The Oksenberg Conference, held annually, honors the legacy of Professor Michel Oksenberg (1938–2001). A senior fellow at Shorenstein APARC and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Professor Oksenberg served as a key member of the National Security Council when the United States normalized relations with China, and consistently urged that the United States engage with Asia in a more considered manner. In tribute, the Oksenberg Conference recognizes distinguished individuals who have helped to advance understanding between the United States and the nations of the Asia-Pacific.
In 2009, the decision was made to expand this series from its original lecture format to a workshop in order to bring scholars and policy makers together to discuss the ever-changing role China is playing in today's world. This format allows for the exchange of ideas and opinions amongst today's top experts.