The Bilden Asia Pacific Forum

Fall 2014 Events

17 September
Kong Dr. Haili Kong- Swarthmore College: "Beijing: The City of Walls." 

On September 17, Dr. Haili Kong, Professor and Chair of Swarthmore College's Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will speak to midshipmen and faculty on the history of Beijing as seen through his latest publication, Beijing: From Imperial Capitol to Olympic City. His publication has been summarized as: "Few world cities have a record as long, as fascinating, or as well-documented as Beijing's. A capital almost continuously for more than a thousand years, the city has been Khubilai Khan's Mongol headquarters, home to emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the main stage for Communist-era achievements and upheavals. Beijing is the first book in English to trace this vibrant city's history from its earliest days to the present. It highlights recent changes in the city as its more than fifteen million people live through record-level economic growth and intensive preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Focusing on the lives of ordinary residents and rulers alike, the authors examine the controversial destruction of historic districts as well as the construction of new residential and business districts and Olympic venues. Extensive photographs and paintings, many not previously published, offer a window onto Beijing not only in major phases of its past, but also in its startlingly different present. Compelling and revealing, Beijing arrives just in time for the city's turn in the Olympic spotlight."

 NOTE: This event, originally scheduled for 24 September, has been re-scheduled until further notice.

Kleine AhlbrandtDr. Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, U.S. Institute of Peace: "The North Korea Dilemma."

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt joined the U.S. Institute of Peace as Director of the Asia-Pacific Program in August 2013.

Previously, she set up and ran the Beijing office of the International Crisis Group for five years, engaging in research, analysis and promotion of policy prescriptions on the role of China in conflict areas around the world and its relations with neighboring countries.

Kleine-Ahlbrandt worked as an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2006 to 2007. Prior to that she worked for the United Nations for a decade where she focused on the African continent and served as Officer-in-Charge of the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, Kleine-Ahlbrandt was seconded by the U.S. Department of State to the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, investigated genocide and other human rights violations for the United Nations in Rwanda (1994-1995), and worked with the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Council of Europe.

Kleine-Ahlbrandt has written extensively on China’s foreign policy, Chinese views of the strategic environment, Sino-U.S. relations, Chinese assessments of the Iran nuclear issue, the Korean peninsula, maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, China-Central Asian relations, China-Myanmar relations and China-Africa relations. Her writings have been published in Foreign AffairsThe New York Times, The Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, Le MondeDie Zeit and the International Herald Tribune, as well as various edited volumes on Asian security. Kleine-Ahlbrandt is also the author of a book on post-genocide Rwanda.

29 October 
ZhouDr. Minglang Zhou, University of Maryland: "Minority Policy in Northeast Asia."

 Minglang Zhou earned his Ph. D. in linguistics from Michigan State University in 1993. His teaching and research interest includes the sociology of language, language and ethnicity, bilingual education, and teaching Chinese as a second language. He authored “Multilingualism in China: The politics of writing reform for minority languages 1949–2002” (Mouton de Gruyter, 2003) and edited four volumes on language policy, bilingual education, and language contact in China. He has also published two dozens of research articles and book chapters on these topics. He reviews manuscripts on these topics for ten international scholarly journals. He recently won a 2009 American Philosophical Society fellowship for his book project Models of nation-state building and language education for ethnic minorities in China, 1949-2009. 

 4 November


Mr. Kevin Ichikawa, the U.S. representative for the Central Japan Railway Company, "The Superconducting Maglev Deployment Project in Japan and the U.S."

Mr. Kevin Ichikawa will meet with midshipmen and faculty to discuss the parallel development of the superconducting Maglev railway system in Japan and the United States. The Central Japan Railway Company is the main railway company operating in the Nagoya region of central Japan.  Most people associate the Japanese railway system with the high speed Bullet, or Shinkansen trains that achieve speeds of 270km/hr, or a 500km route in just three hours.  The modernization program for the Japanese railway system was originally developed in 1940 and grew in tandem with Japanese manufacturing and economic trends.

JR Central is Japan's most profitable and highest throughput high-speed-rail operator, carrying 138 million high-speed-rail passengers in 2009, considerably more than the world's largest airline. Japan recorded a total of 289 million high-speed-rail passengers in 2009. They are engaged in overseas marketing efforts to sell their technology to countries traditionally wed to fossil fuel based transportation.

12 November
Victor MairDr. Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania: "The Impact of the Internet on Chinese Language and Chinese Studies"

 Professor Mair has been teaching at the University of Pennsylvania since 1979. He specializes in Buddhist popular literature as well as the vernacular tradition of Chinese fiction and the performing arts. Throughout the 1990's, Professor Mair organized an interdisciplinary research project on the Bronze Age and Iron Age mummies of Eastern Central Asia. Among other results of his efforts during this period were three documentaries for television (Scientific American, NOVA and Discovery Channel), a major international conference, numerous articles, and a book, "The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West" (Thames and Hudson, 2000). Professor Mair is the founder and editor of Sino-Platonic Papers and General Editor of the ABC Chinese Dictionary Series at the University of Hawaii Press. He has been a fellow or visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong (2002-2003), the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, 1998-1999), the Institute for Research in Humanities (Kyoto University, 1995), Duke University (1993-1994), and the National Humanities Center (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 1991-1992). Victor H. Mair received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1976. He also holds an M.Phil. degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). 

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