“My experiences at the East-West Center made me realize that however diverse we are, there are so many things that we all have in common and that we must work together to solve.”
Student Affiliate, Indonesia

The EWC’s unique approach to preparing students for leadership roles throughout the region is its focus on community building at the campus level as a stepping-stone to community building at the regional level.

Together students participate in intellectual, social, cultural, and professional development activities to enhance their understanding and problem solving across disciplinary and national boundaries. As they do, they learn about the Asia-Pacific region and develop skills that will enable them to make a difference in their home communities and beyond.

Distinctive features of the EWC student experience

A diverse and active community.

A young man from Nepal stands with the arches of Jefferson Hall behind him.
Humans of the East-West Center, featuring profiles of current and past EWC community members, is one of many student-led projects at the Center.

Students from across the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S.  live together in two residence halls on the 21-acre East-West Center campus, adjacent to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Along with living, cooking, and sharing meals together, collaboration on the following activities helps develop lifelong relationships and a powerful sense of community: 

“Making friends with people from around the world helped me learn not just about others and their perspectives, but also about myself.”
—Graduate Degree Fellow, Hawaiʻi/Japan


A stimulating environment for academic collaborations and connections. 

Students pursue a range of academic and professional disciplines at UH.  The Center provides additional opportunities for intellectual growth.

A woman responds to questions at the International Graduate Student Conference.
Perspectives are wide ranging at the annual International Graduate Student Conference.
  • The Exchange presents acclaimed guests, dynamic activities, and exciting performances that connect students to the issues and leading thinkers of the day.
  • International Graduate Student Conference showcases graduate research with an Asia Pacific focus by students from around the world.
  • Conference and field research grants are awarded competitively to support student travel for academic purposes.

“I will always appreciate the wonderfully interesting conversations about all types of issues I've had with the very thoughtful and fiery participants of the EWC.
—Student Affiliate, United States


Student-initiated and student-led activities.

These activities provide opportunities to innovate, be part of a team, and learn effective leadership. They include:

A woman accepts poi from its maker at a kalo (taro) farm on O'ahu.
Planning activities in the community, such as this visit to a kalo (taro) farm,  is a job for the EWCPA and interns.
  • Internships organizing and producing The Exchange, leading the International Graduate Student Conference, producing Humans of East-West Center, and engaging with the research and education projects of the East-West Center. 
  • EWC Participants Association Board service is by election, and Board members play a leadership role in organizing student activities and events and represent students with East-West Center leadership and affiliated organizations. 

“Professional development opportunities like the IGSC and the EWCPA Board, have served as valuable platforms for putting my ideas in practice.”
—Graduate Degree Fellow, United States


Personal and professional connections.

A professional woman and mentor with her EWC student "mentee."
A student with her mentor, an EWC alumna and prominent Honolulu businesswoman, at a gathering for program participants.

These enrich the Hawaiʻi experience and build professional skills and networks.

“The experience helped me feel confident as part of the global community and allowed me to network with people from all over the world.
—Student Affiliate, Indonesia