Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA to host fourth annual global citizenship event

September 26, 2014 - University Marketing Communications
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The future of the relationship between the United States and Asia will be featured at the 2014 Global Citizenship Series presented by Stephen F. Austin State University on Oct. 9 and 10 at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square, 16090 City Walk.

The conference, titled "Asia and the United States: Relationship Patterns and Potential," is the fourth annual international conference SFA has hosted in the Houston area.

"The goals of the event are to expose our students, faculty, and the Houston community to world leaders, to enhance understanding of a region critical to our nation's prosperity and security, and to create opportunities for international program development," said Dr. Brian Murphy, dean of SFA's College of Liberal and Applied Arts, which organizes the conference series.

Murphy said the United States is in the process of rebalancing relationships with the countries in the region in both economic and security areas. This shift, he notes, signals a new priority placed on the region by the U.S. The change was noted in 2011 when the administration asserted that "Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress."

Registration begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, and the conference itself begins at 3 p.m. with a discussion featuring ambassadors Harsh Bhasin and Michael Armacost, as well as former EU diplomat Adrian Beresford Taylor.

Armacost has been at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center since 2002. He previously served in Washington, D.C., as president of the Brookings Institution, the nation's oldest think tank and a leader in research on politics, government, international affairs, economics and public policy. He also has served as undersecretary of state for political affairs and as ambassador to Japan and the Philippines.

As U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Armacost was a key force in helping the country undergo a nonviolent transition to democracy.

"In 1989, President George Bush tapped him to become ambassador to Japan, considered one of the most important and sensitive U.S. diplomatic posts abroad," Murphy said.

Armacost is the author of three books, including "Friends or Rivals?" published in 1996 and drawing on his tenure as ambassador.

Bhasin is chair of the Department of Asian and Asian-American Studies at Stony Brook University. Before joining Stony Brook, he served as a career diplomat for nearly four decades with overseas assignments including China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Nepal. He served as India's Ambassador to Botswana, South Africa and Denmark.

In 1990, Bhasin was a senior fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University where he researched the political dynamics of the reform process then underway in South Africa, which culminated in the dismantling of apartheid and the emergence of a multiracial South Africa. He was an official observer at South Africa's first ever non-racial elections in 1994, which returned Nelson Mandela to power.

Taylor is chief executive officer of 4Sing: Foresight and Strategy for Security and Sustainability in Governance. He has worked in more than 33 countries and conducts workshops in English, French and German. His previous positions include scenario planner in a joint venture with Global Business Network, desk officer for India at the European Commission, visiting scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology and director of strategy at the European School of Governance in Berlin.

The conference continues on Oct. 10 with registration at 8:30 a.m. At 9 a.m., a session titled "Socio-political Context: Governance, Regional Cooperation and Demographics" will feature Joseph Harris, Boston University; Ellen Boccuzzi, the Asia Foundation; and Dlynn Armstrong-Williams, the University of North Georgia.

Boccuzzi is senior program officer for governance and law with The Asia Foundation and previously served as a foreign service officer with the United States Agency for International Development, where she managed the agency's media development portfolio in Afghanistan and contributed to USAID strategies on human trafficking and democracy, human rights and governance.

Boccuzzi has served as a researcher with the Asian Research Center for Migration, and she is the author of "Bangkok Bound," a study of Thai rural-urban migration based on an examination of first-hand writings by migrants.

Harris, an assistant professor of sociology at Boston University, is a past recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and the Henry Luce Scholarship. His research explores the role of public health experts and AIDS activists in efforts to institutionalize universal healthcare in Thailand, Brazil and South Africa.

Armstrong-Williams is chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of North Georgia. Her publications focus on South Korea and its status as a "middle power" with the ability to employ diplomacy and achieve recognition. She serves on the University System Georgia's Council on International Education and has served as director of the Center for Global Engagement at the University of North Georgia.

A session at 10:45 a.m. will highlight security issues involving energy, regional threats, immigration and cyber-security. Panelists will include Robert Hathaway, director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.; Carrie Liu Currier, director of Asian Studies at Texas Christian University; and Charles Kennedy, professor at Wake Forest University and author of "Government and Politics in South Asia."

Economic trade, resources, globalization and investment will be the topic of a session at 1:45 p.m. Discussants include Hoon Lee, assistant professor of political science, Texas Tech University; Hiroki Takeuchi, assistant professor of political science, Southern Methodist University; and Troy Stangarone, senior director of congressional affairs and trade, Korea Economic Institute.

The conference will conclude at 3:15 p.m. with a moderators' forum. Moderators for the panels include SFA faculty members Aryendra Chakravartty, Thomas Segady, Steve Galatas and Michael Stroup.

There is no cost to attend the conference, which is open to the public. A noon luncheon will be available at a cost of $25 for students and $35 for non-students.

The relationship between the United States and Europe was discussed at the 2011 conference, and U.S.-Middle East relations highlighted the 2012 event. The 2013 conference focused on the relationship between Latin America and North America.

For more information and to register, visit the conference's website at sfasu.edu/laa/833.asp or call (936) 468-2803.