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Southeast Asia Experts to Consider 'Great Transition,' Nov 4

On Friday, Nov. 4, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) at Columbia University will present "Legacies of Change in Southeast Asia: Festschrift (academic conference) in Honor of John Bresnan" to recognize the achievements of this distinguished scholar, teacher, foundation executive, and longtime Senior Research Associate of the Institute.

The daylong event will be held in Faculty House ( 400 W. 117 th Street) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing njs23@columbia.edu.

American perceptions of Southeast Asia have evolved significantly over the past half-century. Once viewed as a critical front in the struggle against communism, the region is now home to important U.S. trading partners and vacation destinations.

Other regional concerns such as China's economic rise and the role of the U.S. in providing humanitarian assistance after last year's tsunami are examples of America's increasingly complex relations in Southeast Asia.

Throughout this gradual evolution, a steady voice in the discussions has been Columbia University Professor John Bresnan. The University will honor his achievements as well as his new book, Indonesia: the Great Transition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005).

During his long career, spanning more than 50 years, Bresnan has made an enormous contribution to Americans' understanding of Southeast Asia. Three core themes have defined Bresnan's interaction with Southeast Asia: economic development and political reform; international assistance to help promote those goals; and U.S. relations with Southeast Asia. In his 30 years with the Ford Foundation, Bresnan was stationed twice in Indonesia, where he supported the establishment of social science research institutions and the introduction of high-yield strains of rice, which helped Indonesia achieve self-sufficiency.

After retiring as head of the Office for Asia and the Pacific at the Ford Foundation, Bresnan served as Executive Director of the Pacific Basin Studies Program at the WEAI from 1982 until 2005. During this time, Bresnan shared his wealth of knowledge of Southeast Asia through an active publication schedule that included books such as: Crisis in the Philippines: the Marcos Era and Beyond, Managing Indonesia: the Modern Political Economy, and From Dominoes to Dynamos: the Transformation of Southeast Asia as well as numerous book chapters and articles. Bresnan also taught courses on Southeast Asia, mentored a younger generation of scholars, and founded the Columbia University Seminar on Southeast Asia in World Affairs, soon to begin its 23rd year.

The cross-disciplinary conference will feature many of Bresnan's colleagues and former students including: Donald Emmerson ( Stanford University), Hadi Soesastro ( Columbia University and CSIS Indonesia), Sidney Jones (International Crisis Group), Donald Weatherbee ( University of South Carolina), and Ambassador Edward Masters (U.S.- Indonesia Society).

The keynote address will be delivered by Theodore Friend, currently a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, the former president of Swarthmore College, author, historian, and expert on Indonesia.

Schedule of Events: Friday, November 4, 2005

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
Opening Remarks: Ann Marie Murphy and Bridget Welsh

9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Keynote Address: "Reflections: Legacies of Change in Southeast Asia"
Theodore Friend

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Panel 1: "Development, Democracy, and Reform: A Region Transformed"

James Morley (chair); Donald Emmerson; Hadi Soesastro; Vincent
Boudreau; Frederick S. Brown; and Bridget Welsh

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Panel 2: "Transforming Relationships: International Aid, NGOs and Actors in
Southeast Asia"

David Denoon (chair); Annette Clear; Peter Geithner; Hugh Patrick; and
Sidney Jones

3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Panel 3: "Relationships Transformed: Changing Relations in Southeast Asian
Foreign Relations"

Robert Immerman (chair); Ann Marie Murphy; Michael Chambers; Ambassador Edward Masters; and Donald Weatherbee

4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks: Ann Marie Murphy

Published: Nov 02, 2005
Last modified: Nov 01, 2005

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