Asia Pacific Executive Forum
The Asia Pacific Executive Forum (APEF) is a program designed to bring together senior executives, government policymakers and East-West Center experts for intensive dialogue on critical issues facing the region and how they impact economics and business.


2011 Event

Asia Pacific Executive Forum
September 2 - 3, 2011 Charleston, SC
September 27- 28, 2011 Youngstown, OH

In 2011 Seminars collaborated with Education’s Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) in Charleston, SC and Youngstown, OH to carry out programs to inform members of those communities about the upcoming APEC meeting and its significance for Americans.  Utilizing ASDP’s long-standing relationship with Trident College in Charleston and Youngstown State University and aided by a special Congressional allocation related to the APEC meeting, we were able to develop excellent events in each city, with good attendance and active participation from local officials, and the private sector as well as the academic community. Ray Burghardt spoke at both events about US goals for the Honolulu APEC meeting and about the importance of the Asia-Pacific region for American’s future. Seminars also worked with ASDP to select speakers for similar events in Portland, OR and Redlands, CA.

The September 2-3 Charleston event focused on a major issue of local attention:  the widening of the Panama Canal, which should result in a great increase in shipping from Asia coming directly to Charleston and other East Coast ports, displacing much of the current routing, in which Asian exports arrive at West Coast ports and are then sent overland to the East Coast.   Our conference, highlighting the dramatic growth of U.S.-Asia trade and the effect of new and potential trade agreements, fit well with the very local theme of expanding opportunities for the Port of Charleston.  Speakers included David Matsuda, head of the U.S. Maritime Commission, who travelled from Washington for this conference, and the director of the South Carolina Ports Authority.

The September 27-28 Youngstown program included a presentation by Eric Harwit, an EWC adjunct fellow, on the Chinese and Japanese automobile and electronics industries, a topic of great interest in this industrial region which is still home to some large auto factories.  Chris McNally, non-resident fellow at the EWC, spoke on the “Global Emergence of Sino-Capitalism: Rebalancing US-China Economic Relations.”   A very special feature of the Ohio program was the participation by two members of Congress, Tim Ryan (D/OH) from Youngstown and Bill Johnson (R/OH) from an adjoining district.   Ohio’s two senators, Rob Portman (a former US Trade Representative) and Sherrod Brown, also provided special video addresses for the conference.  


2010 Event
Asia Pacific Executive Forum (APEF)
September 29 - 30, 2010
Theme: U.S. – Asia Relations
Loyola University, Chicago, IL and Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL

During two days at the end of September, Ray carried out an APEF program organized by two universities in Illinois.  The idea began with an invitation from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, in the southeastern part of the state, to give the keynote speech at a conference on U.S.-China relations.  Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) wrote to Ray to support the university’s invitation. Working with the university, we shaped this visit into something that satisfied our concept of an APEF program – with press interviews, separate meetings with the business community and the local mayor, a round-table with students from Taiwan (mostly from the nearby Indiana University branch in Terre Haute), and invitations/advertisements to ensure the conference brought in attendees from as wide an area as possible.  Ambassador Charles Salmon, President of the Friends of EWC, a member of the EWC Foundation board, and Senior Advisor from APCSS also attended, at the invitation of the university, as a commentator on Ray’s keynote speech.  Over 100 faculty, students, local business people, and even the official Taiwan representative in Chicago, attended the speech on September 29th.  Amb. Salmon’s participation, answering questions from the floor that were in his areas of expertise, helped greatly to make this a lively session. The university president hosted a dinner with the business community before the speech.  The short program in Chicago was organized by a professor at Loyola University’s business school, who had recently asked Ray to write an article on U.S.-Vietnam normalization for a business-related academic journal. When he learned Ray would be in the state, the professor invited him to visit Loyola in downtown Chicago to speak to faculty and students about current issues in U.S.-Asia relations.  Ray spoke and fielded questions for well over an hour to a well-informed lunch-time group of about 50 on September 28.  All expenses for this program were covered by the two universities and other local organizations in Charleston, Illinois. 


2009 Event
Asia Pacific Executive Forum


In September, Director Ray Burghardt carried out a one-man APEF program in Rochester, New York. He spoke on the evening of September 15th to a Rochester Committee on Foreign Relations audience of about eighty on “U.S. – China Relations: Competition and Cooperation.”  Earlier that morning, Ray spoke on “Asia and the Economic Crisis” to about thirty local business leaders (Xerox, Kodak, Bausch and Lomb, Hickey Freeman etc.) at a breakfast discussion organized by the companies themselves. Ray fielded numerous excellent questions about doing business in Asia and likely future trends. Later that afternoon, Ray was interviewed by the local NPR station for two separate programs they planned to run, one on how the economic crisis is affecting Asia and another on U.S.-Vietnam relations.