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Jefferson Fellowships

The Jefferson Fellowships program was launched in 1967 to enhance public understanding through the news media of cultures, issues and trends in the Asia Pacific region, broadly defined as Asia, the Pacific Islands and the United States. 


The Fellowships provide U.S. and Asia Pacific journalists with an opportunity to broaden their understanding of Asia Pacific issues and build a professional network through one week of dialogue with professional colleagues and experts at the East-West Center, followed by a two-week study tour to cities in Asia or the U.S. Funding for the program is provided through a grant from the Freeman Foundation of Stowe, Vermont.

Study Tour Destinations: Honolulu, Hawaii; Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, Korea; and Beijing, China

Theme: New Challenges for Asia Pacific Security

Recent events in East Asia like the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, another Japan-China row over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, renewed conflicts over resources in the South China Sea and the most recent North Korean shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, have highlighted the challenges posed by long-standing tensions in the region and the ability of the major countries to manage those tensions. These events come at the same time that relationships within the region are shifting: China-US relations strained by the rise of China, a resurgent Russia, serious discussion within Japan under a new ruling party about the future of the US military presence in Okinawa, and the beginning of a leadership succession in North Korea.

The U.S. has long played a significant role in Asia Pacific security, including the basing of U.S. military forces in Japan and South Korea. Five of the seven U.S. mutual defense treaties are in Asia and many analysts in the region would argue that U.S. naval forces have contributed to regional security and stability across the Pacific since the end of World War II. But economic, political and security dynamics are changing and countries such as Japan and South Korea are revisiting U.S. alliance arrangements as they assess the future roles of the United States and an emerging China.

The Spring 2011 Jefferson Fellowships provide a unique opportunity to explore these shifting security dynamics in the Asia Pacific region and to discuss the future of the U.S. role. Visits to Okinawa and Tokyo will offer insight into the sensitivities surrounding the physical presence of U.S. troops and Japan’s renewed debates about its defense strategy given the perceived threat from North Korea and territorial disagreements with both China and Russia. In Seoul participants will see the realities of tensions along the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the discussions within South Korea about how to deal with the North. Finally, the Beijing program will provide a chance to talk with leaders, analysts, young people and others about how China sees these regional security challenges and its role in dealing with them. The program will begin with a week at the East-West Center to discuss these issues with Honolulu-based analysts, military officials at U.S. Pacific Command and with one another.

Who Can Apply: Working print, broadcast, and online journalists in the United States, the Pacific Islands, and Asia with a minimum of five years of professional experience. Applicants must have the ability to communicate in English in a professional, multi-cultural environment.

Funding: The Jefferson Fellowships are supported from a grant from The Freeman Foundation. The grant funds economy class, roundtrip airfare to and from Honolulu, Hawaii as well as program-related air and ground transportation, lodging, and meals for participating journalists. A modest per diem is also provided. Participants are responsible for all applicable visa fees and any additional visa-related expenses.
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