Sustainable development
Flyer for Asia in 2030, APARC@40 Conference and Celebration with an image of Encina Hall facade

The culmination of a special event series celebrating Shorenstein APARC's 40th Anniversary, "Asia in 2030, APARC@40"

Join us in celebrating APARC's 40 years of research, education, and engagement. Recognizing the accomplishments of the past four decades and looking forward to the future, the two-day program will highlight multiple aspects of APARC’s core areas of expertise and examine key forces affecting Asia’s present and shaping its future.

1-1:30 p.m.

Opening Session

Opening Remarks

Gi-Wook Shin
Director of Shorenstein APARC and the Korea Program
William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea
Professor of Sociology
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University

Congratulatory Remarks

Kathryn Ann “Kam” Moler
Vice Provost and Dean of Research
Marvin Chodorow Professor
Professor of Applied Physics, Physics, and Energy Science Engineering
Stanford University

Condoleezza Rice
Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution
Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution
Denning Professor of Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
Professor of Political Science
Senior Fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University

Scott D. Sagan
Co-Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science
Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University

1:30-2:45 p.m. 

The Future of Diplomacy

John Everard
Former Ambassador to Belarus, Uruguay, and North Korea for the United Kingdom
Coordinator of the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on North Korea
Former Pantech Fellow at Shorenstein APARC

Laura Stone
Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Maldives
Former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for China and Mongolia;
Former Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs
Former Director of Economic Policy Office in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs
Visiting Scholar and Inaugural China Policy Fellow at Shorenstein APARC at Stanford University


Michael Beeman
Former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea, and APEC at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Visiting Scholar at Shorenstein APARC
Stanford University

2:45-3 p.m. ~ Coffee and Tea Break

3-4:15 p.m.

The Future of Asian Studies


Donald K. Emmerson
Director of the Southeast Asia Program at Shorenstein APARC
Affiliated Faculty with the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
Affiliated Scholar with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies
Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University

Thomas B. Gold
Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

Jisoo Kim
Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures
Director of the Institute for Korean Studies
Co-Director of the East Asia National Resource Center
The George Washington University


Kiyoteru Tsutsui
Deputy Director of Shorenstein APARC
Director of the Japan Program
Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor and Senior Fellow in Japanese Studies
Professor of Sociology
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University

4:15-4:30 p.m. ~ Coffee and Tea Break

4:30-6 p.m.

Oksenberg Panel: The Future of U.S.-China Relations


Jean C. Oi
Director of the China Program at Shorenstein APARC
Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University
William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University


M. Taylor Fravel
Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director, Security Studies Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Michael Lampton
Professor Emeritus and former Hyman Professor and Director of SAIS-China and China Studies, School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University
Former Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow at Shorenstein APARC

Oriana Skylar Mastro
Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University


Thomas Fingar
Former U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Analysis, Director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific, and Chief of the China Division
Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council
Fellow at Shorenstein APARC
Stanford University

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The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University and the Ban Ki-moon Foundation For a Better Future announced today the launch of an annual Trans-Pacific Sustainability Dialogue in Asia to accelerate progress on achieving the United Nations-adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The joint project will spur new research and policy partnerships between experts from the United States and Asia to expedite the implementation of the Agenda’s underlying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by governments and non-state actors. The two-day inaugural Dialogue will be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on October 27 and 28, 2022, and will be free and open to the public.

The Dialogue’s co-organizers include the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) of Stanford University, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), Korea Environment Corporation (K-eco), and Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water). 

The first day will take place at The Plaza Seoul and will be co-hosted by the Korea Environment Institute. It will include a series of public sessions headlined by Ban Ki-moon, the eighth secretary-general of the UN, who will join a lineup of world leaders including Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia and chief executive officer and president of the Asia Society; Iván Duque, former president of the Republic of Colombia; and Gombojav Zandanshatar, chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia.

“This Dialogue is very timely and relevant as the climate crisis is deepening in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Sustainable Development Goals are becoming more difficult to achieve in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic,” says Mr. Ban Ki-moon. “Asia-Pacific countries should be more aggressive in the fight against climate change and more audacious in the role they play toward achieving the SDGs,” he noted.

In this spirit, expert discussions on the second day will bring together social science researchers and scientists from across the Asia-Pacific region, alongside policymakers and practitioners, to share local and global nature-positive solutions and new pathways of meaningful SDG acceleration actions. Co-hosted by and held at Ewha Womans University, the panel discussions will explore the making of livable, sustainable cities, such as Busan Metropolitan City, and the threats to them by climate change, disasters, and human security issues. To achieve systems transformation and sustainable development, discussions will turn to the need to value and invest in nature.

“Climate and sustainability solutions span disciplines and sectors and require collaboration with partners worldwide,” says Gi-Wook Shin, the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea at Stanford and director of APARC. “The launch of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability marks an opportune moment to scale up SDGs implementation by leveraging knowledge and expertise from across Stanford and the Asia-Pacific and engaging the next generation of scholars and experts,” Shin adds. “We are honored to join in this effort with Mr. Ban and his team, with whom APARC has an established relationship.”

Highlighting the role of youth in achieving the SDGs, the Dialogue includes student panels that feature young leaders from Stanford University, Ewha Womans University, Osaka University, and De La Salle University, among other Asian universities. Students’ research, applied work, and entrepreneurial endeavors across the region showcase innovations and transformations in green financing and sustainable investments, gender mainstreaming and climate governance, development cooperation for sustainable governance, and scaling environmental solutions through a business and social justice lens.

The Seoul Trans-Pacific Sustainability Dialogue is the inaugural event in APARC and the Ban Ki-moon Foundation’s joint effort to stimulate ambitious action to deliver the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. The annual Dialogue may rotate among different host cities in Asia to address different themes selected from the SDGs framework spearheaded by Mr. Ban Ki-moon during his term as the UN Secretary-General. 

Visit the event page to register to attend the Trans-Pacific Sustainability Dialogue in person in Seoul, as well as for the full program agenda and speaker list.

The event is also offered online via a live webcast: watch the live-streamed sessions on the event page or via the Ban Ki-moon Foundation’s YouTube channel.

About the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) addresses critical issues affecting the countries of Asia, their regional and global affairs, and U.S.-Asia relations. As Stanford University’s hub for the interdisciplinary study of contemporary Asia, APARC produces policy-relevant research, provides education and training to students, scholars, and practitioners, and strengthens dialogue and cooperation between counterparts in the Asia-Pacific and the United States. Founded in 1983, APARC today is home to a scholar community of distinguished academics and practitioners in government, business, and civil society, who specialize in trends that cut across the entire Asia-Pacific region. For more, visit

About the Ban Ki-moon Foundation For a Better Future

The Ban Ki-moon Foundation For a Better Future follows and further develops the achievement and philosophy of Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations through upholding the values of unification, communication and co-existence, and dedication. It promotes three pillars of the UN including peace and security, development, and human rights and contributes to making a better future devoid of conflict and deficiency. In particular, the Ban Ki-moon Foundation actively collaborates with the UN, international organizations, and stakeholders toward achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the 2050 carbon net-zero of all state parties of the Paris Climate Accord of 2015. For more, visit

Media Contact

Journalists interested in covering the event should contact Shorenstein APARC’s Communications Manager, Michael Breger at For further information on the Trans-Pacific Sustainability Dialogue, please contact Cheryll Alipio, Shorenstein APARC’s Associate Director for Program and Policy at

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The Trans-Pacific Sustainability Dialogue convenes social science researchers and scientists from Stanford University and across the Asia-Pacific region, alongside student leaders, policymakers, and practitioners, to generate new research and policy partnerships to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations-adopted Sustainable Development Goals. The inaugural Dialogue will be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on October 27 and 28, 2022.


This is a virtual event. Please click here to register and generate a link to the talk. 
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In September 2020, President Xi Jinping declared that China would achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.  This climate pledge is widely considered the most ambitious of all made to date, especially since the world’s largest carbon-emitting nation is still at a developing stage and has not yet achieved its emissions peak.  With the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) on the horizon, the world is eager to learn about any potential new pledges from the Chinese leadership.  This talk will provide an overview of climate governance under President Xi Jinping and draw on the presenter’s work on local implementation of air pollution policies in China to discuss potential lessons for its ongoing efforts to curb carbon emissions.

Portrait of Shiran Victoria Shen
Shiran Victoria Shen’s research primarily examines the organizational causes of and responses to environmental crises, with particular understanding of how local politics shape air pollution and climate management in China.  Professor Shen graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with high honors from Swarthmore College and holds an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Stanford University.



Perfect Storm: Climate Change in Asia series promo image

This event is part of the 2021 Fall webinar series, Perfect Storm: Climate Change in Asia, sponsored by the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.



Via Zoom Webinar. Register at:

Shiran Victoria Shen Assistant Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Virginia and W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution

Abstract: The fiscal federalism and decentralization literatures suggest that larger cities often deliver better public goods more effectively because of scale economies. Yet small cities exhibit higher rates of access to basic health and education services in Brazil, India, and Indonesia. Why is this the case? Building on modernization theory and models from urban economics, we argue that citizens in smaller cities prioritize investments in basic health and education facilities because there are few low- cost substitutes for government offerings, and because they face few characteristically “urban” problems, such as congestion and insecurity. Residents of larger cities, in contrast, prioritize investment in a wider set of policy areas because they experience more negative externalities from urban growth and can turn to a larger supply of non-state providers of basic social services. Moreover, public officials in smaller cities find it easier to earn political returns for investments in “divisible” infrastructure for service delivery, such as schools and clinics, because they can coordinate lobbying and credit-claiming more effectively than politicians in larger cities. We illustrate the mechanisms underlying these differences across policy areas through data analysis and paired comparison of representative cities of different sizes in Brazil, and with shadow cases from Indonesia.

Alison Post is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Global Metropolitan Studies.  Her research lies at the intersection of comparative urban politics and comparative political economy, with regional emphases on Latin America and South Asia. Her research examines regulation and business-government relations, decentralization, and urban politics and policy.  She is the author of Foreign and Domestic Investment in Argentina: The Politics of Privatized Infrastructure (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and articles in the Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Governance, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative International DevelopmentWorld Development, and other outlets. She is currently the President of the Urban and Local Politics section of the American Political Science Association and Chair of the Steering Committee for the Red de Economía Política de America Latina (Repal). 


This event is co-sponsored by Center for Latin American Studies and Center for South Asia

Professor Alison Post


Noa Ronkin
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The Pacific islands are known for their tropical climate, lush landscape, and rich cultures, but as coterminal student Ma’ili Yee has learned, they also form a backdrop to multiple geostrategic agendas in the Pacific Ocean region. In her recent research, Yee focuses on the vital economic, military, and geopolitical roles the Pacific island nations play at a time when the U.S.-China great power competition is generating renewed interest in the region.

Yee received her BA in International Relations in 2020 and is completing her MA in East Asian Studies this summer. She has been interested in Sino-U.S. relations in the South Pacific and noticed the scarcity of materials that incorporate Pacific Islander perspectives on the geopolitical developments in the region and how the island nations are affected by and responding to the tensions in the U.S.-China relation. She set out to study these issues.

Yee’s research over the past year has been supported by the Shorenstein APARC Diversity Grant. As part of its commitment to promoting inclusion and racial justice at Stanford, APARC established the grant in summer 2020 to support students from underrepresented minorities interested in studying contemporary Asia. Yee is the grant’s inaugural recipient.

Yee originally intended to use the grant to conduct field research in Fiji and Tonga but had to adjust her plans due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She ended up studying primary source materials shared online by country members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between countries and territories of the Pacific Ocean region, including the formation of a trade bloc and regional peacekeeping operations.

Multiple Islands, One “Blue Continent”

Yee’s research reveals that Pacific island nations do not share the same strategic and diplomatic agendas of traditional powers. Rather, in recent years, they have developed a more assertive diplomatic posture, becoming highly involved in promoting blueprints that are vital to their objectives and creating their own framework for defining strategic priorities in the Pacific region. Most importantly, as Yee explained in a recent presentation to the APARC community, Pacific island nations reject being viewed as pawns in a power game by larger states, particularly amidst the intensifying U.S.-China competition.

Against the framework of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, island nations have endorsed a collective framework they call the Blue Pacific. The Free and Open Indo-Pacific, which was introduced by Japan and later formalized by the United States, is a strategic vision that often privileges the Indian Ocean over the Pacific Ocean and prioritizes U.S.-led maritime concerns.

By contrast, the Blue Pacific vision is grounded in Pacific island nations’ perspectives. It emphasizes the opportunity to leverage their collective oceanic presence and focuses on their concerns, foremost of which are climate change and sustainable development. The Blue Pacific advocates for a long-term foreign policy commitment to act as one “Blue Continent” while also calling for greater international coordination. PIF member countries are currently developing these priorities in their vision for the future, the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. “The uncertainty of COVID-19,” write PIF Members, “only reinforces the need for a long-term strategy for how we work together as one Blue Pacific.”

By consolidating their interests as a unified political bloc, Yee concludes, Pacific Island nations now exercise significant agency in determining the trajectory of their region and using their voices to shape multilateral initiatives such as the Paris Agreement. External powers who seek to exercise influence in the Pacific Ocean region would do well to develop reciprocal relationships with island nations and consider their goals, she says.

Yee's research also examines the opportunities for fintech to promote sustainable development in the Pacific Ocean region and as an area for potential collaboration and competition amongst world powers as U.S.-China tensions continue to unfold.

“I am grateful to APARC for this Diversity Grant and for allowing me to do this kind of work,” says Yee. “It really would not be possible without such support, so it was cool to see this resource come out last summer.”

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Asia Health Policy Postdoctoral Fellow Radhika Jain Wins Prestigious Health Economics Award

Jain is the recipient of the inaugural Adam Wagstaff Award for Outstanding Research on the Economics of Healthcare Financing and Delivery in Low- and middle-Income Countries. Her award-winning paper provides the first large-scale evidence on the behavior of private hospitals within public health insurance in India.
Asia Health Policy Postdoctoral Fellow Radhika Jain Wins Prestigious Health Economics Award
Figures of Kuomintang soldiers are seen in the foreground, with the Chinese city of Xiamen in the background, on February 04, 2021 in Lieyu, an outlying island of Kinmen that is the closest point between Taiwan and China.

Strait of Emergency?

Debating Beijing’s Threat to Taiwan
Strait of Emergency?
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Robotics and the Future of Work: Lessons from Nursing Homes in Japan

On the Future Health podcast, Karen Eggleston discusses the findings and implications of her collaborative research into the effects of robot adoption on staffing in Japanese nursing homes.
Robotics and the Future of Work: Lessons from Nursing Homes in Japan
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With support from Shorenstein APARC’s Diversity Grant, coterminal student Ma’ili Yee (BA ’20, MA ’21) reveals how Pacific island nations are responding to the U.S.-China rivalry by developing a collective strategy for their region.

Callista Wells
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The Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU), the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), and the APARC China Program jointly hosted a workshop on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in early March. The workshop, held on March 2 and 3, welcomed researchers from around the world with expertise in the Initiative. Unfortunately, because of the rapidly developing health emergency related to the coronavirus, participants from not only China, but also Japan, were prevented from attending. As described by Professor Jean Oi, founding director of SCPKU and the China Program, and Professor Francis Fukuyama, director of CDDRL and the Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy, who co-chaired the workshop, the meeting aimed to provide a global perspective on the BRI, consolidate knowledge on this opaque topic, and determine the best method and resources for future research.  

The workshop began with presentations from several of the invited guests. Dr. Atif Ansar from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School kicked off the first day by describing not only the tremendous opportunity that the BRI presents to developing economies, but also the serious pitfalls that often accompany colossal infrastructure projects. Pointing out the poor returns on investment of mega infrastructure projects, Ansar examined the frequest cost and schedule overruns, random disasters, and environmental degradation that outweigh the minimal benefits that they generally yield. China’s own track record from domestic infrastructure projects does little to mitigate fear of these risks, Ansar claimed. In response, he urged professional management of BRI investments, institutional reforms, and intensified deployment of technology in BRI projects. Dr. Ansar was followed by Dr. Xue Gong of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Dr. Gong’s analysis centered on the extent to which China’s geopolitical motivations influenced its outward foreign direct investments (OFDI). Although her research was still in the early stages, her empirical analysis of China’s OFDI inflows into fifty BRI recipient countries from 2007-2018 nevertheless revealed that geopolitical factors often outweigh economic factors when it comes to China’s OFDI destinations.

Amit Bhandari of Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations presents his research at the Belt and Road Workshop.
Participants then heard presentations from Amit Bhandari of Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations and Professor Cheng-Chwee Kuik of the National University of Malaysia. Mr. Bhandari’s talk focused on Chinese investments in India’s six neighboring countries, which tend to center more on energy rather than connectivity projects. He first found that the investments are generally not economical for the host countries because they come with high costs and high interest rates. Secondly, he argued that these projects often lacked a clear economic rationale, appearing instead to embed a geopolitical logic not always friendly to India. Professor Kuik, by contrast, provided a counterexample in his analysis of BRI projects in Southeast Asia. He described how, in Southeast Asia, host countries’ reception of the BRI has varied substantially; and how various stakeholders, including states, sub-states and other entities, have used their leverage to shape outcomes more or less favorable to themselves. Kuik’s analysis injected complexity into the often black-and-white characterizations of the BRI. He highlighted the multidimensional dynamics that play out among local and state-level players in pursuit of their goals, and in the process of BRI implementation.

Professor Curtis J. Milhaupt and Scholar-in-Residence Jeffrey Ball, both at Stanford Law School, followed with individual presentations on the role of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the BRI and the emissions impact of the BRI on climate change, respectively. Professor Milhaupt  characterized Chinese SOEs as both geopolitical and commercial actors, simultaneously charged with implementing Party policies and attaining corporate profits. Chinese SOEs are major undertakers of significant overseas BRI projects, acting not only as builders but also as investors, partners, and operators. This situation, Milhaupt asserted, carries significant risks for SOEs because these megaprojects often provide dismal returns, have high default rates, and can trigger political backlash in their localities. Milhaupt highlighted the importance of gathering firm-level data on businesses actually engaged in BRI projects to better infer geostrategic, financial, or other motivations. Jeffrey Ball turned the discussion to carbon emissions from BRI projects and presented preliminary findings from his four-country case studies. He concluded that, on aggregate, the emissions impact of the BRI is still “more brown than green.” Twenty-eight percent of global carbon emissions may be accounted for by BRI projects, Ball asserted, underscoring the importance of the BRI to the future of global climate change.

The day concluded with presentations by  Michael Bennon, Managing Director at the Stanford Global Projects Center, and Professor David M. Lampton, Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Bennon first presented findings from two empirical case studies of BRI projects and then went on to describe how the BRI is now practically the “only game in town” for infrastructure funding for developing countries. Lengthy environmental review processes at Western multilateral banks have turned the World Bank, for example, from a lending bank into a “knowledge bank,” he argued. He also highlighted that, in general, economic returns on BRI projects for China are very poor, even though recipient countries may accrue macroeconomic benefits from these projects. Finally, Professor Lampton turned the discussion back to Southeast Asia, where China is currently undertaking massive cross-border high-speed rail projects through eight ASEAN countries. He described how each host country had varying capacity to negotiate against its giant neighbor, and how the sequential implementation of these cross-border rail projects also had varying impacts on the negotiating positions of these host countries. BRI played out differently in each country, in other words, eliciting different reactions, push-backs and negotiated terms.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to working toward a collaborative approach to future BRI research. The group discussed the key gaps in the existing research, including how to know what China’s true intentions are, how to measure those intentions, who the main players and their interests in both China and the host countries are, and even what the BRI is, exactly. Some cautioned that high-profile projects may not be representative of the whole. Participants brainstormed about existing and future sources of data, and stressed the importance of diversifying studies and seeking empirical evidence.

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Mr. Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, then as Foreign Minister from 2010 to 2012, before returning to the Prime Ministership in 2013. As Prime Minister, Mr. Rudd led Australia’s response during the Global Financial Crisis. Australia's fiscal response to the crisis was reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all member states. Australia was the only major advanced economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd is also internationally recognized as one of the founders of the G20 which drove the global response to the crisis, and which in 2009 helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into a second global depression.

As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Rudd was active in global and regional foreign policy leadership. He was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit to include both the US and Russia in 2010. He also initiated the concept of transforming the EAS into a wider Asia Pacific Community to help manage deep-routed tensions in Asia by building over time the institutions and culture of common security in Asia. On climate change, Mr. Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a 20% mandatory renewable energy target for Australia. Mr. Rudd launched Australia's challenge in the International Court of Justice with the object of stopping Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. Mr Rudd drove Australia’s successful bid for its current non-permanent seat on the United Nation’s Security Council and the near doubling of Australia's foreign aid budget.

Mr. Rudd remains engaged in a range of international challenges including global economic management, the rise of China, climate change and sustainable development. He is on the International Advisory Panel of Chatham House. He is a proficient speaker of Mandarin Chinese, a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University and funded the establishment of the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University. He was a co-author of the recent report of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability – “Resilient People, Resilient Planet" and chairs the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Fragile States. He also remains actively engaged in indigenous reconciliation.

Bechtel Conference Center

Kevin Rudd 26th Prime Minister of Australia Speaker

Vietnamese news accounts of labor-management conflicts, including strikes, and even reports of owners fleeing their factories raise potent questions about labor activism in light of this self-proclaimed socialist country’s engagement in the global market system since the late 1980s. In explaining Vietnamese labor resistance, how important are matters of cultural identity (such as native-place, gender, ethnicity, and religion) in different historical contexts? How does labor mobilization occur and develop? How does it foster “class moments” in times of crisis? What types of "flexible protests" have been used by workers to fight for their rights and dignity, and how effective are they?

Based on her just-published book, Ties that Bind: Cultural Identity, Class, and Law in Vietnam's Labor Resistance, Prof. Trần will highlight labor activism since French colonial rule in order to understand labor issues and actions in Vietnam today. Her analysis will focus on labor-management-state relations, especially with key foreign investors/managers (such as from Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong) and ethnic Chinese born and raised in Vietnam. She will convey the voices and ideas of workers, organizers, journalists, and officials and explain how migrant workers seek to empower themselves using cultural resources and appeals to state media and the rule of law. Copies of her book will be available for sale at her talk.

Prof. Trần's current research on global south-south labor migration focuses on Vietnamese migrants working in Malaysia and returning to Vietnam. In 2008 she was a Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow on Southeast Asia. Her co-authored 2012 book, Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitiveness for SMEs in Developing Countries: South Africa and Vietnam, compared the experiences of small-and-medium enterprises in these two countries. Her many other writings include (as co-editor and author) Reaching for the Dream: Challenges of Sustainable Development in Vietnam (2004). She earned her PhD in Political Economy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California in 1996 and an MA in Developmental Economics at USC in 1991.

Copies of Ties that Bind: Cultural Identity, Class, and Law in Vietnam's Labor Resistance will be available for signing and sale by the author following her talk.

Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room

Shorenstein APARC
Stanford University
Encina Hall E301
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(831) 582-3753 (650) 723-6530
Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow on Southeast Asia

Angie Ngoc Trần is a professor in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Global Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB).  Her plan as the 2008 Lee Kong Chian National University of Singapore-Stanford University Distinguished Fellow is to complete a book manuscript on labor-capital relations in Vietnam that highlights how different identities of investors and owners—shaped by government policies, ethnicity, characteristics of investment, and the role they played in global flexible production—affect workers’ conditions, consciousness, and collective action differently.

Tran spent May-July 2008 at Stanford and will return to campus for the second half of November 2008.  She will share the results of her project in a public seminar at Stanford under SEAF auspices on November 17 2008.

Prof. Trần’s many publications include “Contesting ‘Flexibility’:  Networks of Place, Gender, and Class in Vietnamese Workers’ Resistance,” in Taking Southeast Asia to Market (2008); “Alternatives to ‘Race to the Bottom’ in Vietnam:  Minimum Wage Strikes and Their Aftermath,” Labor Studies Journal (December 2007); “The Third Sleeve: Emerging Labor Newspapers and the Response of Labor Unions and the State to Workers’ Resistance in Vietnam,” Labor Studies Journal (September 2007); and (as co-editor and author) Reaching for the Dream:  Challenges of Sustainable Development in Vietnam (2004).  She received her Ph.D. in Political Economy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California in 1996 and an M.A. in Developmental Economics at USC in 1991.

Angie Ngoc Tran Professor of Political Economy Speaker California State University-Monterey Bay
Sarah L. Bhatia
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For several decades, Southeast Asia’s tracts of dense, old-growth rainforest have served as fertile ground for lumber, and much land has been converted to agriculture. Now, palm oil plantations are being planted where forests once stood.

In 2011, Indonesia, one of the region’s most prosperous countries, instituted a two-year moratorium on clearing new areas of forest, which is set to expire this May and has been criticized as having several loopholes. Other countries, including Cambodia and Myanmar, are losing forests rapidly.

Out of concern for climate change, international initiatives such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) have aimed to promote conservation and sustainable development in countries with significant forest cover. But these efforts do not always support local needs, and can inadvertently have negative impacts.

Tim Forsyth, a Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow, speaks about the gap between conservation efforts and economic and social development in Southeast Asia. He is visiting Stanford this quarter from the London School of Economics and Political Science where he is a reader in environment and development at the Department of International Development.

What major types of forest management do we see across Southeast Asia today?

A number of countries have put laws in place to restrict illegal logging, and have established national park areas. These are usually old-growth rainforests that restrict logging and agriculture. The problem with national parks is that they put so many restrictions on land use that the vulnerable populations living around them either suffer or are forced to cut other trees. I have spent some years working in poorer villages in Indonesia and Thailand on the edge of protected forests, and usually conservation policies avoid the fact that people need to get livelihoods somehow. Government policy should acknowledge how these people are vulnerable to changes in crop prices and the availability of land, or else these people might be forced into breaking the rules of national parks.

There is also production forest, which usually includes forest plantations. These can include softwoods such as pine, or hardwoods such as teak — and increasingly oil palm for food and biofuels. Forest plantations are attractive to governments and businesses because they earn money and can provide timber for construction and exports. Sometimes, plantations also gain carbon credits, although this is not a lot of money so far. In terms of conservation, destroying old-growth forest and replacing it with a monoculture plantation is not good for biodiversity. It also does not benefit those local people who want to harvest forest products or use part of the land for agriculture.

Finally, there are community forests that are supposed to be places where people can grow food, live, and have forest cover. The definition of “community forest,” however, varies from place to place. In Thailand, for example, the way the government defines it is not very different from a conservation area, and consequently there is not much space for agriculture. The Philippines, on the other hand, is more decentralized and local people can shape the nature of the forest landscape more. Corruption, however, is a problem.

Is there an ideal model that successfully supports sustainable development? How does your research approach this issue?

There has been much progress in collaborations that involve willing governments, international advisors, and local actors — often in accordance with an international agreement such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. These collaborations are more useful than a single actor working alone, and they acknowledge a wider range of objectives.

A new initiative is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). This is meant to encourage governments to slow down deforestation by rewarding them financially through carbon credits. But REDD+ has a number of challenges. The main problem is that the value of the credits is so low at the moment. REDD+ also overemphasizes forest cover, rather than forest quality. This means that if a satellite image of a country shows a lot of forest cover, that is good according to REDD+. But this gives no indication as to the biodiversity or the diversity of livelihoods inside a forest. It is a green light to all of the people who want fast-growing tree plantations, which makes them money and supplies them with wood for construction. In addition, it keeps a government happy because it supplies their country with timber and tax revenue, but this is not necessarily what you would call sustainable development.

There are elements of good models in different places, and it really depends on one’s viewpoint. Nepal offers a good example of community forestry because, in principle, it aims to engage local people more effectively and equally, and so can combine local development with the protection of national forests. From a development perspective, some forms of conservation can hurt poorer people and actually undermine conservation efforts. Therefore, in my work, I try to promote policy that acknowledges the needs of the more vulnerable populations. My research tries to make climate change policy more relevant to development processes in Southeast Asia. In my current project, I am seeing how policy recommendations about forests can be reshaped and reinterpreted locally in developing countries in order to address local interests. My goal is to understand how expert knowledge about climate change can be governed more effectively in order to enhance both development and conservation in Asia with better outcomes for everybody.

What can people do in their everyday lives to help combat climate change?

The practical problem of dealing with forest destruction and climate change in Southeast Asia is also a function of social and economic trends. As countries become more prosperous, more and more people live in megacities, drive cars, live in air-conditioned apartments, and frequent shopping malls.

A couple of years ago in Bangkok, I took lots of photographs of t-shirts printed with global warming messages and of people carrying reusable bags. When I was there recently, all of these things had disappeared. In other words, there is a tendency for people to think of conservation efforts as a fashion trend.

I do not think that any city in Asia is doing enough. We have to start planning cities in ways that use fewer greenhouse gases, and also to encourage people to realize that they can be real agents of change. At the moment, many urban citizens believe they can implement climate change policy by managing rural and forested landscapes. Instead, they need to realize the problems of these approaches, and to see what they can do themselves.

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