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Change in direction at Asia-Pacific Foundation
Change in direction at Asia-Pacific Foundation
Joanne Lee-Young
August 30, 2005
New appointments at the Asia-Pacific Foundation mark a change in direction at the Vancouver-based think-tank on Canada-Asia relations, marrying its traditional emphasis on trade, economic and immigration issues with a new focus on political and security matters. The foundation announced on Monday that Paul Evans and Yuen Pau Woo will serve as co-CEOs. Woo is being promoted from a position as the foundation's vice-president of research and chief economist, a perch that has made him an oft-quoted local source on Asian economic and trade trends. Evans has worked with Woo on various research projects, but is new to the organization. He will move from the University of British Columbia where he is a professor and, more recently, acting director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute of Asian Research. "It's an unusual duopoly," said Evans in an interview. "And most duopolies don't often work, but this is one where both partners have worked together in the past and I can't think of a better person to work with. It's a move that builds in continuity and change for a more holistic view." Evans' research has focused on contemporary Asian security issues. He has held teaching and administrative positions at York University and at Harvard University, in addition to board positions on several international institutions including the Asia Society in New York. He is currently completing a dictionary of Asia-Pacific security terms that will be published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. He also directs programs linking major think-tanks and universities across Asia, from Beijing to Jakarta, bringing a host of contacts garnered over 25 years. His major projects deal with wide themes like what the U.S. can do to repair its image in Asia and economic engagement of North Korea. "In some ways, we will be aiming to re-establish Canada as a recognized player in large strategic issues. This has declined in the past decade," Evans said. "Canada's role can be one of prevention at Asian flashpoints [like North Korea and cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan]. We can help find ways of getting around conflict and be supportive of encouraging dialogue." In general, Evans hopes to "help raise the quality of research and analysis coming out of the foundation so that we can raise public attention to the issues and engage senior players in a new way." The foundation, which was established by an Act of Parliament in 1984, recently received a major endowment of $50 million from the federal government along with a $4 million grant from the B.C. government, both aimed at expanding the foundation's programming. "This will provide us with financial stability and predictability. It is a very exciting start, but we are only at the beginning of a period of expansion," said Woo in an interview, adding that the foundation hopes to start tapping sources in the community, from large corporate sponsors to more, private philanthropic individuals, for additional backing. "We haven't tried this yet, but there seems to be a new receptiveness to understanding Asia better." Appointments of Yuen Pau Woo and Paul Evans.
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