leaders to build capacity and common passion to conserve natural resources while increasing human resilience.

Environmental mismanagement such as overfishing, pollution, and deforestation yield consequences for communities, including food and water insecurity, heightened vulnerability to natural disasters, forced migration, and conflict. These in turn decrease resilience, as impacted individuals grapple with diminished economic, educational, and health outcomes.

Informed, participatory decision-making, shaped by leaders dedicated to equitable and sustainable use of natural resources, will make all the difference. To make good decisions and back them up with action, leaders at all levels need reliable information, multidisciplinary understanding, and international collaboration. East-West Center will be the hub for sharing these vital tools and capabilities.

A Need for Good Governance

Global democracy is in decline, with two-thirds of the world’s population now living in autocracies. Free and open societies in the Indo-Pacific face challenges of resource scarcity, internal conflict, and outside pressures that threaten destabilization. Increased disinformation efforts and attacks on media lead to distortions of public perception. Women, youth, minorities, and other marginalized groups are often disenfranchised just when their participation would be most vital to good decision-making.

To improve governance, leaders at all levels need skills, knowledge, and support to strengthen democratic institutions and accountability. The Center will support government and civil society leaders with shared data and best practices, educational opportunities, and international networking. We will help empower civil society organizations to play a crucial watchdog role and combat disinformation. We will work to bring disenfranchised groups to the table.

A Spotlight on the Pacific

Pacific Island nations stand in a geopolitical spot-light, which brings challenges but also unprecedented opportunities. Pacific leaders are navigating these circumstances together, and East-West Center stands with them as a supporting partner.

Sustainable development in the face of environmental degradation is the Blue Pacific Continent’s greatest challenge. Livelihoods in Pacific Island nations are threatened by biodiversity loss. Storms and natural disasters batter the islands with increasing frequency and intensity. Geographical isolation creates barriers that worsen the impacts of environmental disasters on food security and health. 

In addition, Pacific Island nations face intensified international pressures, targeted disinformation, and challenges to their sovereignty. COVID-19 continues to threaten lives and slow progress across sectors, while the legacy of a nuclear past still affects communities today. 

East-West Center seeks to support Pacific leaders with educational opportunities, professional development, and international networks. EWC’s Pacific Islands Development Program, the only US-based member of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), and Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL), is a bridge to allies, a hub of expertise, and a platform for Pacific voices.

Next Steps

These goals and strategies are only the beginning of the work ahead of East-West Center. Over the coming months, Center staff will shape program plans to more closely align with these goals. Impactful, cross-cutting programs using these strategies will be aligned, synchronized, and resourced over the next five years, and action plans will be formulated to support institutional growth.

Components of the full strategic plan

Program Plans to fulfill the strategic framework: synchronizing multiple functions across the Center to meet goals.

Strategic Finance Plan: optimizing budget processes and funding stream mix (appropriation, fundraising, grants, and service delivery) to support programs.

Capital Improvements Plan: long-term redesign, upgrades, and improvements to EWC facilities in Honolulu and Washington, DC.

Strategic Communications Plan: harmonizing marketing and branding, outreach, and online presence across the Center, integration of voices from the region.

Organization structure and human resources: aligning structures, resources, and performance management with strategic goals.

Organizational culture: instilling institutional values, upholding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Monitoring and evaluation: employing data analytics, integrated systems of learning, and process review to improve effectiveness.

Internal process and policy improvement: codifying management systems, policy, and procedures updates to support strategic priorities.

With its foundation in Hawai‘i, East-West Center stands at the heart of this century’s most consequential region. The Indo-Pacific, home to more than half the planet’s people and two-thirds of its recent economic growth, is center stage for some of our world’s best opportunities for progress, as well as some of its most daunting challenges to peace and sustainability. While many Indo-Pacific nations are growing in affluence, influence, and international prominence, the region also faces mounting impacts from climate change, COVID-19, corruption, and geopolitical competition. Waves of regional change pitch communities between breakthrough and disaster.

East-West Center’s work is built on the conviction that capable, committed, and connected leaders make the difference in turbulent times like these. We believe leadership transcends social sectors and roles. It is an individual’s capacity and commitment to making a positive change in their own organizations, communities, and nations through influence, interactions with others, and innovation. East-West Center’s strongest lever of positive impact is convening, developing, and equipping more promising and diverse leaders to address critical challenges together.

This strategy is anchored in the Center’s long legacy of leaders. EWC’s 68,000 alumni from 179 nations demonstrate the difference such leaders can make. Over the past six decades, they have helped make critical discoveries and decisions that enabled the tremendous growth we see in the Indo-Pacific today. Our alumni continue to catalyze positive change, and their tremendous legacy is the Center’s foundation for growth.

East-West Center Strategic Planning Process

To better focus institutional efforts and resources on addressing the Indo-Pacific’s challenges, East-West Center stakeholders collaborated to create this institutionally unifying, impact-oriented strategic framework. Under this framework, EWC’s programs will be prioritized, aligned, and implemented in line with the strategies described here to achieve the Center’s mission and vision.

A wide range of stakeholders contributed to this foundational plan, including the Board of Governors, staff, partners, and alumni. Planning activities included assessing regional needs; selecting priority areas where the Center can make a difference; focusing on the Center’s distinctive strengths and competencies; and establishing key institutional goals and strategies.

East-West Center Regional Assessment

East-West Center stakeholders identified three main areas in which Indo-Pacific leaders must collaborate to address profoundly complicated and important issues of common concern.

A Changing Environment

As environmental degradation and climate change grow ever more severe, Indo-Pacific communities face the worst impacts but also hold the keys to a thriving Earth. East-West Center can work alongside partners and emerging leaders to build capacity and common passion to conserve natural resources while increasing human resilience.

Environmental mismanagement such as overfishing, pollution, and deforestation yield consequences for communities, including food and water insecurity, heightened vulnerability to natural disasters, forced migration, and conflict. These in turn decrease resilience, as impacted individuals grapple with diminished economic, educational, and health outcomes.

Informed, participatory decision-making, shaped by leaders dedicated to equitable and sustainable use of natural resources, will make all the difference. To make good decisions and back them up with action, leaders at all levels need reliable information, multidisciplinary understanding, and international collaboration. East-West Center will be the hub for sharing these vital tools and capabilities.

A Need for Good Governance

Global democracy is in decline, with two-thirds of the world’s population now living in autocracies. Free and open societies in the Indo-Pacific face challenges of resource scarcity, internal conflict, and outside pressures that threaten destabilization. Increased disinformation efforts and attacks on media lead to distortions of public perception. Women, youth, minorities, and other marginalized groups are often disenfranchised just when their participation would be most vital to good decision-making.

To improve governance, leaders at all levels need skills, knowledge, and support to strengthen democratic institutions and accountability. The Center will support government and civil society leaders with shared data and best practices, educational opportunities, and international networking. We will help empower civil society organizations to play a crucial watchdog role and combat disinformation. We will work to bring disenfranchised groups to the table.

A Spotlight on the Pacific

Pacific Island nations stand in a geopolitical spot-light, which brings challenges but also unprecedented opportunities. Pacific leaders are navigating these circumstances together, and East-West Center stands with them as a supporting partner.

Sustainable development in the face of environmental degradation is the Blue Pacific Continent’s greatest challenge. Livelihoods in Pacific Island nations are threatened by biodiversity loss. Storms and natural disasters batter the islands with increasing frequency and intensity. Geographical isolation creates barriers that worsen the impacts of environmental disasters on food security and health. 

In addition, Pacific Island nations face intensified international pressures, targeted disinformation, and challenges to their sovereignty. COVID-19 continues to threaten lives and slow progress across sectors, while the legacy of a nuclear past still affects communities today. 

East-West Center seeks to support Pacific leaders with educational opportunities, professional development, and international networks. EWC’s Pacific Islands Development Program, the only US-based member of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), and Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL), is a bridge to allies, a hub of expertise, and a platform for Pacific voices.

Next Steps

These goals and strategies are only the beginning of the work ahead of East-West Center. Over the coming months, Center staff will shape program plans to more closely align with these goals. Impactful, cross-cutting programs using these strategies will be aligned, synchronized, and resourced over the next five years, and action plans will be formulated to support institutional growth.

Components of the full strategic plan

Program Plans to fulfill the strategic framework: synchronizing multiple functions across the Center to meet goals.

Strategic Finance Plan: optimizing budget processes and funding stream mix (appropriation, fundraising, grants, and service delivery) to support programs.

Capital Improvements Plan: long-term redesign, upgrades, and improvements to EWC facilities in Honolulu and Washington, DC.

Strategic Communications Plan: harmonizing marketing and branding, outreach, and online presence across the Center, integration of voices from the region.

Organization structure and human resources: aligning structures, resources, and performance management with strategic goals.

Organizational culture: instilling institutional values, upholding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Monitoring and evaluation: employing data analytics, integrated systems of learning, and process review to improve effectiveness.

Internal process and policy improvement: codifying management systems, policy, and procedures updates to support strategic priorities.