The East-West Center in Hawaii, a U.S. government-funded institute to promote better relations with Pacific and Asian nations, is hardly a center of harmony these days.
At yearend, the four-person energy research team resigned, protesting funding and job cuts and accusing the center's president of jeopardizing the viability of the 54-year-old institution, which receives about $16 million in federal funding and has been a respected forum for geopolitical research and discussion.
The resignations followed a steady paring of the center's research staff during the 16-year tenure of President Charles E. Morrison, reflecting what he says is a more cost-effective strategy. Opponents, meanwhile, say the cuts have weakened the institute's influence that in the past helped shape national debates on U.S.-China relations, U.S.-Asia trade policy and other economic and political issues.
On January 1, 2012, President Barack Obama and his family visited the EWC in Hawaii to view an exhibition on the field work that the president's late mother conducted in Indonesia. The family also visited EWC's well-known Japanese garden.
Here is a Real Clear Politics report from 2013 titled "Funding Games: Sad Plight of the East-West Center." Here are some excerpts:
At a time when the Obama administration seeks to emphasize U.S-Asia relations after years of focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan, the East-West Center (EWC) in Honolulu ought to be flourishing.
Created by Congress in 1960 to promote understanding between the United States and the nations and peoples of Asia, the center is a valuable resource. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton visited the EWC three times and made her most significant policy statements on Asia there. She lauded the center for bringing together educators, students, journalists, and political leaders and contributing to a “sea change” in the region.
...Yet despite these contributions, the East-West Center now faces massive budget reductions that have already resulted in cancellation of some scholarships and now threaten staff layoffs and the elimination of many useful programs.
The East-West Center (EWC) was established in 1960 by the US Congress. Here is a biography of EWC President Charles Morrison. Here is a list of EWC's Board of Governors. Here is its annual report from 2012.