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Distinguished Leader Lecture Series

Governor George Ariyoshi
First American of Japanese Ancestry to be Elected Governor of a State

Ariyoshi started his illustrious political career in 1973 by succeeding Governor John A. Burns as the Governor of Hawaii and served the remainder of the term as Acting Governor. In 1974 he was elected Governor and re-elected for two consecutive terms in 1978 and 1982. The Governor continued his leadership service by chairing the Western Governors' Conference in 1978 and served as first chair of the newly established Western Governors' Association in 1984 and 1985. In addition, he rose to be an influential figure in the Asia-Pacific by presiding as President of the Pacific Basin Development Council and acting member of the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference.

After graduating from the University of Michigan law school, Governor Ariyoshi was a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates in 1969, and served as President of the Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii Bar Foundation, and the Military Intelligence Service Veterans Club.

In the corporate world, Governor Ariyoshi took leadership positions as Director of First Hawaiian Bank, Honolulu Gas Company, and Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty Company. Later in his career, he joined the law firm Ing & Kawashima, specializing in international, Hawaii and U.S. business consulting. Governor Ariyoshi is former President of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center.

Judge David Ezra
Youngest Federal Judge in Hawaii History

Chief Judge Ezra graduated number one in his class from St. Mary's University Law School before entering military service. After returning to Hawaii and finishing his active duty he became associated with the law firm of Anthony, Hoddick, Reinwald &
O'Connor. In 1976, he became a partner for the same firm concentrating his
practice in the field of construction litigation until 1980 when he established his own firm, Ezra, O'Connor, Moon & Tam.

In 1988 Chief Judge Ezra was appointed to the United States District Court for
the District of Hawaii, becoming the youngest federal judge in
Hawaii history. He has since handled complex litigation matters in Hawaii and many districts throughout the country.

Chief Judge Ezra has been active in numerous organizations and held prominent positions including Adjunct Professor of law at the Judicial Conference, a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Administration of the Bankruptcy System, a member of the Court-Council Committee on Bankruptcy Appointments, acting member on the Board of Trustees at St. Louis High School, a member of the Evaluation Committee of the Ninth Circuit, a past member of the Pacific Islands Committee of the Ninth Circuit, member of the Board of Directors of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, and past President of the Ninth Circuit U.S. District Judges Association, the first federal judge from Hawaii ever to serve in that capacity.

Continuing his service for the United States Judicial Court, Chief Judge Ezra was recently elected by the judges of the Ninth Circuit to a three-year term as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which governs the operations of the Federal Judiciary. Judge Ezra is the first judge from Hawaii to be elected a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Robert Lees
Business Leader in Asia Pacific and Former President of PBEC

Mr. Lees is Executive Adviser and Director of Key Accounts, Asia and the Pacific, with BearingPoint, Inc. In this capacity he works closely with some of the firms most important private sector clients assisting them in maximizing their growth and profitability potential and with key government clients, to maximize service and efficiency in carrying out their missions. BearingPoint is a leading global business adviser and technology/systems integrator. Listed on the NYSE last year, it employs over 16,000 people, serves over 2,000 clients, and has annual revenues in excess of US$3 billion.

Prior to joining BearingPoint, Lees was Secretary General/ President of the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC) a multinational business organization of senior business executives. Under his leadership, PBEC firmly established itself as the voice of business in the Pacific. Lees developed close ties with national governments and international organizations such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), The World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to advance policy issues, dealing with capacity building, the expansion of e-commerce, trade and investment liberalization, intellectual property rights protection, and foreign direct investment.

Prior to joining PBEC, Lees built international operations for Security Pacific Corp. and Corning, Inc. as part of their senior management teams. A frequent lecturer on Asia-Pacific topics, Lees is often quoted in the international media, including the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC and Japan's NHK. He earned his master's degree in international management from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management; he also holds a Certificate of Management Studies from the Institute for International Studies and Training of Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). He is a summa cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Cincinnati.

Major General Eric Olson
Military Leader

Major General Eric T. Olson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1972. In 1979, he graduated from The John Hopkins School of Advanced International Affairs with subsequent assignment to The United States Military Academy as an instructor and assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences. Major General Olson commanded the 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry (Mechanized) of the 197th Separate Infantry Brigade and served as the Task Force Commander during Operation Desert Storm. He is currently serving in Afghanistan as Commanding General for the US-led Combined Joint Task Force.

Staff assignments include the Executive Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander-Europe in the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. He served as the Battalion Executive Officer of the 5th Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Mainz, Germany and later served as the S3 of the 1st Brigade, 8th Infantry Division. Most recently, Major General Olson served as the 67th Commandant of Cadets of the United States Corps of Cadets.

Major General Olson's military education includes Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and a Senior Service College Fellowship at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. During that fellowship, he was assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division and served a tour in Somalia. He earned a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from John Hopkins University.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters and V Device) and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge and has earned the Expert Infantryman's Badge, the Ranger Tab and the Parachutist Badge.

Charles Salmon
Foreign Policy Advisor, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
Former United States Ambassador, Ret.

Ambassador Charles B. Salmon, Jr., joined the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in August 1996, after he retired from the Department of State. He serves as Foreign Policy Advisor and Distinguished Professor.

Ambassador Salmon was Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, from August 1993 to 1996. His prior assignment was in Vientiane, Laos, where he was the American Ambassador. He also was Director, Office of Philippine Affairs and Director, Office of Thailand and Burma Affairs in Washington D.C. and Deputy Chief of Mission in Rangoon, Burma and Wellington, New Zealand. He has also served in Austria, the Netherlands and Vietnam.

Ambassador Salmon received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Fordham University and a Master of Arts in History from Columbia University. He is a graduate of the National War College, Washington D.C. He served two years as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. His awards and decorations include the Presidential Award for Meritorious Service, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, and the Department of State Superior Honor Award.

Pamela Spratlen
Diplomat-in-Residence at the East West Center
Former Consul General in Vladivostok, Russia

Pamela Spratlen is the current diplomat-in-residence at the East West Center. She is working on a variety of projects, including a review of the impact of Northeast Asian economic dynamism on Russian Far East economic development.

Ms. Spratlen joined the State Department as an economic officer in 1990 and recently completed a tour as Consul General in Vladivostok, Russia. In her 15-year diplomatic career, Pamela has contributed to the implementation of U.S. foreign policy on matters as diverse as trade, telecommunications and U.S. technical assistance in assignments that have covered bilateral, multilateral and regional issues.

In 1998, Ms. Spratlen joined the Executive Secretariat of the State Department as part of the planning team for Secretary Madeleine Albright’s official travel. In January 1999, she traveled to Moscow to help the embassy prepare for Secretary Albright’s visit during which the U.S. and the Russian Federation discussed differences over the handling of the situation in Kosovo.

Current U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow selected Ms. Spratlen for the post of Consul General in Vladivostok, Russia, one of the largest U.S. consular districts by geographic area. From 2002-2004, Pamela won praise for enhancing the consulate’s analytical reporting and efforts to expand civil society linkages between the Russian Far East, countries of East Asia (particularly Japan and S. Korea) and the U.S. West Coast.

During her Russia tenure, Ms. Spratlen regularly addressed the public and regional officials in Russian. She also speaks Spanish and French. She has won numerous awards. Prior to joining the State Department, Pamela served from 1981 to 1989 as senior consultant to the budget committee of the California Legislature’s lower house. In that capacity she advised representatives responsible for oversight of the state’s complex $3 billion higher education budget.

Ms. Spratlen was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Washington State and California. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from U.C. Berkeley.

Nainoa Thompson
Community Leader, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Chief Navigator of the Hokulea

One of Hawaii’s modern day heroes, Mr. Thompson is a world-class navigator and proponent of Hawaiian culture. He developed his own system of wayfinding, or non-instrument navigation, by synthesizing ancient navigation principles with modern scientific knowledge. In 1980, he became the first Hawaiian in almost seven centuries to practice the art of wayfinding when he successfully navigated the Hokulea to Tahiti and back. Since then, Mr. Thompson has helped inspire and lead a revival of traditional culture associated with canoe-building and ocean voyaging throughout the Pacific. Covering over 90,000 nautical miles, he has also navigated the Hokulea to the farthest corners of the Polynesian Triangle, from Hawaii to New Zealand (Autearoa) and to Easter Island (Rapa Nui).

Aside from his election as President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Mr. Thompson has continued his interest in education by serving on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and as a special advisor on Native Hawaiian affairs. He is currently Chair of the Trustees of the Kamehameha Schools and Director of the Ocean Learning Academy, which strives to provide students with alternative methods of learning outside of the classroom. For his work with Native Hawaiians, the environment and many charitable organizations, Nainoa has received many honors, including being named an Unsung Hero of Compassion by the Dalai Lama.