China Town Hall Meeting Connects Suffolk With The Nation

The National Committee on United States-China Relations and the Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies recently hosted an annual China Town Hall Meeting titled: Local Connections, National Reflections. Presented as a live webcast by Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, the program was designed to provide participants across the United States and beyond the opportunity to discuss current issues with leading experts.

More than 50 members of the Suffolk community gathered in the Suffolk Law School to view the webcast, joining other schools including Yale, Michigan, Cornell, Pennsylvania, Ohio State, Georgia State, and more than 30 additional participating cities and universities. The broadcast was also shown in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei.

“The National Committee on US-China Relations, the co-sponsor for this event, was established in the 1960s at a time when China and the US had no official relations,” says Ronald Suleski, director of the Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies. “Led by far-sighted scholars, the National Committee pushed for a full discussion about the pros and cons of having diplomatic ties. Many in the US objected to dealing with China, a Communist nation. Diplomatic relations were established, and today we have a flourishing exchange of scholars, businesspeople and tourists with China every year. Both of our economies have benefited by having mutual contact.”

Campbell, who holds a PhD in international relations from Oxford University, was introduced by National Committee Vice-President, Jan Berris. He has published five books, most recently, Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Presidential Power (Brookings, 2008). Previously, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and concurrently served as the director of the Aspen Strategy Group and chairman of the Editorial Board of the Washington Quarterly. He was the founder of StratAsia, a strategic advisory firm, and was the senior vice president, director of the International Security Program, and Henry A. Kissinger Chair in National Security Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was also associate professor of public policy and international relations at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and assistant director of the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

Orlins has been President of the National Committee since May 1, 2005. Prior to becoming President, he was the Managing Director of Carlyle Asia, one of Asia’s largest private equity funds. Since its founding in 1999, he has been and remains the Chairman of the Board of Taiwan Broadband Communications. TBC is now one of the three largest cable television companies in Taiwan with over 640,000 subscribers. Prior to being appointed president of the NC, Orlins was a Senior Advisor to AEA Investors Inc., a New York based leveraged buyout firm, with responsibility for AEA’s business activities throughout Asia.

Suleski remarked that getting to share these sorts of events with the Suffolk community is extremely important, as the cultural climate in the United States continues to change, “President Obama just proclaimed in Beijing that the United States is a Pacific nation. It was an important recognition that the US is no longer only connected to its roots in European culture, but must look toward the future, which means looking toward Asia. In the live webcast, we learned some of the latest "inside" news about what Presidents Obama and Hu discussed in China.”