The Weatherhead East Asian Institute is pleased to participate in the sixth annual CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections, sponsored by the National Committee on United States-China Relations.  CHINA Town Hall is a national day of programming designed to provide Americans across the United States and beyond the opportunity to discuss issues of Sino-American relations with leading experts. The Weatherhead East Asian Institute in collaboration with the Center for Chinese Legal Studies,  the Harriman Institute, and the APEC Study Center present:

Asia’s Strategic Environment at a Time of Leadership Transition

This event has been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.


Speaker Bios

Alexander Cooley is Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College.  His research examines how external actors – including international organizations, multinational companies, non-governmental organizations, and foreign military bases – have influenced the development and sovereignty of the former Soviet states, with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Cooley has just completed a new book on the politics of U.S.-Russia-China competition for influence in Central Asia, titled Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia (Oxford University Press, 2012).  In addition to his academic research, Cooley has contributed policy-related articles and opinion pieces to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and The Washington Quarterly and he regularly provides commentary to international media outlets on Eurasia-related topics.  Cooley earned both his MA (1995) and PhD (1999) from Columbia University.

Benjamin Liebman is Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies. His research interests include Chinese law, medical disputes in China, popular access to the courts in China, the evolving roles of legal institutions and lawyers, environmental law, and Chinese tort law.

Liebman’s recent publications include Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution in China (Columbia Law Review 2012) and Professionals and Populists: The Paradoxes of China’s Legal Reforms in “China beyond the Headlines, 3rd ed., editors Timothy Weston and Lionel Jensen (Rowman & Littlefield, July 2012).

Professor Liebman received his BA from Yale in Chinese and his JD at Harvard Law School. He was a law clerk for Judge Sandra Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Afterward, Professor Liebman spent two years in practice as a lawyer with the London office of the international law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. His practice focused on international securities transactions and included significant periods working in the firm’s Beijing offices. He joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 2002.

Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.  Professor Nathan’s teaching and research interests include Chinese politics and foreign policy, the comparative study of political participation and political culture, and human rights. He is engaged in long-term research and writing on Chinese foreign policy and on sources of political legitimacy in Asia, the latter research based on data from the Asian Barometer Survey, a multinational collaborative survey research project active in eighteen countries in Asia.

Professor Nathan’s recent publications include China’s Search for Security, coauthored with Andrew Scobell (Columbia University Press, 2012). His next projects are a coedited volume called Ambivalent Democrats, which analyzes data from the Asian Barometer Surveys, and a single-author study of sources of political legitimacy in Asia.
Professor Nathan received his degrees from Harvard University: the BA in history, summa cum laude, in 1963; the MA in East Asian Regional Studies, in 1965; and the PhD in Political Science in 1971. He taught at the University of Michigan from  1970 to 1971 and has been at Columbia University since 1971.


Ambassador Gary F. Locke was nominated by President Barack Obama On March 9, 2011 to be the 10th Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 27, 2011 and was sworn in on August 1, 2011. He assumed duty as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People's Republic of China on August 13, 2011.

Previously, Ambassador Locke served as the Secretary of Commerce where he worked to implement President Obama’s agenda to turn around the economy and put people back to work. As the administration’s point person for achieving the President’s National Export Initiative, he presided over a 17 percent increase in exports from 2009 to 2010, while exports to China saw a 32 percent increase.

Before his appointment to the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Locke served two terms as Governor of Washington. He expanded the sale of Washington products and services by leading trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe.

Ambassador Locke has extensive experience working with China. As Secretary of Commerce, he co-chaired two sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade that resulted in important changes to Chinese trade policy. As Governor of Washington, he strengthened economic ties between China and Washington State, more than doubling the state's exports to China to over $5 billion per year. As a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, he co-chaired the firm’s China practice.

Ambassador Locke is the first Chinese-American to serve as Ambassador to China, as Secretary of Commerce and as Governor. His grandfather emigrated from China to Washington State, initially finding employment as a servant, working in exchange for English lessons. His father, also born in China, was a small business owner, operating a grocery store where Ambassador Locke worked while receiving his education in Seattle public schools. Ambassador Locke went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University.