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Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies

About Asia Experts Forum and International Journalism Lab

Thanks to a generous gift from Robert Y.C. Ho ’81, the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College launched an International Journalism Lab in the fall of 2015. The Asia Experts Forum is the web publication of the lab. The mission of this innovative project is to train student journalists in basic reporting and interviewing skills and provide a better understanding of important contemporary Asia-related geopolitical, economic, and cultural issues in depth through interviews with leading experts, practitioners, and scholars on Asia. Each year the lab recruits eight student journalists who take a course in international journalism and work with two faculty advisers in identifying newsworthy topics and potential interviewees, preparing for the interviews, and producing high-quality transcripts. The faculty director of the lab is Professor Minxin Pei. The associate faculty director is Professor Hilary Appel. The instructor of the international journalism course is Terril Jones, a graduate of Pomona College with more than three decades of professional experience with leading U.S. news organizations. Two previous student journalists participating in the lab later interned at the Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong in the summer of 2016.

Gary Gereffi on protectionism and its impact on global value chains

Headshot of Dr. GereffiGary Gereffi is Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Center on Globalization, Governance, & Competitiveness at Duke University ( He received his B.A. degree from the University of Notre Dame and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. Gereffi has published numerous books and articles on globalization, industrial upgrading, and social and economic development, and he is one of the originators of the global commodity chain and global value chain frameworks. His most recent books include: Brazilian Industry in Global Value Chains (Portuguese and English) (Elsevier, 2014); Shifting End Markets and Upgrading Prospects in Global Value Chains (special issue of International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2011); Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Development Perspective (The World Bank, 2010); and The New Offshoring of Jobs and Global Development (International Institute of Labor Studies, 2006). 

His major ongoing research projects are: (1) a book on the uptake of the global value chain paradigm by major international organizations in the economic and social development arena; (2) work with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank on export competitiveness, workforce development, and regional value chains, with an emphasis on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa; (3) member of the Global Agenda Council on “The Future of Manufacturing” (World Economic Forum), which will initiate a “Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit” co-sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in March 2017; and (4) “A Global Value Chain Analysis of Food Security and Food Staples in the Energy-Exporting Countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region,” funded by the Minerva Initiative (U.S. Dept. of Defense) (2012-2016). On April 5, 2017, he spoke with Yujia Yao CMC '19.

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Gereffi and Duke University.

Devesh Kapur on demystifying India’s demonetization

Photograph of Dr. Kapur​Devesh Kapur is the Director of the Center for the Advanced Study at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Professor of Political Science at Penn, and holds the Madan Lal Sobti Chair for the Study of Contemporary India. Dr. Kapur has also served as the Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Frederick Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard. His research focuses on human capital, national and international public institutions, and the ways in which local-global linkages, especially international migration and international institutions, affect political and economic change in developing countries, especially India.

Devesh Kapur is the author of Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India, published by Princeton University Press in 2010, Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs (co-authored with D. Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad), published in 2014 by Random House India, and The Other One Percent: Indians in America (co-authored with Sanjoy Chakravorty and Nirvikar Singh), published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. His latest edited works are Navigating the Labyrinth: Perspectives on India’s Higher Education (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta), published in 2017 by Orient BlackSwan, and Rethinking Public Institutions in India (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Milan Vaishnav), forthcoming in May 2017 by Oxford University Press.

In 2012, he received the ENMISA (Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of International Studies Association) Distinguished Book Award for Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India. 

Dr. Kapur is the 2005 recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Teaching Prize awarded to the best junior faculty, at Harvard College. He is a monthly contributor to the Business Standard. Professor Kapur holds a B. Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University; an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; and a Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. 

Devesh Kapur was interviewed by Aleena Ali CMC '17 on February 12, 2017. Photo and bio courtesy of Dr. Kapur.

Joel Wit on the North Korean nuclear threat

Photograph of Joel WitJoel S. Wit is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS and a Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies. He has served as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Robert L. Galluci from 1993-1995, where he developed strategies to help resolve the crisis over North Korea’s weapons program, and as Coordinator for the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework from 1995-1999, where he was the official in charge of implementation. He was also a key participant in the establishment of the Korean Peninsular Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Prior to his efforts on the Agreed Framework, Wit was assigned to the State Department’s Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy, where he was responsible for U.S. policy on a range of issues related to nuclear arms control and weapons proliferation. In that capacity from 1988 to 1992, Wit helped negotiate strategic arms control agreements with the former Soviet Union and participated in the Nunn-Lugar program to dismantle its nuclear weapons. He was also a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institute from 1999-2001. In addition, he has published numerous articles on Northeast Asian security issues. He has also written numerous articles on North Korea and nonproliferation and is the coauthor of the book Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis (Brookings Institution Press, 2004). He received his M.I.A. from Columbia University in 1979 and his B.A. from Bucknell University in 1976. On March 2, 2017, he spoke with Michael Grouskay CMC '17.

Bio source: "WEAI - Weatherhead East Asian Institute." WEAI Weatherhead East Asian Institute. WEAI - Columbia University. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Wit.

There appears to be some uncertainty as to whether North Korea has the ability to conduct a nuclear attack against the U.S. mainland. Is North Korea capable of launching a nuclear attack against the United States? Does North Korea have second strike capability?

Karl Eikenberry on a "good enough" strategy for Afghanistan

Photograph of Dr. EikenberryKarl Eikenberry is the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow and Director of the U.S-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center. He is a Stanford University Professor of Practice, and an affiliate at the FSI Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law, Center for International Security Cooperation, and The Europe Center.

Prior to his arrival at Stanford, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 until July 2011, where he led the civilian surge directed by President Obama to reverse insurgent momentum and set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty. 

Before his appointment as Chief of Mission in Kabul, Eikenberry had a thirty-five year career in the United States Army, retiring in April 2009 with the rank of Lieutenant General. His military operational posts included commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental United states, Hawaii, Korea, Italy, and Afghanistan as the Commander of the American-led Coalition forces from 2005 to 2007. 

He has served in various policy and political-military positions, including Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium; Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Hawaii; U.S. Security Coordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kabul, Afghanistan; Assistant Army and later Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing, China; Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy on the Army Staff.

Willy Lam on the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election

Photograph of Dr. LamWilly Lam is a veteran observer and analyst of Chinese foreign policy and domestic politics and author of numerous books on China. He is an Adjunct Professor at the History Department and the Center for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He recently published Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping (Routledge, 2015, New York). He spoke to Aaron Yang on March 1, 2017.

Why is the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election important? What is at stake?

It has been 20 years since the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China. On July 1, 2017 President Xi Jinping will go to Hong Kong to celebrate the anniversary of the handover of sovereignty. Hong Kong has reappeared on the radar screen of international media, commentators, and politicians due to the 2014 Umbrella Movement, which was a big, albeit unsuccessful, effort by young people to push Beijing to implement universal suffrage in the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. A sizeable movement in support of “self-determination for Hong Kong” emerged out of the Umbrella Movement. Some people may call this a pro-independence movement, but it is more accurate to call it a campaign for self-determination. This campaign seeks self-determination through a referendum and wants the Hong Kong people to be able to choose between sticking with the status quo or becoming independent. Although this movement enjoys the support of only a tiny minority among Hong Kong’s 7.5 million population, as expected, it aroused intense opposition from Beijing. The stakes are high for the Chief Executive election because if Carrie Lam – the former Chief Secretary for Administration who is Beijing s favored candidate and thus the most likely winner – becomes Chief Executive, it is possible she might use draconian methods to further restrict Hong Kong’s freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and so forth. She may also introduce a national security legislation – which will spell out harsh punishments for “sedition” or “secession” and in general further constrict the room for maneuver for pro-democracy activists here. This would reflect Beijing’s paranoia about the so-called independence movement.

Orville Schell on U.S.-China relations under President Trump: a look into the Asia Society’s task force report

Photograph of Orville SchellOrville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. 

Schell is the author of fifteen books, ten of them about China, and contributes to such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among others. He covered the war in Indochina as a journalist and has travelled widely in China since the mid-70s. Schell was the recipient of many prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Overseas Press Club Award, and the Harvard-Stanford Shorenstein Prize in Asian Journalism.

He is a Fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, a Senior Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications at USC, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. On February 19, 2016, Dr. Schell spoke with Bryn Miller CMC '19.

Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Schell.

In the last four decades, a fairly bipartisan consensus has existed in U.S. policy toward China. Does such a consensus still exist today with Donald Trump in the White House? 

There’s two factors here. The first is, of course, Donald Trump. It is impossible to judge his policies because he has a way of speaking out of both sides of a contradiction, so there’s no consistency. The second part is in many ways obvious and equally as dangerous to the consensus of the two countries. In the last five years, China has become much more militant, belligerent, repressive, and opaque, so the consensus even before Trump came along was already threatened and out of balance. When Trump was elected, the equation, which had one unknown, suddenly had two unknowns. These two unknowns make the whole bilateral relationship extremely hard to analyze and predict.

What factors have led to China becoming more opaque and militant over the past five years?

David Dollar on capital control in China

Headshot of David DollarDavid Dollar is a Senior Fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. From 2009 to 2013 Dollar was the U.S. Treasury’s Economic and Financial Emissary to China, based in Beijing, facilitating the macroeconomic and financial policy dialogue between the U.S. and China. Prior to joining Treasury Dollar worked 20 years for the World Bank, serving as Country Director for China and Mongolia, based in Beijing (2004-2009). His other World Bank assignments focused on Asian economies, including South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India. Dollar also worked in the World Bank’s research department. His publications focus on economic reform in China, globalization, and economic growth. He also taught economics at UCLA, during which time he spent a semester in Beijing at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1986). He has a PhD in economics from New York University and a B.A. in Chinese history and language from Dartmouth College. On February 1, 2017, he spoke with Yujia Yao CMC '19.

Bio and photograph courtesy of David Dollar

In response to a weaker Yuan and falling foreign exchange reserves in 2016, the Chinese government has recently sought to limit the ability of businesses and individuals to send money out of China. How would you characterize the tangible effects of increased capital controls in China? Have restrictions on capital movements been effective? 

Professor Imamura on Japan's demographic crisis

Photograph of Dr. ImamuraDr. Anne E. Imamura is currently Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. Until her retirement in 2015, she was the Area Studies Division Director at the Foreign Service Institute (United States Department of State). She has also taught at Sophia University in Tokyo; the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Twice a Fulbright Scholar to Japan, and the recipient of a Japan Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Dr. Imamura’s academic training includes a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University and an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii where she was twice an East West Center Fellow

Among Dr. Imamura’s publications are: Re-Imaging Japanese Women, University of California Press, 1996; Urban Japanese Housewives: At Home and in the Community, University of Hawaii Press, 1987; Transcending Stereotypes: Discovering Japanese Culture and Education, co-edited: International Press, 1991; and numerous journal articles and book chapters including “Family Culture” in The Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture, Cambridge University Press, 2009 as well as the forthcoming publication of “Where do I Belong? The Japanese Family System and the Individual in the Early 21st Century” (working title) in the proceedings of the conference on Japanese Self-Images-The Idea of Uniqueness”, Axel and Margaret Ax:Son Johnson Foundation, Engelsberg Ironworks, Sweden, September 8, 2016.

On January 31, 2017, Dr. Imamura spoke with Caroline Willian CMC '17. Photograph and bio courtesy of Dr. Imamura.

Japan's birthrate has been slowing, in part because of a reduction in marriages and an increasing age of marriage. What cultural factors have led this to happen?

Amrita Basu on women’s safety in India

Photograph of Dr. Basu​Amrita Basu is the Paino Professor of Political Science and Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College. She has written extensively on social movements and women’s activism in India. Her books include Two Faces of Protest: Contrasting Modes of Women's Activism in India and Violent Conjunctures in Democratic India. She has also edited several books (including Women's Movements in the Global Era.) She received a distinguished teaching award in 2008. She received her B.A. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. On February 10, 2017, she spoke with Erica Rawles CMC '17.

Media reports paint a rather grim and frightening picture of sexual violence against women in India. How does India compare with other developing countries in terms of sexual violence against women?

While I have not looked at very recent figures on this, one widely quoted study from 2010 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that the instance of rape in India was 1.8 for 100,000 people, compared with 27.3 in the United States, 28.8 in the U.K., 63.5 in Sweden, and 120 in South Africa. At least according to this data, the problem in India is less severe than in many other countries. In fact, there are some people, like the scholar Poulomi Raychaudhuri, who argue that highlighting India’s rape crisis is somewhat Eurocentric. Apart from this, comparisons between countries are hard to make. The data is not reliable because definitions of rape are inconsistent. Countries have very different ways of reporting and recording rape. For example, some countries criminalize marital rape, while oathers do not. 

After killing TPP: now what?

Headshot of Gary HufbauerGary Hufbauer has written extensively on international trade, investment, and tax issues. He is coauthor of Bridging the Pacific: Toward Free Trade and Investment between China and the United States (2014), and has contributed or authored more than a dozen other books. Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow since 1992, was formerly the Maurice Greenberg Chair and Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (1996–98), the Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Finance Diplomacy at Georgetown University (1985–92), senior fellow at the Institute (1981–85), deputy director of the International Law Institute at Georgetown University (1979–81), deputy assistant secretary for international trade and investment policy of the U.S. Treasury (1977–79), and director of the international tax staff at the Treasury (1974–76). He was interviewed by Chuyi Sheng '17 on February 3, 2017.

President Trump and his administration abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP) and called for more bilateral trade agreements that will bring jobs back to the U.S.. What are potential trade policies toward Asia that Trump may pursue? 

President Trump has talked in short sound bites and contradicted himself at times so it is hard to know what he is going to do. But I can offer a few guesses on his policies toward Asia. First of all, there will likely be many trade remedy cases brought against China, such as those involving anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions on Chinese products. I expect Trump’s team to welcome cases that U.S. companies want to bring against China in hopes of protecting domestic employment. 


Keck Center for International & Strategic Studies

Claremont McKenna College
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