East-West Center Oral History Project: Allen Clark

Allen Clark

Allen Clark is currently a Senior Fellow in the EWC’s Politics, Governance, and Security study area. An Iowa farmboy, Allen became a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1960s, working on oil, gas, and mineral research and development. He founded its Office of Resource Analysis, and served as senior staff coordinator for resource programs in its Office of International Geology. Clark has worked in all but 11 countries of the world. In 1981 he founded the International Institute for Resource Development (IIRD), providing technical resource assistance to 15 developing nations. Clark joined the Minerals Group of EWC's Resource Systems Institute (RSI) in 1985 under director Harrison Brown and later served as  its Assistant Director under director Seiji Naya. From 2002-2006, Clark served as Executive Director/Principal Investigator of the EWC-managed Pacific Disaster Center. He currently works on issues related to urbanization, resources, and poverty and frequently graces the podium as Master of Ceremonies at EWC's annual dinner, "An International Affair. "  In his interview Allen shares his theory of EWC as an evolving organism, changing its programs as needs change in the countries it serves.   

Read Clark's interview narrative (pdf)


  • Personal Background
  • Life Before EWC - Austria to EWC
  • Life at EWC - Resource Systems Institute (RSI), Early to Mid-1980s - Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) - Best Memories / Downsides
  • Institutional Transitions - Evolution of Institutes - Ongoing Evolution / Focus of Research - Environmental Issues / Future Issues - Victor Li’s Presidency - Charles Morrison’s Presidency - Opportunities for Multidisciplinary Work - Secretary Extraordinare, Lil Shimoda / Merit Pay
  • EWC’s Impact - Outreach to Students and Community


Interview Quotes

"We were amongst the first people to actually be able to go into China and work on resource issues at a time when few westerners had been able to work there for decades.   That was an unprecedented opportunity to see a country that was just emerging and there were all kinds of problems, all kinds of potential. "


"I think the other thing that is particularly -- at least in my mind -- outstanding goes back to the association with people and in particular the students and the student programs here.  I had the opportunity to work with a lot of the students.  I mean, actually work on projects and that’s been particularly rewarding at least from my perspective.  One would hope that they got something out of it as well.  I always had a rule that anybody who worked with me on a project always got one publication at least.  That’s another highlight of the time here."


These narratives, which reflect interviewees’ personal perceptions, opinions and memories, may contain errors of fact. They do not reflect positions or versions of history officially approved by the East-West Center.