PD Council Supports Asia Conference in Santa Fe

Tuesday, March 19th 2013

Saint John's College campus

To announce the Council's support of the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum for its annual symposium (see our Upcoming listing at left), here's a guest article by Pat Kushlis, Council Member and President of the SWAF.

The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum will hold its annual symposium April 8-9, 2013 on  “Living in Challenging Times: the US and East Asia” at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  To make the symposium succeed, the Forum has several cosponsors including the Public Diplomacy Council.

Why East Asia?  The Forum has sponsored several symposia in past years that have focused on current issues of particular concern to the US.  It has also held regular lunch programs on Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and China. Last year’s symposium, Our World in Ferment, included one session on China, but this is the first time we’ve focused solely on the US and East Asia. 

The idea sprung from the Obama administration’s “pivot” towards Asia, a strategy that in practical terms has meant shifting certain US national security resources from the Middle East to Asia as US involvement in wars in the former region diminish and interests in the latter are revitalized.

 The Forum, however, also wants to ensure that the symposium goes well beyond the military sense of the term to an exploration of the vast region around the Pacific Rim to provide a better understanding of these many diverse countries, the interrelationships among them, America’s complex relations with them and how this country can best to interact with them.  A robust public diplomacy component is an important part of this picture.

We begin Monday afternoon with an overview of the region by Ambassador Will Itoh.  Itoh served most of his Foreign Service career in Asia concluding as Ambassador to Thailand.  Ambassador Itoh will be followed by Chris Nelson of “The Nelson Report” with a look at North Asia.  Monday will conclude with a cocktail party for participants and speakers at St. John’s College.

Dr. Suisheng (Sam) Zhao, Director of the Center of US-China Cooperation at Denver University’s Korbel School of International Studies, will begin Tuesday morning with a talk on “A Rising China Seeking Its Rightful Place.”  An expert on the Chinese military will conclude the morning session.  Ms. Frances Zwenig of the US-ASEAN Business Council will talk on Myanmar and Vietnam – does the optimism about Myanmar amount to exuberance and whatever happened to Vietnam?   The symposium will finish with a wrap-up or last thoughts panel by the speakers.

We have built in time for questions and comments from members of the audience as well time to network, enjoy the views or watch the fish swim and the birds play on the campus’s  Greer Garson Fountain – a donation from the actress who had a special fondness for Santa Fe.

“The City Different” will have plenty of available accommodations at various price ranges this time of year.  Here is a link to the Convention and Visitors Bureau accommodations website.  A word of warning for any non-New Mexico residents or others not familiar with the transportation scene:  flights to Santa Fe are expensive, usually not direct, and sparse.  Most people visiting or living in Santa Fe use the Albuquerque airport.  There are shuttle buses hourly to the Santa Fe hotels and also rental cars in both cities.  St. John’s campus is on Museum Hill in the southeast part of the city - unfortunately too far to walk from lodging but Santa Fe is compact and St. John’s is only a 10 minute drive from town (parking is free).   It would be great to welcome you or welcome you back to Santa Fe.               

 The complete list of sponsors includes:

  • UNM’s Center for Science, Technology and Policy, the Albuquerque Committee on Foreign Relations, the American Foreign Service Association and St. John’s College
  • and a number of partner organizations (Friendship Force, the Albuquerque International Visitors Council, the American Association of University Women – Santa Fe Chapter, Women’s Voices, the University of New Mexico’s International Studies Institute and its National Security Studies Program, the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association and the Public Diplomacy Council.)

One person has commented on this article so far

Joe B. Johnson

Board member


Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

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Author: Joe Johnson

We welcome comments from our readers that advocate and shed light on the subject of public diplomacy. We avoid discussion that is politically partisan, commercial in nature or offensive. To prevent inappropriate comments and spam we screen each comment before publishing it, so please excuse us if you do not see your remark right away.

I am so excited to see the

I am so excited to see the result of this symposium. Last year’s symposium was a great success. I will certainly try to participate on this event. 

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