Happy East-West Center Day, May 14!


East-West Center’s first chief executive, Murray Turnbull, ponders an early model of the Center’s future campus. On May 14, 1960, US President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the act of Congress that established the East-West Center as a place “where scholars and students in various fields from the nations of the East and West may study, give and receive training, (and) exchange ideas and views.”

A full year before that, however, discussions about the creation of the Center were in already full swing in both Washington and Hawai‘i. On April 16, 1959, then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson first publicly suggested the concept of creating an international center in Hawai‘i during a speech at the American Society of Newspaper Editors “as a meeting place for intellectuals of the East and West.” And in June he introduced a preliminary bill aimed at doing just that. Meanwhile in Honolulu, proposals from a University of Hawai‘i faculty committee headed by future EWC chief executive Murray Turnbull led to state legislation supporting the planning and development of the Center. Read more about EWC's orgins here.

Similarly, the East-West Center’s staff and community are already gearing up for the Center’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 2020, with major events including a homecoming international alumni conference and many other special programs. Stay tuned throughout this year for more information and announcements about the big celebration plans!