APLP Staff


Ms. Gretchen Alther (Senior Leadership Development Specialist) is an international educator and development professional with 15 years of experience helping diverse communities identify and implement critical actions to address crises, enhance resilience, and impact future scenarios. She co-directs the East-West Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) and also develops and manages programs for emerging and established female-community leaders from the Pacific Islands. Ms. Alther is a member of Human Rights Education Associates, for which she designs and develops e-learning courses for senior international humanitarian and development professionals. As an occasional consultant with the EarthWatch Institute, she facilitates sustainability leadership program around the world for corporate managers and executives. Prior to joining East-West Center, Ms. Alther designed and managed programs to support disaster relief, conflict zone aid, and resilience in marginalized communities in the US, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, Gaza, Colombia, Haiti, and beyond. She earned an M.A. in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, a postgraduate certificate from the East-West Center (APLP G12), and a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Natural Resources Management from Texas A&M University. Ms. Alther is intrigued by the processes of problem solving and critical decision making. She does her best thinking during long-distance runs.

Dr. Nicholas Barker, Ph.D., (Senior Leadership Education Specialist) teaches the APLP's Leadership Seminar and coordinates the East-West Center Leadership Certificate.  Dr. Barker’s leadership research interests include: indigenous models of leadership in the Asia-Pacific; diversity training; negotiation and conflict resolution; visioning, strategic planning, and coaching; transformational leadership; gender and leadership; effective communication; team building and group dynamics; power, influence and ethics; and facilitation and collaborative leadership. Trained as a cultural anthropologist at Cambridge University, England, his anthropological research examines the global and historical phenomenon of religious mortification, with particular focus on contemporary religious revivals in South and Southeast Asia, and the history of ideas about pain and the human body. Recent publications include articles in the Modern Encyclopedia of Asia; the Encyclopedia of Southeast Asian History; and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. Recent projects include the BBC/Discovery television documentary, Beyond Endurance. Dr. Barker is an affiliate graduate faculty member in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in the Philippines and was formerly on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at St. Andrews University, Scotland, as well as a Visiting Fellow at Nagoya University, Japan, and the University of the Philippines (Diliman).

Mr. Lance C. Boyd (Senior Experiential Leadership Education Specialist) specializes in experiential learning through prototyping and open innovation strategies for young and mid-career aspiring leaders. Lance is the co-founder of the East-West Center’s first Institute for Natural Resource Managers and first Impact Incubator for alumni to engage in experiential leadership learning. Notable initiatives developed in his classes have earned thousands of dollars in funding and include the ASEAN Peace Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurs, Middle East Environment Leadership Program, Chili Padi Academy Accelerator, and ASEAN Food Rescue, and BEYOND Disaster.  Prior to his current role, Lance spent a decade teaching youth and training teachers in STEM education with the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) and in public and independent schools. He earned a M.A. from the International School for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and an M.A. in Education Foundations from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has been awarded multiple fellowships including a Fulbright Memorial Fund Fellowship in Japan, Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Fellowship in Singapore, a Goethe Institute funded study of the environmental movement in Germany, and an Earthwatch research fellowship to study bats in Malaysia.

Mr. Nathan Lancaster (Senior Program Officer) has 15 years’ experience facilitating programs and outreach in the fields of public affairs and higher education. As part of the East-West Center’s Professional Development Program, he coordinates logistics and manages awards for participants of the Center’s Leadership Program. He has extensive experience with the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in East Asia, and has lived, studied and worked in China, Japan and Korea.  Nathan was previously Assistant Director for Academic Programming at the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University, served in the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, and worked as a marketing consultant for the Korea Tourism Organization, South Korea’s national tourism body. Nathan speaks Korean and Japanese, has BAs in Asian Studies and Japanese from the University of Utah and completed the coursework for an MA in East Asian Film from the Korea National University of Arts.

Ms. Christina Monroe (Leadership Program Senior Manager) is an international leadership educator, curriculum designer and program manager with 15 years’ experience working with professionals and students from 50+ countries. She has won over $5 million in grants from the U.S. State Department, Corporation for National Service, and National Education Association to develop international and experiential programs for several institutions. She currently directs the Institutes on Environment for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) launched by President Barack Obama. Since 2009 she has led fourteen Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for 300 emerging leaders from Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Brazil and Russia with funding from the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She previously co-directed the Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program and since 2005 has served various roles for the program including U.S. Field Study Director and Professional Development Instructor. During her time as Chair of the Sustainability Task Force, she led the East-West Center’s successful bid to be the first green-certified educational institution in the state. She is certified in ISO sustainability reporting by the Global Reporting Initiative and was featured in Hawaii Green Magazine’s Six People You Need to Know. Christina is certified by Georgetown University as an Organizational Consultant and uses this knowledge to design curriculum and teach on organizational development and change leadership. Her past research in the U.S. and Europe focused on cognitive development during international exchange experiences and on ethnic and gender self-identification in foreign settings. Her current work focuses on personal prototyping and foresight in the Anthropocene.

Ms. Cheryl Tokita (Program Assistant) assists the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) with the administration and logistical side of program-related activities. In addition, she aids the Leadership Program with website maintenance, data visualization, and designing and updating marketing and program materials.  Prior to joining the Leadership Program, Ms. Tokita served as Project Assistant with the East-West Center’s Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP) and Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) and was an Education Program student assistant. She earned a dual-focus history and East Asian Language & Literature (EALL) B.A. in Asian Studies with a minor in Korean (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.  Ms. Tokita’s Masters research was split between two elements of Korean popular culture: the penetration of Korean pop culture into the domestic-oriented Japanese music market, and the effectiveness of Korean national branding through the creation and longevity of soft power resources.