Butch Montes

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East-West Center Oral History Project: Butch Montes
Butch MontesManuel "Butch" Montes was born, raised and educated in the Philippines.  After obtaining his Ph.D in Economics from Stanford University, he returned to teach at the University of the Philippines.  In 1989, at the invitation of Resource Systems Institute director Seiji Naya, he joined the Center as its only macroeconomist.  His most satisfying work over the next ten years includes macroeconomic modeling of bilateral trade linkages between ASEAN countries as part of the United Nation’s Project Link and collaborative work with China’s Development Research Center on economic reform policies in China.  He fondly remembers the "very supportive" support staff and gratifying work with Center students on their dissertations and Center projects.  Swimming at the UH pool and boogie boarding in Waimanalo also rank high among his best memories.  In 1999 Montes joined the Ford Foundation in New York as a program officer hired to implement programming to support vulnerable populations adversely affected by globalization.  After 5 ½  years with the Ford Foundation, Montes had a brief but fascinating stint at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Colombo.  In 2006, family ties drew him back to the U.S. East coast where he is now Chief of Development Strategy and Policy Analysis in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 

Read Montes' interview narrative (pdf)

  • Personal Background
  • Life at EWC - Arrival, 1989 - Best Memories - Seiji Naya - Working with EWC Students - Water Sports
  • Intellectual Innovations - Research on ASEAN - Project Link - China Projects
  • Institutional Transitions - Morrison Presidency
  • Life After EWC - Joining Ford Foundation - Ford Foundation--‘Humanizing Globalization’ - Joining UNDP - Life in Sri Lanka - Work for UN Secretary General
  • EWC’s Impact - On Career, Perspectives - Influence on Center/Programs - Book on ‘Capital Surges’
  • EWC Mission
  • Personal Legacy

Interview Quotes
“One of the things that we set up was a macro model that connected the different macroeconomic models of the ASEAN countries with each other.  We used trade linkages to connect their imports and exports.  For the first time, we tried to have a linked model within the ASEAN region.  We could then simulate what would happen in one country, and its impact on other countries.  It was a lot of work, but eventually we got it going.”

“It has a long-time impact on my career because when I was at the East-West Center, I was given the chance to interact with government officials beyond my country.  I was able to interact with policymakers in Asia and this is because of the kind of institute that Seiji Naya used to run.  He was not interested only in academics, he was also interested in actual policymaking, and I got comfortable with that.  It served me very well.”

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.