Jefferson Fellowships at East-West Center

PRESS RELEASE: The East-West Center is accepting applications for the Fall 2007 Jefferson Fellowships, which provide three weeks of professional dialogue, study and travel for 12-14 print and broadcast journalists from the United States, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The program will take place September 30-October 21. It will begin at the East-West Center in Honolulu and continue with a study tour to Bangkok, Thailand; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam. Fellows will also travel from Phnom Penh to Can Tho, Vietnam, on a Mekong River cruise.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 20, 2007.

Please visit www.eastwestcenter.org/jefferson for applications and details.

The theme of the Fall 2007 program is: “Mekong on the Move: Asia’s New Economic Frontier?”

In three decades, Vietnam has lifted itself from the ruins of war to become what many call Asia’s newest economic tiger. Vietnam, which became a WTO member this year, saw its economy grow by 8 per cent in 2006, supported by robust exports, increased consumption spending and strong investment.

Vietnam has also skillfully juggled its relationships with two longtime former enemies: China, with its increasing economic and political influence in Southeast Asia; and the United States, which is an important investor and source of political balance in the region.

Situated in the Greater Mekong Subregion, Vietnam is linked into a web of ever-increasing economic integration. Abundant natural resources such as coal, oil and gas reserves, in addition to human resources, make this subregion a “new frontier of Asian economic growth” with the “potential to be one of the world’s fastest growing areas,” according to the Asian Development Bank.

Lying in the shadow of China and connected to it by the Mekong River, the smaller countries in the subregion have benefited from improved transportation, telecommunications and hydroelectric power links with their giant neighbor. Southeast Asian nations now import more from China than from the United States. These growing ties with China leave open the question of what role the United States will play in the Mekong subregion.

In presentations to one another and in sessions with specialists at the East-West Center, Jefferson Fellows will discuss a wide range of issues focusing on economic and political development in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the impact of growing Chinese integration in its neighboring countries, and the implications for U.S. interests in the area.

In a 16-day study tour, Fellows will travel to countries at different stages of economic and political development. In Bangkok they will look at Thailand’s more developed economy and recent political challenges, and talk to experts about the Mekong subregion. Cambodia lags far behind Thailand and Vietnam, but looks to its textile and tourism industries and to discovery of oil reserves as major sources of income. In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Fellows will see dynamic Vietnam’s economic boom and market reforms, its relations with China and the United States, and the example it can set for other developing Asian nations.

Who May Apply: The Jefferson Fellowships are designed for working print and broadcast journalists with a minimum of five years of professional experience. The program is open to print, broadcast, and online reporters and editors; “gatekeepers” who help determine the content of coverage by their news organizations; editorial writers, commentators and columnists; and broadcast producers.

Because study sessions, discussions and briefings are conducted in English, fluency in this language is required.

Funding: Airfare, lodging, per diem and most other program expenses are provided through a grant from The Freeman Foundation.

Contacts: Send applications and questions by email to seminars@eastwestcenter.org.

Phone: (808) 944-7384

Fax: (808) 944-7600

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