EWC to Honor Distinguished Alumni at International Conference in Seoul

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HONOLULU (May 25, 2018) – The East-West Center has announced the names of EWC alumni, volunteers and alumni chapters that will be honored at the Center’s upcoming international alumni conference in Seoul, South Korea August 23-25. The honorees are being recognized for their outstanding personal accomplishments and service toward the Center’s mission of helping to promote better relations and understanding among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and the United States.

Distinguished Alumni Award 
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments, including significant contributions to the promotion of better relations and understanding among the countries of East and West through activities of cultural and technical interchange; significant achievement in one’s career; and continuing support of the goals of the Center. The award was established and endowed by Dr. Dai Ho Chun, former Director of the East-West Center’s Institute for Technical Interchange.

Recipients:

Dr. Alex B. Brillantes, Jr., who obtained his MA and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i as an East-West Center scholar in the 1980s, is a professor at the National College of Public Administration and Governance at the University of the Philippines, where he also served as dean for two terms from 2002 to 2008. He is president of the Philippine Society for Public Administration, in addition to serving on many other boards and commissions, including as chair-designate of the boards of regents of 21 state universities and colleges in the Philippines.

Dr. Woo-Taik Chung, who was an EWC Population Institute grantee from 1984-’87, is an incumbent four-term lawmaker in South Korea and a leader of the Liberal Korea Party. He has also been minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and governor of Chungbuk-do Province, and is currently chairman of the legislature’s National Policy Committee. His outstanding activities are reflected in the numerous awards he has received.

 

EWCA Outstanding Volunteer Awards 
This award recognizes outstanding alumni volunteers who have provided significant contributions to the programs and activities of the East-West Center Association. The awardees lead by example, demonstrating the qualities that bring out the best in others.

Recipients:

Mrs. Vasanthi Ranganathan, an active alumna since 1991, has taken a leading role in organizing a wide variety of activities for the East-West Center Association alumni chapter in Chennai, India. Currently the Resources Head of the Lake View Learning and Development Center, she has applied her EWC learning through her involvement with India-US educational exchanges and Rotary, and as a professional management consultant.

Dr. Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen, a professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma, served as leader of the Asian Studies Development Program alumni chapter from 2011-2016, including organizing two ASDP national conferences during her term of office. As past president, she co-chaired this year’s conference in Washington, DC. Since July 2015 she has served as Vice-President for Chapter Development on the EWC Association Executive Board.

 

EWCA 21st Century Outstanding Service Award 
This award recognizes East-West Center participants who became involved in an EWC program after 2000 and who have provided outstanding community service through activities that strengthen intercultural understanding, economic and social empowerment, and civic engagement.

Recipients:

Dr. Prerna Mona Khanna: An alumna of two East-West Center media programs on health and disaster management reporting, “Dr. Mona” is a triple-board-certified physician and Emmy-Award-winning multi-platform journalist. For nearly 20 years, she has volunteered her skills as a physician to provide emergency medical relief in 16 countries, including a three-month assignment as the head of occupational health and safety for Liberia during the Ebola crisis there in 2015.

Mr. Siva Gopal Thaiyalan, a 2015-‘16 participant in EWC’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program, has been involved in numerous youth sports and educational services in Singapore and led several international service learning expeditions. As part of his APLP fellowship, he developed an experiential curriculum designed to help teachers and youth counselors nurture critical and active global citizens.

 

Outstanding Chapter Awards
This award recognizes outstanding East-West Center Association chapters that have provided significant contributions to the goals and programs of the EWCA, including fostering an active and committed membership, and promoting activities which broaden the outreach of the Center into local communities.

Recipients:

Dhaka, Bangladesh Chapter Being the sole chapter in Bangladesh, the Dhaka Chapter has initiated visit programs to other cities within Bangladesh to encourage EWC alumni outside of Dhaka to attend chapter meetings and participate in chapter activities. The Bangladesh Chapter has been exploring ways to support a social and community development organization centered around a rural school popularly known as Zinda Park. The Chapter also wants to organize visit programs to neighboring countries like India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar in collaboration with the local chapters there.

Manila, Philippines Chapter After hosting the EWC/EWCA International Conference in 2016, the Manila chapter has followed up with a range of recent activities, including a regional academic and business conference held in Ilocos Norte Province on continuing business and investment opportunities with the US. Titled “The FilAm Ties That Bind: Business and Investment Opportunities Amidst the Changing Climate,” the conference was supported by the provincial government, Mariano Marcos State University and the US Embassy.

The awardees will be honored at the East-West Center/EWC Association’s major biennial international conference, which will be held Aug. 23-25 in Seoul, South Korea. Several hundred international scholars, officials, educators and business leaders are expected to attend the conference on “Intercultural Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Community.”

The conference is jointly presented by the East-West Center, an internationally recognized education and research institution headquartered in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, the East-West Center Association, the organization that represents the Center’s more than 65,000 alumni throughout Asia, the Pacific and the US, and the EWCA Seoul Chapter.

For more information or to register online, visit: EastWestCenter.org/seoul2018  or call: +1 808-944-7506.