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EWC Board Elects Puongpun Sananikone as New Chairman

International development economist and business executive
is an alumnus and longtime supporter of the Center

HONOLULU (July 11, 2008) – Members of the East-West Center’s Board of Governors have elected international development economist Puongpun Sananikone to serve as the board’s new chairman. At a meeting today, the board named Sananikone to succeed Roland Lagareta, who became the board’s vice-chairman.

In addition, the board reappointed member Il SaKong, a former South Korea minister of finance and currently a leading economic advisor to President Lee Myung-bak, to a third term on the board. SaKong’s new term will extend until October 2011.

Originally from Laos, new board Chairman Sananikone was an East-West Center participant as an economics student in the mid-1960s, soon after the Center was established, and he credits the Center’s cross-cultural environment with shaping both his personal life and his career as an international development economist and business executive who has worked on every continent.

“Becoming an East-West Center grantee forever altered the course of my life,” Sananikone said. “Not only did I meet and marry my wife Thanhlo at the Center, but I also began building the basis of a life and career that have been inextricably intertwined with the educational and cross-cultural learning opportunities I had while I was there.”

Sananikone is the first East-West Center alumnus to be elected chairman.  Larry Foster, president of the Center’s alumni association, said that the alumni “are of course delighted and proud at having our first fellow alumnus to serve as chairman of the Board of Governors, but we also know that Puongpun was selected on the basis of the many other strengths he brings to the position.” Among those strengths, Foster said, is Sananikone’s “extraordinary network of contacts throughout the region, which we expect will bring great benefit to the Center.”