5/1/19 “GW in the News” Double Feature of Sigur Center Affiliated Faculty

The New York Times quoted Susan Aaronson, Research Professor of International Affairs, in the article “As Trade Talks Continue, China Is Unlikely to Yield on Control of Data,’’ by Ana Swanson. Read more about it here.

The Hill mentioned a paper co-authored by Donald Clarke, Professor of Law, in the article “Only one way with Huawei — don’t let it control 5G,’’ by Adonis Hoffman. Read more about it here.

4/15/19: A Conversation with T.V. Paul


Monday, April 15, 2019
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Room 113
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

This event is open to the public and off the record.

Join the Security Policy Studies Program in welcoming Dr. T.V. Paul, James Mcgill Professor of International Relations at McGill University in Montreal, for our Guest Speakers’ Series in Security Policy Analysis. 

The speakers’ series offers SPS and Elliott School students the opportunity to experience and learn from some of the most influential security experts and scholars in security policy. In particular, it provides our students with a forum to sharpen their analytical skills by being exposed to critical ideas and debates from some of the top critical thinkers. Guest speakers include both practitioners and scholars; primarily people who are contributing pioneering research and shaping the study of peace and conflict. Such people are not only intrinsically interesting to hear, but are role models well suited to demonstrating the importance of studying peace and conflict matters rigorously and applying analytical training to policy analysis.

About the Speaker:

T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the department of Political Science at McGill University. Paul specializes and teaches courses in international relations, especially international security, regional security and South Asia. He is the author or editor of 18 books (all published through major university presses) and nearly 60 journal articles or book chapters. In September 2018, Paul became a Fellow (Elected) of the Royal Society of Canada. T.V. Paul was elected as the 56th President of International Studies Association and on March 17, 2016 he took charge as ISA President for 2016-17.

4/5/19 Interview with GW Student Okinawa Essay Contest Award Recipient

Nina Udagawa, a sophomore majoring in International Affairs at GWU, is the 3rd Place Award recipient of the Okinawa Essay Contest for her essay: “The Okinawan Amerasian Identity—A Vanguard for Japanese Multinationals.” The award includes a trip to Okinawa to meet with professors and students there and gain some inspiration for further research.
Read our exclusive interview with her below: 

1. Please provide a brief abstract paragraph describing the content and main argument of your essay.

My essay looked into the transformation of the Okinawan Amerasian identity over time and the various movements which allowed those in the community to live more comfortably as years passed. To provide some context, an Amerasian is individual who has a U.S. military service member and a local Okinawan as parents. Okinawa is home to many Amerasians because of the prominent US bases in the region. The perception of this identity changed over time; in the immediate post World War II era, Amerasians were killed for being a product of shame, however, the current Okinawan governor was elected by his own people to represent their voice. My essay compartmentalized such transformations in three main sections. Firstly, local organizations appealed and successfully gained the government’s assistance in recognizing the rights of abandoned mothers and Amerasians in the 1970s. Secondly, the discourse surrounding the need to create a safe space for Amerasians emerged through the set-up of the AmerAsian School in the late 1990s. The third, and current phase is about self-affirmation. Although the internet has sparked discussions between the Japanese multicultural community, Okinawan media picked up such discussions and brought them to a wider platform. My thesis argued that  one commonality of the resolution of issues that Amerasians faced was the local support for grassroots activism. This positive response and enacted policies reverberated nationwide, allowing many Japanese multicultural people to live more comfortably. I end my essay with questions regarding the place of multicultural Japanese people in the nation’s society.

2. What motivated you to pursue research on Okinawa?

I have always enjoyed writing papers and pursuing research in the social sciences. My research for this task was topic-motivated. This was because Denny Tamaki, who was elected as governor of Okinawa in October 2018 is an Amerasian. His election sparked a lot of discourse on the Japanese multicultural, along with American identity in society. I came across these many articles when reading the news and started looking into the history of the identity. I already knew about this research topic and wanted to acquaint myself more with the Okinawa collection at Gelman. This was because I heard from professors that it was one of the few collections based on Okinawa in the world. After being exposed to primary sources and personal narratives of those in the 70s and 80s who were mothers of Amerasians who attempted to make Okinawa more accommodating for their children, I was drawn to my topic.

3. What did you learn about Okinawa through this essay contest that you would like most to share with others?

I learned the essence of community in Okinawa through this essay contest. These various movements solving the issues present for Okinawan Amerasian people in Okinawan society showed me that a strong sense of community was a strong reason for such nationwide changes. Many of the advocates for Okinawan Amerasian identity were backed by support from their surrounding communities. Although supporters and prefectural officials were not Amerasians themselves, they showed interest and understanding in the need for legislation or a safe space for Okinawan Amerasians. Therefore, I want to share the importance of the sense of Okinawan community in shaping perceptions towards multicultural Japanese people today.

4. Did you use any GW resources during your research? If so, which ones, and how helpful were they?

Yes, I used the Okinawa Collection at the Global Resource Center in Gelman which was extremely helpful. This gave me a lot of access to newspapers from the 90s which was insightful in understanding how efforts for Amerasians were projected onto the community. I was also recommended a number of books and resources by the Global Resource Center staff and professors which were also extremely helpful in finding sources and ensuring my information regarding the bases was accurate.

5. What do you plan to do during your trip to Okinawa? Are there specific research questions you would like to address while there?

I have always been fascinated by Okinawan culture and am very excited to experience it firsthand. I am currently writing a paper about identity politics in Okinawa for my Japanese politics class, so it would be interesting to talk to people about the importance of the Okinawan identity and what it means to the people of the prefecture.. From what I’ve researched so far, it seems that many Okinawans are extremely proud of their unique culture, so I am sure that experiencing that for a week will be exciting.

6. How has this essay contest contributed or shaped your current academic and professional aspirations?

This essay contest showed me that I really enjoy research and that it is something I would like to continue to do. Although I balanced this research and school work, I felt myself allocating any free time to this essay because I was very passionate about it. I am also interested in the field of U.S.-Japan relations, and this essay showed me the importance of people-to-people connections and civil society in creating social change. It lay an important foundation in furthering my knowledge on how social movements work in Japan.

7. Do you plan to integrate your research about Okinawa with your future research and/or career path?

Absolutely! As a multicultural Japanese person myself, I have always been very interested in the community I have been a part of and our place in Japanese society. In 2016, I gave a TedTalk titled “Double not Half, Reevaluating Cultural Identity” which was about my experience growing up in Japan as one who is half Japanese. I have since been questioning and looking into the idea of what it means to be Japanese, and the importance in answering this question for those of my community to find their place in society. I definitely want to continue my research in this field. Looking into the Okinawan Amerasian identity was crucial in understanding where a lot of this movement originated, and how it had evolved throughout the years. Therefore, I am sure if I continue to delve into this topic, Okinawa and the Okinawan Amerasian identity will continue to surface.


11/21/2019: The Social Organization of the Unspoken: “Informal Organizations in Tajik/Afghan Badakhshan”

Thursday, November 21, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Lindner Commons, Room 602
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies would like to invite you to attend this discussion in celebration of the forthcoming book, Informal Organizations in Tajik/Afghan Badakhshan by Suzanne Levi-Sanchez, Ph.D. This book explores the relationship of informal organizations to the state, civil society, and kinship networks. The fieldwork spanned six years on and off along both sides of the Tajik/Afghan border in Badakhshan doing ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing informal leaders, state officials, civil society leaders, and activists as well as doing focus group discussions. While in both Tajik and Afghan Badakhshan there are various civil society organizations and at the same time, strong kinship networks, there is also this layer in-between – the informal organizations. The context in which the informal organizations interact with the state and/or kinship ties changes their role and influence. Through detailed case studies, this research examines how informal organizations operate. Specifically, the book describes how they intersect with kinship networks and the state, and/or provide a buffer from state control as well as how they mediate between civil society and the state and familial networks, and how they differ depending on the context in which they are embedded.

Associate Director Dr. Deepa Ollapally will moderate the Q&A. 

The event is free and open to the public. Chatham House rules apply; not for public attribution. Lunch will be provided. 

Suzanne Levi-Sanchez, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor for National Security Affairs at U.S. Naval War College. She is an experienced educator, field researcher, and analyst with subject matter expertise in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, political identity, informal institutions, local leadership, borders, ethnographic methods, and gender. Her background includes intensive research on Iranian culture and politics as well as six years on and off on the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan studying how local leaders and organizations impact border and state stability as well as drug, human, weapons, and gemstone trafficking.

Deepa Ollapally (moderator) is directing a major research project on power and identity and the worldviews of rising and aspiring powers in Asia and Eurasia. Her research focuses on domestic foreign policy debates in India and its implications for regional security and global leadership of the U.S.

Dr. Ollapally has received major grants from the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asia Foundation for projects related to India and Asia.

She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show.

3/19/19 India and US: Shared Prosperity, Challenges, and Opportunities

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

City View Room, 7th Floor
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052


FICCI, in partnership with George Washington University’s Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) will host H.E. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Ambassador of India to the USA, in a Fireside Chat with Dr. Ajay Chibber, Chief Economic Advisor, FICCI & Visiting Scholar, IIEP, George Washington University.

The Ambassador will launch a FICCI Report on “Envisioning India: 2030”, an in-depth study of how India can build a competitive economy by 2030; followed by the Ambassador’s remarks on the report, as well as his views on the potential for growth in the U.S. – India bilateral relationship.

The fireside chat will be followed by a panel discussion of industry experts to discuss the competitive advantage of the U.S.-India relationship in the sectors of higher education, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure investments.


Panel Speakers:
Subir Gokarn, Executive Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Sri Lanka, IMF; Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India;

Sofia Mumtaz, Head of USA, Lupin Pharmaceuticals

Adrian Mutton, Founder & CEO of Sannam S4


H.E. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Ambassador of India to the USA, in conversation with Dr. Ajay Chhibber
10:30 AM – 11:10 AM

Discussion with the Panelists
11:10 AM – 11:45 AM

Audience Q & A
11:45 AM – 12:00 PM

3/19/19 GW Student Wins Award in Okinawa Essay Contest

Nina Udagawa, a sophomore majoring in International Affairs at GWU, is the 3rd Place Award recipient of the Okinawa Essay Contest for her essay: “The Okinawan Amerasian Identity—A Vanguard for Japanese Multinationals.” The award includes a trip to Okinawa to meet with professors and students there and gain some inspiration for further research.
The 3 winning essays were:

1st Place: “Passively Passing: Exploring Okinawan identity in the work of Yamanokuchi Baku” by Hilson Reidpath, PhD Student in Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and Literature, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

2nd Place: “Contesting Japanese Post-War Memory in Modern Okinawan Literature” by Christine Mari Inzer, Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies: Asia, University of Richmond

3rd Place: “The Okinawan Amerasian Identity—A Vanguard for Japanese Multinationals” by Nina Udagawa, Sophomore, major in International Affairs, George Washington University

Prof. Mike Mochizuki, affiliated Sigur Center for Asian Studies faculty, will be moderating the 2019 Okinawa Essay Contest Awards Ceremony. 

The details of the ceremony are below.

Title: Okinawa Essay Contest Awards Ceremony
Date: March 19, 2019
Time: 2:30 pm – 4 pm (doors open at 2pm)
Location: Room 702 in Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, George Washington University (2130 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20052)
RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/C2fSFQkzV2ZbEeMe2


This Spring Break: Prof. Janet Steele to give 3 talks in Australia

Professor Janet Steele, Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs, will be traveling to Australia this spring break to give talks at the University of Sydney (March 11), Australian National University (March 13), and Monah University (March 14) on the topic of “The journalisms of Islam: contending views in Muslim Southeast Asia”.


About the Talk:
What is Islamic journalism?
It depends on where you stand. In Indonesia or Malaysia, journalism and Islam can have many different faces.
At Sabili, an Indonesian Islamist magazine first established as an underground publication, journalists were hired for their ability at dakwah, or Islamic propagation. They believed that the solution to the ills of modern society lies in sharia, the law laid down in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad in the seventh century. At Tempo on the other hand, a weekly Indonesian news magazine that was banned by the Soeharto regime and returned to print in 1998, journalists don’t talk much about sharia. Although many are pious and see their work as a manifestation of worship, the Islam they practice has been described as cosmopolitan, progressive, and even liberal. Does Islamic journalism require that reporters support an Islamic party as they do at Harakah newspaper in Malaysia?  Or is it more important to practice the kind of substantial Islam promoted by the Indonesian newspaper Republika? What about Muslim journalists who work at secular news organisation such as Malaysiakini
Journalists at these five news organisations in one of the world’s most populous Muslim regions draw upon what are arguably universal principles of journalism, but understand and explain them through the lens of what I call an Islamic idiom. What they say about the meaning of their work suggests a richness of experience that has been overlooked by both scholars and those engaged in international affairs. 
About the speaker: 
Janet Steele is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, and the director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. She received her PhD in history from the Johns Hopkins University, and focuses on how culture is communicated through the mass media. Her 2005 book, Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto’s Indonesia, focused on Tempomagazine and its relationship to the politics and culture of New Order Indonesia. A frequent visitor to Southeast Asia, she lectures on topics ranging from the role of the press in a democratic society to specialised courses on narrative journalism. Awarded two Fulbright teaching and research grants, she has served as a State Department speaker-specialist in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, the Philippines, East Timor, Taiwan, Burma, Jamaica, Sudan, Egypt, India and Bangladesh. Her most recent book, Mediating Islam, Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia, focuses on what she refers to as an ‘Islamic idiom’ in journalism.

2/6/2019: Professor Ben Hopkins interviewed by the Voice of America

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History & International Affairs at George Washington University, was interviewed by Voice of America regarding US withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan and US position shift towards the Taliban. 

Listen to the full interview below:

2/26/19: Improving China-Japan Relations: Implications for Economic and Strategic Multilateralism in Asia

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Room 505
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052


Light refreshments will be served. This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the Event:

In 2019, the Indo-Pacific region could have three mega free-trade agreements (FTAs): the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement).  Although these FTAs will differ in quality, they all do not include the United States. China seeks to improve its ties with major countries in the region, such as Japan and India, to shape the regional rulemaking process for trade, investment, and infrastructure.  Although Japan continues to be cautious about China’s global and regional economic initiatives, concerns about the Trump Administration’s trade policies and possible tariffs on automobiles have motivated Japan to consider working with China to build a regional economic order that could mitigate the negative effects of U.S. protectionist policies.  During his visit to Beijing in November 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that the Sino-Japanese relationship was entering a new era of cooperation rather than competition.  President Xi Jinping is scheduled to make his first visit to Japan as China’s leader when he attends the G20 Summit in Osaka in June 2019.  This panel discussion will examine the economic and strategic implications of improving China-Japan relations for the United States and consider the advantages of multilateralism as opposed to bilateralism.


Takashi Terada, Professor of International Relations at Dōshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
Albert Keidel, Adjunct Graduate Professor of Economics, George Washington University
Kuniko Ashizawa, Japan Coordinator of Asian Studies Research Council at the School of International Service, American University

Mike Mochizuki, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University


About the Speakers:

Takashi Terada is Professor of International Relations at Dōshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. He received his Ph.D from the Australian National University in 1999. Before taking up his current position in April 2012, he was an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore (1999-2006) and associate and full professor at Waseda University, Tokyo (2006-2011). He has also served as a visiting fellow at University of Warwick, U.K. (2011-12), a public policy scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C. (2012), and an operating adviser for the US-Japan Institute (USJI) (2011-). His areas of specialty include international political economy in Asia and the Pacific, theoretical and empirical studies of Asian regionalism and regional integration, and Japanese politics and foreign policy. His book in Japanese entitled East Asian and Asia-Pacific Regional Integration: Institutional and Normative Competition was published by University of Tokyo Press (2013). He is the recipient of the 2005 J.G. Crawford Award.

Albert Keidel is a development economist specializing in East Asia. His recently completed book manuscript applies lessons from China’s economic success to an understanding of successful economic development. He is a professorial lecturer at George Washington University’s Economics Department, where he teaches a graduate course on the Chinese economy. He previously was a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States and a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  Dr. Keidel served as Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Office of East Asian Nations and as China’s Desk Officer in the U.S. Treasury Department.  Before joining Treasury in 2001, he covered China economic trends, system reforms, poverty, and country risk as a fixed-term Senior Economist in the World Bank office in Beijing (1997-2000).  He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and was post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Tokyo.

Kuniko Ashizawa teaches international relations and serves as Japan Coordinator of Asian Studies Research Council at the School of International Service, American University. From 2005 until 2012, she was a senior lecturer in international relations at Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. Her research interests include Japan’s foreign, security and development assistance policy, U.S.-Japan-China relations, regional institution-building in Asia, and the role of the concept of state identity in foreign policymaking, for which she has published a number of academic journal articles and book chapters, including in International Studies Review, Pacific Affairs, the Pacific Review, and Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. Her book, Japan, the U.S. and Regional Institution-Building in the New Asia: When Identity Matters (Palgrave McMillan, 2013), received the 2015 Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize. Ashizawa was a visiting fellow at various research institutions, including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the East-West Center in Washington, the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, SAIS, and the United Nations University (Institute of Advanced Studies) in Tokyo. She received her PhD in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Mike M. Mochizuki holds the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the Elliott School of International Affairs in George Washington University.  Professor Mochizuki was associate dean for academic programs at the Elliott School from 2010 to 2014 and director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies from 2001 to 2005.  He co-directs the “Rising Powers Initiative” and the “Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific” research and policy project of the Sigur Center. Previously he was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was also Co-Director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at RAND and has taught at the University of Southern California and Yale University.  He received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.  His recent books include Memory, Identity, and Commemorations of World War II: Anniversary Politics in Asia Pacific (co-editor and co-author, 2018);Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia (co-editor and co-author, 2017); Nuclear Debates in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes (co-editor and author, 2016); The Okinawa Question: Futenma, the US-Japan Alliance, and Regional Security (co-editor and author, 2013); China’s Military and the U.S.-Japan Alliance in 2030: A Strategic Net Assessment (co-author, 2013).

1/31/2019: Sigur Center Faculty quoted in new GW Hatchet article

Professors David Shambaugh and Daqing Yang, faculty at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies were both quoted in the recent GW Hatchet article, “Amid political pressure, Confucius Institute will stay open” by Meredith Roaten.

The article takes a deep look into the role of Confucius Institutes in the US, as well as the one on our campus at GW.

Read the full article here.

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