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Celebrating 30 Years of PISA Work
Transcript of Celebrating 30 Years of PISA Work
Establishment of the Committee on International Relations Studies with the People's Republic of China
For five consecutive years, PISA has offered a specially designed, expert-led course for civil servants of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The curriculum is designed to introduce theoretical approaches to understanding the nature and prospects of global cities. The program incorporated experiential learning through site visits to organizations and institutions in New York and Washington, DC.
The Global City in World Affairs Program
Capacity-building Work on Climate Change
Myanmar Advanced Leadership Institute on Climate Change
From October 31 through November 16, PISA welcomed a delegation of 14 government officials and civil society leaders to Washington. MALICC builds on a two-year partnership between PISA and ALARM, Myanmar's leading environmental organization, in order to help mainstream climate change into the nation's policy-making. For more information, check the PISAspeak post: https://pisaspeak.wordpress.com/
Myanmar Leadership Institute on Climate Change
In February 2013, at the invitation of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Forestry of Myanmar, and in collaboration with Myanmar’s leading environmental organization, ECO-DEV (now ALARM), PISA offered the Myanmar Leadership Institute on Climate Change in Naypyitaw for 45 government officials from 12 different ministries.
PISA's Climate-Wise Development Approach
PISA Summer Institute on Global Climate Change
PISA collaborated with the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences to provide a capacity building Institute on Climate Change. October 22-31, 2008, 40 delegates from across the country participated in the Leadership Institute on Creative Responses to Global Climate Change in Hanoi.
Leadership Institute on Global Climate Change
During the first decade of its founding, CIRSPRC facilitated translation of 14 major IR works from English to Chinese for sale and administered fellowships for 112 Chinese scholars of International Relations to study in the United States with leading American IR specialists. Many of these fellows have gone on to distinguished careers in International Relations.
The CIRSPRC-sponsored scholars include, for example:
Dr. Wang Jisi, Dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University
Dr. Ni Shixiong, former Director of Fudan University's Center for American Studies; Current Visiting Distinguished Professor at Liaoning University.
Dr. Yong Wang, Associate Professor at the School of International Studies, Peking University; Director of the Peking University Center for International Political Economy Research.
Dr. Wu Xinbo, Professor and Executive Dean, Institute of International Studies, and Director of the Center for American Studies, Fudan University
In 1987, CIRSPRC developed the first in-country program at Peking University in which US Professors taught short-term courses to Chinese undergraduates. CIRSPRC's in-country programming continued for 15 years, with over 20 participating Chinese institutes.
In 1993, CIRSPRC was asked to offer an in-country training program for scholars and officials in Vietnam, under the auspices of the Institute for International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (now Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam). To reflect its broader activities in Asia, CIRSPRC changed its name to the Program for International Studies in Asia (PISA). Since then, PISA has offered training programs in Vietnam, organized study tours and workshops in the United States for Vietnamese scholars and officials, and arranged workshops to assist Vietnamese institutions develop research and training programs in international affairs.
Dr. Yuan Ming, Director of American Studies Center Peking University:
"PISA, formerly CIRSPRC, has helped and supported the study of International Relations in China for three decades. One of the highlights in my memory is the 1991 conference in Beijing, which CIRSPRC supported. That was a remarkable event, when scholars from the U.S., China, U.K., France, Japan, ROK (Republic of Korea), Canada got together to discuss international relations studies in depth. It was a highly praised intellectual gathering of wise people and inspired even more young people, who are now playing crucial roles in academic activities in China. In the meanwhile, I treasure so much the working relationship with Prof. Robert Scalapino and Professor Harry Harding. Their contributions are enormous and should be remembered."
“I joined what was then known as the Committee on International Relations Studies with the People’s Republic of China (CIRSPRC) in the mid- 1980s, when it was chaired by the dean of contemporary Asian studies in the United States, Robert Scalapino. CIRSPRC was one of three committees, created under the auspices of the Ford Foundation, to promote research and education in law, economics, and international relations, regarded as key subjects for China as it country deepened its program of reform and opening. Under Bob’s dedicated and energetic leadership, CIRSPRC focused in those early years on providing fellowships to promising Chinese scholars to conduct research in the United States or to receive master’s or doctoral degrees from American universities. It also selected and translated major scholarly works in international relations studies into Chinese. These two activities helped train an entire generation of Chinese international relations specialists, many of whom are leaders in the Chinese academic and policy communities today. I had the honor to succeed Bob as chair of CIRSPRC in 1991, at a time when the committee’s work was evolving in several new directions. We began conducting in-country training programs in China as a cost-effective way of reaching larger number of young scholars. We launched a program on curriculum development with partner universities. And as other countries in Asia also to open to the global economy and to join international institutions, we began working outside China, especially in Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, and Laos. In recognition of that fact, CIRSPRC changed its name to the Program for International Studies in Asia in 1983. PISA has continued to evolve after I stepped down from the chairmanship in 1998, with innovative programs on such non-traditional subjects as the role of women in international affairs, climate change, and global cities. Reflecting this, the program’s name changed once again, to Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia – keeping its familiar acronym (PISA), but reflecting a new emphasis on partnerships with a growing network of Asian institutions, as well as the search for strategies to address key international issues. I’ve been enormously proud of the work that PISA has done over the years to help Asian countries develop the capacity to contribute to the study and solution of pressing international issues and to develop collaborative solutions to those problems.”
Second Chairman of the Executive Committee, Dr. Harry Harding
"I taught for PISA at what was then called the Institute of International Relations (IIR) in Hanoi in 2001, along with Matthias Maass, who remains a good friend. Our course was entitled "Emerging Issues in International Relations". I remember that very clearly, because the course ended in mid-2001 and shortly thereafter we had to concede we’d perhaps been a little remiss in not including terrorism as one of our “emerging issues”. The experience was a wonderful one. The IIR students were all incredibly bright and probably the most motivated group I’ve ever taught. I've stayed in touch with some of them and the whole experience gave me a fascination with the politics of Southeast Asia that continues to this day. I've been back to the IIR (now the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam) to teach several times and recently had a wonderful DAV student complete a PhD dissertation with me in my department in New Zealand. My time in Hanoi was terrific fun and took my career in directions I could not have anticipated. I remain profoundly grateful for the opportunity PISA gave me."
Testimonial from Dr. David Capie, PISA-sponsored Instructor of International Relations in Vietnam
"When I applied for a short-term teaching position in Vietnam, little did I know about the power of PISA. After a few months living in Hanoi and teaching at the Institute of International Relations in PISA’s co-operative program there, funded generously by the Ford Foundation, I had deeply fallen in love with the the city, the country, and its people. Since then, I have been back many times, but certainly not often enough. Moreover, as Director of PISA, Linda Yarr was not only a wonderful 'matchmaker' who transferred her love for the country to my co-teacher and dear friend David Capie and myself. She was also a 'career incubator' who encouraged and supported me in my rookie year as a teacher-scholar at the IIR. Along the way, I learned important lessons, for example, that printing overhead slides on an inkjet printer in the morning for use in the classroom an hour later in a country with generally high humidity was not a good idea. Last but certainly not least, I saw first hand the positive impact of PISA’s program in Vietnam, and having been a small part of it was a true privilege."
Testimonial from Dr. Matthias Maass, PISA-sponsored Instructor in Vietnam
Executive Training Programs for Policy Makers
In keeping with its tradition of opening new doors in Asia, PISA joined forces with the Asia Foundation to train Timor Leste’s first cohort of diplomats.
In 2003, PISA began a series of workshops for government officials in Laos in cooperation with the Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thanks to generous funding from the United States Embassy in Laos. PISA offered three training courses at IFA and subsequently, thanks to the support of the Henry R. Luce Foundation, partnered with the National University of Laos to offer a course for teaching staff and government officials on International Law and Covenants.
In June, 29 delegates from various departments across the Taiwanese Government came to participate in a ten day study tour. They visited a number of think tanks and government agencies in order to get a clearer picture of major issues. In addition, they met with the best and brightest at The George Washington University to learn about everything from trade policy to the changing needs for security.
Timor Leste's first diplomat cohort in front of the United Nations, New York City.
Linda Yarr with Paul Cheung, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office and the fifth cohort of GCWA administrative officers.
In-Country Academic Dialogues throughout Asia
In keeping with its track record of opening dialogue with countries, PISA expanded its activities to Mongolia with a series of seminar topics in international relations at the School of Foreign Service, Mongolia National University.
Climate-wise development (CWD) seeks the advancement of the community in tandem with responsible management of natural resources, investment in human capacity, and good governance. This methodology seeks to mitigate the tension inherent in development policies that seek rapid economic gain and the need for longer-term environmental and political stability. View our short film to learn more about climate-wise development.
In 2007, PISA launched a multi-year project to build capacity and support leadership on climate change policy in Southeast Asia
Regional Leadership Institute on Climate Change
In Cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, Bangkok), PISA convened a five-day Regional Leadership Institute on Climate Change (RLICC) in Bangkok, Thailand. The RLICC selected twenty-seven delegates from six ASEAN member countries to critically assess national and regional policies that seek to address climate change and to draft a consensus statement on the need for regional cooperation to meet these challenges.
The RLICC consensus statement:
To address growing energy consumption needs in the region, we recommend a more sustainable strategy than the fossil fuel driven development process: produce low GHG emitting consumer products (sustainable product development using bio-fuels, biogas, and small hydro). At the same time, we need to consider the socioecological risks and vulnerabilities and we must adapt our way of managing and utilizing energy to ensure equal access and benefits that would improve livelihood and bring harmonization to all.
"The RLICC created the opportunity for us to form contacts from city to city, country to country and share our capacity to study effective mitigation and adaptation techniques."
The PISA Summer Institute on Global Climate Change (PSIGCC), from July 6-29, 2009 was held at The George Washington University for 12 participants. The PSIGCC sought to build upon the foundational work of the LIGCC (October 2008), and focused on social justice considerations in the context of climate change and sustainable development.
"We need natural science people to hear the viewpoint of the social scientists. It is very important that we have the network that gives us an opportunity to have wider view of climate change. We don't limit ourselves to a certain view."-PSIGCC participant
The year 1997 saw the establishment of a relationship with the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) at the National University of Malaysia in Bangi. PISA and IKMAS joined the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs to sponsor a workshop on "International Studies in the Era of Globalization: States, Markets, Values."
In 1997, PISA organized a Workshop for the Advancement of Asian Women in International Affairs in Hong Kong. The meeting led to the launch of the Women's Initiative in International Affairs in Asia (WIIAA).
Women in International Affairs
Linda Yarr (second from right) with WIIAA participants, including noted feminist scholar Dr. Maria Mies (center front).
CIRSPRC's First Impacts
CIRSPRC brought Chinese delegations to the United States for academic conferences and tours. One example of a CIRSPRC workshop was the "International Security Project Workshop for Chinese Academics on Issues of Arms Control and Defense Policy," held at the University of Maryland from July-August 1986.
Bilateral Academic Exchanges
PISA's Current Director, Linda Yarr
Following the leadership of John Watt, Douglas Murray and Sherry Gray, Linda J. Yarr joined the Elliott School as Director of Partnerships for Strategies in Asia (PISA) in June 1996. She began her work for PISA in 1995, when PISA was located within the American Council for Learned Societies. Ms. Yarr has secured foundation grants and private donations to underwrite all of PISA's activities and in doing so has benefited from an able team that included Suzanne Kelly-Lyall (former deputy director) and several talented program assistants. Mary Howard, graduate of the M.A. in Asian Studies Program at the Elliott School, joined PISA last year.
2004 Training Course on Economic Diplomacy, a part of the decade-long series with the Ford Foundation's support.
2005 Conference on Comparative Economic Policies in South East and East Asia. Dr. Richard Cronin with participants.
Dr. Anne Cullen of Bond University and Linda Yarr join IIR leaders at a conference in Hanoi.
Continued Partnerships in China
We invite you to explore PISA's work over the past 30 years.
June 1996: PISA moves its executive offices to the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, our current location. PISA's home at this educational institution facilitates academic dialogue and exchange. One of many examples is:
2014 marked three decades of engaging leading institutions in Asia to find creative responses to global concerns. See:
Thank you. We appreciate your taking the time to learn about PISA's work and welcome your support.
PISA regularly sponsors public lectures. Most recently, thanks to funding from the Chino Cienega Foundation, PISA initiated the ASEAN Roundtable Series on Climate Change.
2010: South Korea
Participants of the "Northeast Asian Women's Peace Conference," that convened representatives from five of the Six Party Talk countries, at the DMZ in South Korea, October 2010.
Participants engaged in a role-play exercise.
I joined PISA at the invitation of Harry Harding who recently had become Chair of the Executive Committee. This followed my having been asked to be an external assessor when PISA was going through a formal review as part of the normal requirement of one of its principal funders. When I attended my first Executive Committee meeting, I met a remarkable array of colleagues, many of whom I knew of due to their prominence in the academic and research communities. It was indeed a privilege to be the first non-American to join the Committee, and soon I was followed by the late Michael Leifer from the UK and Seiichiro Takagi from Japan.
Harry, Seiichiro and I had overlapped at Stanford, and Michael and I had worked together on a research project years earlier, so it felt rather comfortable to sit around the table with them along with senior scholars drawn from across the United States. And unlike what so often passes as decorum at faculty seminars where ideas are hotly contested and egos bruised, we had the good fortune of being in the same room because we believed in the goals of PISA. Harry was a remarkable Chair, guiding the members of the Executive Committee into new areas of activity while securing new sources of funding. In spite of strong personalities with even stronger views, individuals patiently discussed and reached consensus due, I think, to a shared appreciation of our common goals. We moved from being China-centric in focus to a major initiative on (and with) Vietnam. We engaged Mongolia and Malaysia, and considered how we might find ways to use the academic venue to open up discussions with colleagues in Burma/Myanmar and North Korea. And we transformed the way we did business with our Chinese colleagues, ensuring that those younger and middle-range researchers supported by PISA would return to China to the benefit of their institutions, colleagues and students.
During those very active years as PISA emerged as a “stand alone” academic NGO with a growing reputation for high standards and positive results, the academic Executive Committee was able to call on Sherry Grey’s considerable talents as our executive director. When some years later Sherry left for opportunities first in a US think tank and then in academia in the Midwest, PISA was fortunate to hire the incomparable Linda Yarr who ensured that our core work in Vietnam along with side projects in Malaysia and then East Timor has led PISA’s transformation into what it is today.
What was the “Program for International Studies in Asia” is now “Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia”, confirming the need to respond to the realities of a changed world. Funding opportunities to support what I might call research capacity building in Asia no longer are so prevalent and may, actually, no longer be as necessary. Rather, track-two type partnerships that engage researchers and the policy communities, whether to facilitate policy-relevant research or to try to affect policy impact is now at the cutting edge of innovative efforts. With Suzanne Lyle-Kelly, until recently Linda’s #2 and also an expert on Southeast Asia and the NGO community, PISA carefully gained support from new stakeholders and new funders. Linda and Suzanne moved PISA into areas as diverse as diplomatic training for East Timor and climate change in Southeast Asia with projects involving Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
All this occurred as the membership of the Executive Committee changed and as we relocated – along with Harry – from Brookings over to the Elliott School of International Affairs at GWU, where new arrangements and Linda’s remarkable diplomatic skills and programmatic successes have allowed PISA to remain.
It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be part of this remarkable academic NGO.
An eminent scholar of Asian Politics, Dr. Scalapino, was a leader in International Relations and first Chairman for the Committee on International Relations Studies with the People's Republic of China (PISA's forerunner).
Dr. David B. Dewitt, Current Chairman of PISA's Executive Committee
Robert A. Scalapino (1919-2011)
Message on PISA's 30th Anniversary from Dr. Harry Harding
Message on PISA's 30th Anniversary from Dr. David B. Dewitt
The group visits the National Mall
Participants with Linda Yarr and Suzanne Kelly-Lyall
PISA leadership with some participants of the RLICC.
MALICC Participant Testimonial:
"This program positively affects my work because I work on environmental conservation with community participation....During this 2 week program, I learned about Washington DC and I met with people who are working on climate change and policy about Burma. I gained both knowledge and precious contacts through this program. I hope I will work with some people here I meet in the near future for our country's fighting climate change program."
Participants discuss a presentation
Learning about GIS technology at the George Washington University's Geospatial Lab
30 years of PISA work
Courses at the Institute for International Relations, Hanoi
"New Perspectives on Sino-U.S. Relations and Asia-Pacific Security," International Seminar, May 4-6, 2002, Fudan University.
Center for American Studies-Summer Workshops on International Security
In response to the Center for American Studies' request for expertise on international security curricula, PISA developed a series of high-level courses focused on key aspects of international security for emerging Chinese leaders. Leading American scholars of International Security lectured in the 8-year program.
Nankai University, Tianjin
: International Conference and Program Development Workshop: Issues in the Asia Pacific Regionalism
: Workshop on Globalization and Regionalism in the Asia Pacific
: Workshop on Regionalism in the Asia Pacific
Renmin University, Beijing (now China Foreign Affairs University)
: Summer Program in China Renmin University and Hangzhou University
: Workshop on Program and Curriculum Development in International Affairs
China Foreign Affairs University, Beijing
2006 & 2007:
Summer Workshops on Active Learning in International Affairs, attended by junior faculty members at universities throughout China
PISA in Washington, DC
Burma in Transition: Climate Wise Development and Sustainable Finance
On October 4, 2012, PISA held a one-day, off-the-record symposium on Burma's political and economic reforms. Suzanne Kelly-Lyall, then Deputy Director, moderated and experts shared first-hand knowledge of the rapid changes underway in Myanmar and suggestions for the country's future.
Linda Yarr introduces the Honorable Minister Ariel Peñaranda of the Philippine Embassy, for his talk on "Disaster RIsk Reduction and Recovery in the Asia Pacific," July 24, 2014.
Ms. Nitya Menon, First Secretary (Political) of the Singapore Embassy, discusses "Building Urban Resilience in the Context of Climate Change," October 8, 2014.
Mr. Roger-Mark De Souza of the Wilson Center spoke on "Building Inclusive Climate-Smart Resilience from the Group Up" in November 2014. View it here: http://media.elliott.gwu.edu/media/partnerships-international-strategies-asia-building-inclusive-climate-smart-resilience-ground
Participants from the Workshop on International Law, June 1996
In June 2013, PISA hosted a delegation of thirteen senior Indonesian diplomats for a two-week Politics and Management Program, which combined academic seminars, practitioner-led active-learning exercises, and off-site consultative dialogues with U.S. officials and representatives of multilateral lending institutions.
The Indonesian delegation with PISA representatives.
The delegation at Capitol Hill.
My transformation with CIRSPRC Fellowship
By Shen Dingli
Professor and Associate Dean
Institute of International Studies
February 28, 2014
My career was totally transformed through a CIRSPRC fellowship from 1989-1991 immediately after I received my doctoral degree in physics in China in 1989. In 1988 I was awarded the CIRSPRC fellowship when it first aspired to help educate a fresh Chinese Ph.D. in science at Fudan University, at the post-doc level in the U.S. in the area of military science and international security. The then Fudan President Mme. Xie Xide, my Ph.D. advisor, recommended me to CIRSPRC and I rushed back from Italy, where I was spending a few months as a visiting scientist at the Trieste-based International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), to be interviewed by Professor Robert A. Scalapino, Dr. Harry Harding and Dr. Douglas P. Murray. Professor Frank von Hippel at Princeton University hosted me for this post-doc training, transforming me to be an arms control physicist and eventually an international security researcher. CIRSPRC has thus contributed a technically trained young Chinese to his country, who subsequently co-set up, in 1991, China's first Program on Arms Control and Regional Security and has since nurtured over 50 graduate and Ph.D. students as well as post-docs in China in this area, promoting China-U.S. dialogue and cooperation in arms control, nonproliferation and regional security.
The late Dr. Nancy B. Tucker meets with CIRSPRC fellows.
Dr. DeWitt at a PISA-sponsored Seminar at Fudan University
Group photo from the June 2000 Workshop on Regionalism in the Asia Pacific, Nankai University
Group photo from the 2003 Workshop on How to do Business with the European Union
Thank you to each of our generous sponsors throughout the years, who make this work possible.
Ford Foundation Representative, Charles R. Bailey, in Vietnam, 2004.
The list of courses from 1994 through 2005 covered a range of sub-fields in International Relations including: International Law, Political Economy, Comparative Politics and Multilateral Diplomacy.
A full list of PISA's donors can be found here:
"I was privileged to be 'present at the creation' of the predecessor to PISA, which was called the Committee on International Relations Studies with the People's Republic of China (CIRSPRC). I remember well serving as the rapporteur and participating in two conferences at the Wingspread Conference Center in Wisconsin that gave rise to CIRSPRC--one in 1982 before I went to China to be the first foreign student permitted to enroll in a department of international politics at Peking University, and one in 1986 after my return. During my time in China, CIRSPRC and the Ford Foundation commissioned me to interview about 100 Chinese fellowship candidates. This opportunity provided a very unique perspective on the fragile field that was just beginning to recover from its decimation during the Cultural Revolution and previous influence of the Soviet Union. In many ways, the field of IR was just being created for the first time since the 1940s in China. It is indeed interesting to note now, thirty years later, how many of these early grantees went on to become significant members of the profession in China and abroad--including Wang Jisi, Chu Shulong, Yan Xuetong, Huang Xiaoming, Shen Mingming, Jia Qingguo, Hu Weixing, Wang Jianwei, and many others.
From the beginning, the CIRSPRC Board and important American philanthropic foundations (Ford, Luce, Rockefeller) had the foresight and decided that one of the best methods for trying to integrate China into the international system over the long term was to invest in the graduate training of this younger-middle age generation of scholars and analysts. If China did not understand how the international system functioned, how could it be expected to participate in it as a 'status quo' actor? The strategy and funding effort was not only focused on Chinese universities, but also on government departments--including intelligence agencies--on the premise that the better informed the Chinese government was about international affairs, the more rational China's policy would hopefully be. On balance and in retrospect, the strategy has proven successful. Moreover, CIRSPRC and its successor PISA can be credited with crucial 'boost phase' assistance to the development of IR studies in China during the 1980s-1990s. This is no small accomplishment (even if it is not recognized in China)."
Message from Dr. David Shambaugh, concerning the establishment of CIRSPRC:
Professor David B. Dewitt
Vice President for Programs, Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); Professor, Department of Political Science, York University
PISA’s work over the years has been guided by the advice and recommendations of outstanding members of the PISA Executive Committee. By volunteering their time, as well as generously sharing their expertise, experience, and networks with PISA’s director, the Executive Committee ensured the quality and credibility of PISA’s initiatives. The current Committee membership includes:
Professor Linda Y.C. Lim
School of Business Administration, University of Michigan
Dr. Muthiah Alagappa
East-West Center, Washington, DC
Professor Harry Harding
Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia
Professor Rosemary Foot
St. Antony's College, University of Oxford
Professor Brian L. Job
Institute of International Relations, University of British Columbia
Professor Seiichiro Takagi
Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo