Asia Experts Forum logo

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.

Eswar Prasad on India’s manufacturing ambition

Photograph of Eswar Prasad speaking“Eswar Prasad is the Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the New Century Chair in International Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was previously chief of the Financial Studies Division in the International Monetary Fund's Research Department and, before that, was the head of the IMF's China Division.

Eswar Prasad's latest book is The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance (Princeton University Press, February 2014). His new book, Gaining Currency: The Rise of the Renminbi, will be published by Oxford University Press in October 2016. His extensive publication record includes articles in numerous collected volumes as well as top academic journals such as the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, The Economic Journal, International Economic Review, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, Journal of International Money and Finance, Journal of Monetary Economics, and Review of Economics and Statistics. He has co-authored and edited numerous books and monographs, including on financial regulation and on China and India. Current research interests include the macroeconomics of financial globalization; financial regulation, monetary policy frameworks and exchange rate policies in emerging markets; and the Chinese and Indian economies.

Dr. Kin-man Chan on losing the hearts and minds in Hong Kong

Photograph of Professor Kin-man ChanDr. Kin-man Chan is an associate professor of Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and one of the founders of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace Campaign in Hong Kong to pressure the Chinese government for universal suffrage in the Hong Kong Chief Executive Election. He was interviewed on April 6, 2016 by Andrew Sheets CMC ’17.

Photograph courtesy of Professor Chan



The “Umbrella Revolution” ended more than a year ago. What are the most important developments in Hong Kong since the end of the revolution?

People were very disappointed after the movement because the government did not respond to the movement even though more than 1 million Hong Kong people were involved. So the movement activists were disappointed and even puzzled about what we should do next. 

On the positive side, many new political groups formed after the movement. There are around 18 professional groups established after the movement, including medical doctors, accountants, and engineers. They are committed to democracy and social justice and they were very much affected by the movement. Many young people formed community groups to participate in the district council elections held late last year. The coming challenge is the legislative council election, in which many young professionals and activists are going to participate. This is the positive side. 

Dmitry Gorenburg on Japan-Russia ties

Photograph of Dmitry Gorenburg speaking into a microphoneDmitry Gorenburg is Senior Research Scientist in the Strategic Studies division of CNA, where he has worked since 2000. Dr. Gorenburg is an associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and previously served as Executive Director of the American Association of the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). His research interests include security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, and ethnic politics and identity. Dr. Gorenburg is author of Nationalism for the Masses: Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and has been published in journals such as World Politics and Post-Soviet Affairs. He currently serves as editor of Problems of Post-Communism and Russian Politics and Law. Dr. Gorenburg received a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. He blogs on issues related to the Russian military at He spoke to Isabella Speciale CMC ‘17 on April 6th, 2016.

Biography and Photograph courtesy of Dmitry Gorenburg.


Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently announced that Moscow would be placing missile systems on the disputed Kuril Islands. How important to Japanese-Russian relations is the dispute over the Islands?

Sarah Besky on India's tea plantation workers

Photograph of Sarah BeskySarah Besky is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University.  Her research in the Indian Himalayas and Kolkata sits at the intersection of studies of environment, labor, and development.  In Darjeeling, in Northeast India, she has explored the inclusion of plantations in the fair trade system and is described in The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (University of California Press, 2014).  In Kolkata, she is examining the financialization of the Indian tea industry and the slow movement of tea onto the global commodity futures market.  In between Darjeeling and Kolkata, she is working on a project on the relationship between long-term landscape change—including landslides, annual monsoons, and deteriorating infrastructure—and the rise of subnationalist politics in Darjeeling. On April 5, 2016, she spoke with Kimaya de Silva, CMC ’17.

Photograph and biography courtesy of Sarah Besky


Could you tell us a little bit about your fieldwork and research in the northeastern region of India?

For almost ten years now, I have worked mostly in the Darjeeling district of the Indian state of West Bengal. The district is covered in plantations – not just tea plantations, which are normally associated with Darjeeling, but also cinchona tree plantations. The bark of the cinchona tree is quinine, an anti-malarial cure. In 1835 Darjeeling, the core of the city was annexed from the independent kingdom of Sikkim.  It developed into a massive tea district from the late 1850s into the 1880s. The development of plantations was a key feature in the making of this place. My fieldwork is about the intersections between place, people and plantation and about what Darjeeling is and how we can understand Darjeeling as a plantation district, and as a network of plantations. 

Stephan Haggard on Chinese ambivalence on sanctions against North Korea

Stephan Haggard is the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies, director of the Korea-Pacific Program, and distinguished professor of political science at the School of Global Policy & Strategy. He is a go-to expert on current developments in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly the Korean peninsula, and on the politics of economic reform and globalization.

Haggard has written extensively on the political economy of North Korea with Marcus Noland, including “Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform” (2007) and “Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea” (2011) and co-authors the “North Korea: Witness to Transformation” blog at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Haggard is the current editor of the Journal of East Asian Studies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He spoke to Christina Yoh, International Journalism Fellow, CMC ‘18 on April 8, 2016.

Photo and biography courtesy of Professor Stephan Haggard and the School of Global Policy & Strategy.

The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution with even tougher penalties and regulations on North Korea as a result of its defiant testing of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles earlier this year. Briefly, what makes this round of sanctions different from previous ones? Which countries in the 15-member council had the most leverage and interest in passing such a resolution?

Daniel Rosen on China's outbound FDI

Photograph of Daniel RosenDaniel H. Rosen is a founding partner of RHG and leads the firm’s work on China. Mr. Rosen has more than two decades of experience analyzing China’s economy, corporate sector and U.S.-China economic and commercial relations. He is affiliated with a number of American think tanks focused on international economics, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University. From 2000-2001, Mr. Rosen was Senior Adviser for International Economic Policy at the White House National Economic Council and National Security Council.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. On April 8, 2016, he spoke with Shivani Pandya CMC ’18.

Biography and photograph courtesy of Rhodium Group, LLC, 2016.  


China’s outbound FDI has been growing extremely rapidly in recent years. In your opinion, what is the driving trend, and can you speak more to the key characteristics of Chinese outbound FDI?

There are a variety of drivers in work. Our position is that the preponderance of factors involved are commercial in nature. Changes in China in the phase and state of the Chinese domestic economy are creating an incentive for Chinese firms, who were content to stay home previously to venture abroad, and pursue their commercial interests. 

Elizabeth Perry on Chinese and American universities

Photo of Elizabeth PerryElizabeth J. Perry is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. She holds a PhD from the University of Michigan and is a former President of the Association for Asian Studies and former Director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.  A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Professor Perry is the author or editor of more than 15 books including, most recently, Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China (Harvard, 2011) and Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition (California, 2012).  Her book, Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor (Stanford, 1993) won the John King Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association; her article, “Chinese Conceptions of ‘Rights’: From Mencius to Mao – and Now” (Perspectives on Politics, 2008) won the Heinz I. Eulau Prize of the American Political Science Association. This interview with Prof. Perry was interviewed on April 4, 2016 by Alexandra Cheng CMC ’18.

Photo granted for permission of use by Professor Elizabeth Perry.


In what ways does the rise of China’s universities pose a threat to the American liberal arts model?

The argument I am making is that the rise of China itself is not really a threat to our liberal arts model, but rather the way in which American education has responded or reacted to the rise of Chinese higher education does pose a threat. I think that everyone has become increasingly worried about the possibility that Chinese universities are going to overtake American universities in these crazy world rankings of colleges and universities. As a result, what we do is compete with each other and we all start looking more and more alike as a result of that competition. Just as Chinese universities are trying to imitate Western universities, we increasingly see more American imitations of Chinese universities. Our new campuses resemble the big Chinese campuses that have recently been built. And American universities increasingly emphasize engineering and other applied sciences, just as Chinese universities do. 

Hugh Patrick on Abenomics and Japan's economic performance

Hugh Patrick is director of CJEB, codirector of Columbia's APEC Study Center, and R. D. Calkins Professor of International Business Emeritus at Columbia Business School. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1984 after some years as professor of economics and director of the Economic Growth Center at Yale University. He completed his BA at Yale University in 1951, earned MA degrees in Japanese studies (1955) and economics (1957), and a PhD in economics at the University of Michigan (1960). He has been a visiting professor at Hitotsubashi University, the University of Tokyo, and the University of Bombay. Professor Patrick has been awarded Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships and the Ohira Prize. His professional publications include 16 books and some 60 articles and essays. His major fields of published research on Japan include macroeconomic performance and policy, banking and financial markets, government-business relations, and Japan-United States economic relations. His recent publications include Reviving Japan's Economy: Problems and Prescriptions (MIT Press, 2005), coauthored and coedited with Takatoshi Ito and David E. Weinstein; and How Finance Is Shaping the Economies of China, Japan, and Korea (Columbia University Press, pending, 2013), co-edited with Yung Chul Park. Other publications include: Crisis and Change in the Japanese Financial System (with Takeo Hoshi); The Japanese Main Bank System (with Masahiko Aoki); The Financial Development of Japan, Korea and Taiwan (with Yung Chul Park); Pacific Basin Industries in Distress: Structural Adjustment and Trade Policy in Nine Industrialized Economies; Regulating International Financial Markets: Policies and Issues (with Franklin Edwards); Japan's High Technology Industries: Lessons and Limitations of Industrial Policy; and Asia's New Giant: How the Japanese Economy Works (with Henry Rosovsky). He served as one of the four American members of the binational Japan-United States Economic Relations Group appointed by President Carter and Prime Minister Ohira from 1979 to 1981. He is on the Board of Directors of the United States Asia Pacific Council and has been a member of the Council of Foreign Relations since 1974.

Gordon Hanson on trade with China

Professor Gordon HansonGordon Hanson holds the Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations at UC San Diego, and has faculty positions in the Department of Economics and GPS, where he also is director of the Center on Global Transformation. He is former acting dean of the School and is presently a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. He is a past co-editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Development Economics.

Hanson received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992 and his B.A. from Occidental College in 1986. Prior to joining UC San Diego in 2001, he served on the economics faculty of the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. Hanson specializes in the economics of international trade, international migration and foreign direct investment. He has published extensively in the top academic journals of the economics discipline, is widely cited for his research by scholars from across the social sciences and is frequently quoted in major media outlets. Hanson’s current research addresses how trade with China has affected the U.S. labor market, the consequences of skilled immigration for the U.S. economy and the long-run determinants of comparative advantage. He spoke to Isabella Speciale, International Journalism Fellow CMC ‘17​ on March 11, 2016.

Could you please tell our readers briefly why you were motivated to study this relationship between trade with China and the U.S. job market and publish your report: “The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade.” 

Murray Hiebert on the mega corruption scandal in Malaysia

Murray HiebertMurray Hiebert serves as senior fellow and deputy director of the Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. Earlier, Hiebert worked for the Wall Street Journal's China bureau and the Wall Street Journal Asia and the Far Eastern Economic Review in Washington, reporting on U.S.-Asia relations. From 1995 to 1999, he was based in Malaysia for the Far Eastern Economic Review. Before that he was based in Vietnam and Thailand for the Review. He spoke to Andrew Sheets on Feb. 19, 2016.

The 1MDB scandal has evoked much criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak.  Could you speak about the significance of this scandal and identify some of its implications for Malaysia’s current domestic political landscape?  

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up 1MDB in 2009 shortly after taking over as prime minister.  1MDB was intended to be a government investment vehicle that would help the government make money.  It received various properties at a low price from the government with the intention that it would develop those properties and other assets and be able to make money.  Malaysia runs several other government investment vehicles.  The one factor making 1MDB unique is that the prime minister himself chairs it.  

The issues began a year or two ago when 1MDB was clearly in debt, estimated to be around US$11 billion.  Some of its debt came due and the fund had to find ways to pay these debts.  It was then that the fund started to attract attention. Various government agencies in Malaysia started investigating 1MDB to try to find out what had happened.  There were all kinds of media leaks, particularly to a small publication in eastern Malaysia called the Sarawak Report.  The Wall Street Journal also started covering it very carefully.  


Keck Center for International & Strategic Studies

Claremont McKenna College
850 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 621-8213
Fax: (909) 621-8756

Campus Location

Kravis Center, Third Floor
888 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711