East-West Center Oral History Project: Terry Bigalke

Terry Bigalke

Terry Bigalke directs the Education Program which oversees graduate degree and certificate scholarship programs, professional development programs, and higher education policy research. His interview explores his childhood in Wisconsin, his early international experiences, his memorable 2 years at EWC as a grantee and newly-wed, and his travels in Indonesia, especially the Tana Toraja region in South Sulawesi. Terry was a program officer in Jakarta for the Ford Foundation where he worked with Ann Dunham Soetoro. He gained immeasurable experience as assistant director of the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA) based at Ohio State University.  From 1989-2001 Terry was the director of World Affairs, at Beloit College (Wisconsin), which oversaw the college's international programs. He also served as an adjunct member of the Beloit faculty, teaching regional history of Southeast Asia and modern Indonesia.  He believes East-West Center is “... a facilitator, we’re a broker, we help create the pathways, the nexuses, and then stay in touch with people.” (Bigalke's work and that of the Education Program is detailed in the chapter  "Educating the Educators" in The East-West Center Legacy .


Read Bigalke's interview narrative (pdf)


  • Personal Background
  • Life Before EWC - Visiting the Center
  • Life at EWC - The Early ‘70s - Impact of Vietnam War -  Early Years / Hale Manoa - Jefferson Hall
  • Life After EWC -  Field Research in Malaysia, Indonesia - Teaching in Chicago - Ford Foundation in Jakarta - Ann Soetoro - Returning to U.S. / MUCIA - Beloit College World Affairs Center
  • Return to EWC - Dean of Education Program -  Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) -  The APLP Student -  Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program (IFP) - New Funding Sources -  New Education Initiatives
  • Intellectual Innovations - Engaging with ASEAN - Education 2020 - New Directions for Education Program - Education Program’s Mission
  • Best Memories - Ohana Nui / Hale Manoa
  • EWC’s Impact - On Today’s Students - Personal Legacy / EWC’s Future


Interview Quotes
"That's what I see is the mission of the Education Program, is really working to identify good partners, and then working to identify the ways that we can be most helpful in helping those partners to succeed in making themselves better institutions, more regionally-conscious, and reflecting the kinds of sensitivities that we do as a Center."

“What I did appreciate at that time was the openness of Jefferson Hall and that entryway was an important meeting place for us.  So we would sit there, we would read newspapers.  It was very welcoming.  We would check our mail there.  We would go and sit there and meet people. There was a piano. And in the evening, there would be things like a film series… I remember Joe Hurley putting together an international film series. Joe would introduce these films, providing the background to them and then we would see these really fabulous examples of film from different countries around the world.” 

“I think the education mission is to evolve fast enough that we remain an asset to the region and to the U.S.  So, that means being aware of, institutionally, what's going on in U.S. higher-education, what's going on in the Asia Pacific region since that’s such a critical area of focus for us, and enabling our programs to evolve in a way that is responsive to what we see are the emerging needs in the region, which are very different now than they were 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.”


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.