East-West Center Welcomes New President


Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke is an EWC alumnus who has run American Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong and Taipei

HONOLULU (Jan. 5, 2017) – The East-West Center has welcomed its new President, Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke, a former EWC grantee and staff member who rejoins the Center after several decades living in Asia and serving most recently as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Dr. Vuylsteke (pronounced VUL-stek) took office as the Center’s 11th chief executive on January 1, succeeding Dr. Charles E. Morrison, who had served as the international education, research and exchange institution’s President for the past 18 years and will remain affiliated with the Center as a Distinguished Senior Fellow.

“I am delighted to return to the East-West Center, which gave me so many opportunities to work and study in an extraordinarily welcoming and nurturing international environment,” Vuylsteke said. “My years in Hawai’i have served me well throughout my career in the Asia Pacific region. I’m honored to have this chance to be a part of the East-West Center staff and participants as we continue implementing the admirable mission of this institution.”

Originally from Illinois, Dr. Vuylsteke was an East-West Center scholarship recipient in the 1970s while he earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, specializing in Western and Chinese political philosophy. While still a graduate student he joined the Center’s staff as a research assistant to the Director of the Culture Learning Institute, and later worked as a special assistant to the EWC President with focus on Pacific Community topics. After relocating to Taiwan in the 1980s, he served as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, Editor-in-Chief of the Taiwan Review, and Area Studies Coordinator for the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute in Taipei.

Prior to attending graduate school, he served three years in the U.S. Army, leaving active duty as a 1st Lieutenant. While in the service, he was stationed in Hawai‘i at the U.S. Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) as Chief of the China Desk and later seconded to CINCPAC (now PACOM) as Chief of the Soviet Far East Desk.

Dr. Vuylsteke is married to Josephine Wu Vuylsteke, a former broadcast journalist; they have three sons.