East-West Center Oral History Project

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The East-West Center Oral History Project was designed to capture the Center’s first 50 years as seen through the eyes of staff, alumni, and supporters who have contributed to its growth. The project selected interviewees who represent the Center's diverse network over five decades and across the region and the institution itself. Presented on these pages are narratives, created from interview transcripts, that highlight the Center’s rich history of intellectual work, education, collaboration and friendship.

The oral histories were edited to make them more concise, which required consolidating and cutting material. The interviewers' questions have been removed and, where necessary, explanatory material inserted in brackets. We added conjunctive and transitional phrases and subheadings to enhance continuity, but otherwise no words were added to the narratives

The project made every attempt to reflect as accurately as possible the interviewees' recall of experiences and manner of speech and to preserve the content and character of the interviews. The narratives reflect interviewees’ personal perceptions, opinions and memories and may contain errors of fact. The narratives do not reflect positions or versions of history officially approved by the East-West Center.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 48
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    East-West Center Oral History Project : Kang Wu
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2009-03-26) Wu, Kang ; Leber, Terese
    Born and raised in China and schooled at Peking University, 20-year old Kang Wu came to the UH Economics Department in 1985, partially supported by an EWC research assistantship from Seiji Naya in the Resource Systems Institute. Later, as an EWC grantee and then as a research fellow, Wu worked with Ted James and Pearl Imada and then settled in with the energy arm of the Program on Resources: Energy and Minerals (PREM) headed by Fereidun Fesharaki.

    Click on the PDFs to read more. Includes photograph, interview quotes, and the full interview narrative.
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    East-West Center Oral History Project : Brent Watanabe
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2007-02-28) Watanabe, Brent ; Leber, Terese
    Brent Watanabe was born and raised in Hawaii. In 1973, he was married and going to graduate school in counseling and guidance at the University of Hawaii when he took a job at the East-West Center as an Off-Campus Housing Specialist. Over the next thirty-five plus years, Watanabe has served as Housing Facilities and Services Officer, Housing Administrative Officer, and Housing Administrator. In 2001 he became Administrator of Support Services, overseeing management of the entire Center campus.

    Click on the PDFs to read more. Includes photograph, interview quotes, and the full interview narrative.
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    East-West Center Oral History Project : Lynette Wageman
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2007-02-22) Wageman, Lynette ; Leber, Terese
    Lynette Wageman is ethnically Indian and was born in Trinidad, West Indies. She went to college in Missouri where she worked as a student assistant in the library. Later, she and her husband lived in Germany during the raising of the Berlin Wall. Moving to Hawaii, Lynette got a job in East-West Center's infant library in 1962 under its first library director, Dr. G. Raymond Nunn. The library grew rapidly as an avalanche of materials arrived from Asia.

    Click on the PDFs to read more. Includes photograph, interview quotes, and the full interview narrative.
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    East-West Center Oral History Project : Patma Vityakon
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2006-05-22) Vityakon, Patma ; Leber, Terese
    Patma Vityakon, born in Bangkok, went to New Zealand for her bachelor's and master's degrees in soil science on a Colombo Plan scholarship. Returning to Thailand in 1979, she immediately started teaching at the rural Khon Kaen University. Vityakon came to EWC in 1981 as a student grantee to get her Ph.D. studying the effects of soils on human nutrition. She was active in the EWC Participant Association and chaired the organizing committee for the 1984 International Fair.

    Click on the PDFs to read more. Includes photograph, interview quotes, and the full interview narrative.
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    East-West Center Oral History Project : Sarah Vann
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2005-12-29) Vann, Sarah ; Tabusa, Phyllis
    Sarah Vann, professor of library science at UHM since 1969, joined the Friends of the East-West Center with encouragement from her friend, Sumi Makey. In 1990 she became the Friends' president. In 1995, when the Center's International Visitors Program, originally conceived by the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) was about to be cut due to the Centerwide reduction-in-force, Sarah took over this responsibility on a volunteer basis.

    Click on the PDFs to read more. Includes photograph, interview quotes, and the full interview narrative.