Room 202, Bobst Center for Peace and Justice 83 Prospect Ave. Princeton, NJ 08544 Phone: (609) 258 3657 email@example.com www.princeton.edu/~pia
Newsletter of Princeton in Asia
The PiA Ripple Effect Over the last 109 years, nearly 3500 PiAers have made the terrifying and exhilerating leap to Asia, living and learning from Asian communities, touching the lives of their students and colleagues, and making life-long friends. Like small pebbles dropped in unknown waters, their impact has an ever-widening effect, rippling beyond them to their communities in Asia and here at home. In this newsletter, we wanted to capture the “PiA Ripple Effect” on this side of the Pacific, and are grateful to the siblings and parents who have taken the time to share their stories with us.
server at our church, she somehow managed to get eleven varsity letters in high school while also doing a million other things, and she got our parents used to the idea of their children doing crazy things in faraway places by studying abroad in college and then going into the Peace Corps after graduation. Kate, now 28, followed suit in her own way, trying her hand at pro basketball in Luxembourg after leaving Princeton and then escaping from a consulting job in New York a few years later to go teach and run marathons in Malaysia through PiA.
The Baby Brother Jack Thirolf (’06 Rach Gia, Vietnam), Kien Giang Community College Even now that I’m out of college, I still get introduced as “the baby brother” whenever I meet someone through either of my older sisters. It can be a bit humbling but, thanks to my freakish height (6’6”), it usually gets a good laugh. And I definitely prefer it to the other option, “the accident.” Being the youngest cerPiAers Jack Thirolf and Emily McWilliams tainly came with its downsides (being with Trustee Jon Wonnell and their students at Kien dragged to countless field hockey games Giang Community College in Rach Gia, Vietnam. tops the list), but I know now that it also put me in an incredibly privileged position I’m thankful to my sisters, not just because that has helped lead me to where I am to- they set a path that’s been easy for me to day, teaching at a community college in the follow, but because they showed me the joy you can find in challenging yourself to do Mekong Delta. something different and difficult and the My sister Julie, now 31, was the trailblazer satisfaction you can get from building a life in the family. She was the first female altar of service abroad. Whether I’m banging
my head in frustration over power outages that sink my lesson plans or I’m watching the setting sun turn the peeling paint of our old concrete school an unbelievably beautiful shade of pink, I’m living the life I hoped I might live when I heard Julie and Kate describe the challenges of their time abroad. I’ve signed on to teach another year at Kien Giang Community College because I keep uncovering the thrills and trials that I’ve always heard my sisters talk about and that I’ve always wanted to find for myself. China – Two Successive Years Ilana Wolfe (sister of Ari Wolfe, PiA China Program Director and 2nd year fellow at the Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou) “You’re going where!?!” This was the question incredulously asked by my parents several times after my brother decided to accept his PiA post in Guangzhou, China. Ari probably couldn’t have gotten farther away from home, even if he tried. The line between him and me became, “Wow, China, it’s like this whole other country!” It was a joke, but also an incredibly real reminder that Ari was soon to be off to the land of dragons, pagodas, dynasties, and the unknown. Initially, Ari’s going to China meant packing up an apartment in Boston, the prospect of huge phone bills, and two very worried parents having to deal with the stress of a child being half-way around the world. (continued on page 3)
Program Update At a time when the need for tolerance and mutual understanding between cultures is acute, Princeton in Asia’s mission of facilitating the exchange of ideals between cultures is as important as ever. We are committed to providing service-oriented immersion experiences for talented young people, and we continue to grow and enhance the program’s offerings in pursuit of these transformative experiences. This past year, PiA experienced a marked increase in applicant interest in Asia and saw rising demand from Asian partners requesting fellows in new corners of the world. As a result, PiA will be supporting 125 fellows and interns this year in 17 countries in Asia. New and noteworthy are PiA’s launch of fellowships in Cambodia and India. New Programs in Cambodia and India In Cambodia, PiA has established three fellowships in the fields of journalism (at the Phnom Penh Post), teaching (at the Royal University of Phnom Penh), and at a wildlife preservation organization (WildAid). In addition, PiA re-established our program in India after a thirty-year hiatus with three fellowships at an environmental organization (TERI) in New Delhi, at an orphanage in New Delhi (NAZ Foundation), and a teaching post at the Kodaikanal International School in Madurai, where Princeton President Robert Goheen ’40 studied. We were very pleased to celebrate the re-launch of the India program at PiA’a annual gathering of alumni at Princeton University’s Prospect House in May. President Goheen, a former US ambassador to India, was in attendance to help celebrate the landmark
Karen quickly made friends in India with a young aspiring “industrialist” she met on the trip from Tamil Nadu to Mumbai.
occasion, as was another former US ambassador to India, Frank G. Wisner ’61, who delivered the keynote address. Spanning 85-years of links between Princeton and India was an inspiring send-off for the new PiA India fellows about to embark on their own India journeys. The Princeton in Asia fellowships in India were inspired by the legwork of two Princeton seniors, Ritu Kamal and Sanhita Sen, who had a vision for fellowships in India and brought their ideas to PiA’s doorstep. The PiA Trustees embraced the notion of sending fellows to India as the organization had done in the mid 70s and quickly marshaled the resources to make these seniors’ vision a reality. Before we could learn to say chicken tikka masala properly, Program Director Leslie Medema and PiA Trustee Karen Karp had their sari’s packed and were on a plane to the land of the Bhangra beats. They conducted an extensive site visit, met with 10 organizations, established an in-country safety network and returned with inspiring stories, pictures and opportunities for PiA fellows to live, serve, and learn from communities in India. Here are some excerpts from their impressions: “When I stepped off the plane in Delhi, I was at peace and excited at the same time— the feeling you get when you are coming home after being gone a long time. It was different than the last time I was here. I spent a summer here in 2003 in the 110 degree heat with people that changed my life
For years, the leadership of PiA had discussed moving back to India with the program. It always seemed right, yet it always seemed daunting. This year, the stars aligned, and I volunteered to accompany Leslie Medema, our stalwart program director on an intense eight day trip through India to interview potential host institutions and secure several posts for the first PiA fellowships in India since the 1970s. From the leafy “margs” of Delhi to the hilly plains of Tamil Nadu to the pulsating back streets of Mumbai, we met highly enthusiastic hosts who threw their arms open to the idea of PiA fellows in their organizations. I can’t think of another country in Asia where we will have such a diversity of opportunities for our talented college graduates. It’s never been a better time to reenter this country. —Karen Karp, PiA Hong Kong ’81, PiA Trustee
and my waistline. Last time, I was afraid to get off the plane. This time, I took a deep breath and let India seep into my lungs and pores. The smell that defines Delhi was ever present. As my cab driver said “you can feel the smell.” I love that smell – the mix of humanity, spices, colors, yes colors, animals, refuse. It has a life force.
Leslie Medema with staff and children at the NAZ orphanage in New Delhi.
“I remembered immediately all that India had meant to me and all that it could offer for our new fellows. A place where yesterday’s experiences pale in comparison to today’s, and every day brings a connection that deepens your understanding of the culture and challenges you to learn about your own culture in the process. There are so many reasons to feel alive and invigorated here—not only because the senses are popping at everything and the music pulses, but also because it’s a place that exudes incredible depth and mystery for me, where change for the better and progress for some rubs shoulders with the abject needs of many others. “I traveled to India with a member of the PiA Board of Trustees, Karen Karp. Karen and I experienced countless plane rides, some with unexpected stops, roads unkind to the weak stomach, incredible spices, and the sensory overload that just “is” India. To be able to experience India with Karen and her incredible memory for the places she has been, for the food, and energy for exploring and building relationships for PiA was wonderful. And if I could do it all over again (wish I could) I would hold out for the Bollywood fellowship.”—Leslie Medema ’04, PiA Program Director
Trustee Report from the Field Dear PiAers: In November, I had the incredible pleasure of accompanying Anastasia for part of her six-week sprint through Asia. The flavors, fragrances, colors, people, sounds, dirt, and buzz reignited Asia for me. In only two weeks, we visited Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia. Here are my key “takeaways” from the trip: Transformation: Our fellows are making a difference, and our host institutions are better for it. This is true whether fellows are teaching, writing, analyzing, or traveling; or whether hosts are schools, newspapers, NGOs, governments, or businesses. Service: Most, if not all, of our hosts wanted more fellows. As a small organization, we cannot meet all the demand, thus we must focus on positions where we can have a maximum impact on both host and fellow. PiA must focus on making a difference.
PiA Trustee Jon Wonnell and the “lucky coin” toast with PiA fellows Danny White and Wes Hedden and their colleagues from Can Tho University, Vietnam.
a troubled past, Cambodia is desperately trying to start a new chapter in its development. PiA can make a real difference.
Second Years: Staying for a second year magnifies the PiA experience on many levels. The overwhelming feedback from hosts was that a second year greatly benefits all involved.
Network: The PiA network is an organism to treasure and the largest single asset that we have. We must help it reach its full expression in support of PiA’s mission.
Cambodia: Cambodia needs PiA and PiA needs Cambodia. A beautiful country with
Leadership: We are in excellent hands with Anastasia, who superbly played the
roles of travelmeister, stormtrooper, maitre d’, scout, fundraiser, decision maker, taxi negotiator, listener, denmother, backpacker, and roadside eatery companion—all the qualities of a stunning Executive Director! We are truly lucky. The line is already forming for the now annual Trustee Pilgrimage to Asia. —Jon Wonnell ’81, PiA Trustee
The PiA Ripple Effect (cont.) (continued from page 1)
Now that the Wolfes’ PiA experience is almost over, we are able to see Ari’s time in Guangzhou very differently. Through Ari’s blog (http://blogs.princeton.edu/ pia/personal/awolfe) and our two fantastic trips over to China and Hong Kong, the world has been opened up to us. Our first trip to visit Ari was one of curiosity. We were able to see where he was living, where he worked, and how he managed in a country with a truly foreign language. We were also able to see a new part of the world. I remember sitting with wide-open eyes on the bus in Guangzhou, waiting to pass intricately decorated pagodas or drag-
ons guarding ancient palaces. Instead, we passed neon lights, banks, and the tallest skyscrapers that I had ever seen (and I’m a New Yorker!) We were amazed by the marvels in the open markets, the technologically advanced subway system, and the ridiculously high prices in Starbucks. The most amazing experience for everyone though, was speaking with Ari’s students who asked us questions about religion, politics, and American pop culture. Sitting on a small bridge in the middle of Hua Fu, the high school where Ari has been teaching, my family and I discussed what it is like to be a teenager in America and the stresses of life for the average Chinese high school
student. Aside from feeling like rock stars because of the smiles and applause that we received, I think that the entire family felt as if we were a part of an international community, one where people wished to learn about each other and break down barriers. Our second trip to China was much, much different. Gone were our surprises that everyone stared at us on the street because of our white skin. We were no longer shocked by the difference in culture, and we even felt excitement at the prospect of seeing people we met the previous year. We were able to get a more in-depth view of Guangzhou, perhaps because we looked at the city through different eyes, but also because Ari
The PiA Ripple Effect (cont.) was more than a short-term visitor. He was a “regular” who had found his favorite restaurants, chatted with taxi drivers, and knew where to find anything (food or otherwise) at its cheapest price. Ari also had greater insight into a country that most Americans feel is a mystery. Now that we have had the experience of two trips to Guangzhou and two years of Ari’s insight and explanation of all things Chinese, the whole Wolfe family has had their eyes opened. We read articles in the NY Times a little differently, watch the news with a more critical eye, and feel the need to share our newfound knowledge with others. Ari may have called Guangzhou home for two years, but in some ways the rest of the family has too. Our combined experiences will continue to have an impact on the way we live our lives and view the larger world.
During my time in Chiang Mai with Heather, I had the opportunity to sit in on a few classes she taught at Chiang Mai University, which proved to be a truly rewarding experience. The kids really responded to Heather as a foreign teacher and showered her with enthusiasm. They were extremely eager to learn English and enjoyed themselves thoroughly while in the classroom. As intimidating as being a foreign teacher can be, Heather was able to really connect with the students. Seeing first hand the type of work a PiAer does has made me consider international work for my future, especially in education.
Sisters in Thailand Becca Jackson (sister of PiA fellow Heather Jackon ’06 Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand) My whirlwind trip to Thailand was more unique and full of surprises than I ever could have imagined. Upon my arrival, I did my best to keep an open mind and embrace whatever Thailand had to offer. Having my sister (Heather Jackson) there as a PiAer gave me the opportunity to truly see how Thais live, and I quickly found that Thailand is a country in which knowing a resident was more than helpful. Between bartering for goods at the Chiang Mai night market or flagging down a tuk tuk (taxi) for a ride into the city, it was great having someone there who knew about all the unique customs and ways of living in a country so drastically different from mine.
Ari, Ilana, Bonnie, and Joel Wolfe enjoy the best Cantonese food that Guangzhou has to offer.
Also during my stay in Thailand, Heather, her housemates, and I took a trip up to Chiang Rai to visit some other PiAers posted there. The estimated three hour ride (which somehow turned into seven hours along with a few bumps and bruises) was well worth it. We spent the evening eating Thai cuisine and most of an afternoon exploring one of the hill tribe villages of Northern Thailand. There, we were able to play and feed some elephants (a true staple in any trip to Thailand!) As hard as it was to believe coming from such a developed country, Heather and the
other PiA members that I met really were able to adapt to such a different lifestyle and embrace what Thailand has to offer. Upon Heather’s return to the USA, she has brought back much of the Thai culture including many things I was unable to experience such as Thai kickboxing and even the fashion (although baggy fisherman pants don’t seem to hold up as well in our culture). No Lonely Planet guidebook or emails and postcards from Heather can match the experience of going over and seeing it for myself. A Letter from a Mom The mother of Morgan Galland (Fellow at The World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Vientiane, Laos ’06) Dear Anastasia, I just wanted to tell you that David and I and our son Josh, visited Morgan in Laos over Christmas time. We spent over three weeks traveling, and we visited Vientiane, Luang Prabang (Laos), Hanoi, Saigon (Vietnam), Siem Reap (Cambodia), Chiang Mai, and Bangkok (Thailand). Morgan was able to travel to some of the places with us. We had the very best time. Morgan absolutely loves her experience there, both culturally and professionally. After visiting, I can see why. The people she works for are just lovely. Her Laotian boss is like a mother. They do things as a group regularly and include their families. They do a lot of eating!!! We are so impressed with her. She is even speaking Lao. She has lots of friends from all over. She can probably visit half the world and never worry about a place to stay. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I still worry about her all the time, but in a different way than before I went to see her. I am so jealous of her experience.
Retrospectives on Teaching Teddy Moynihan ’06 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Laura K.O. Smith ’05 Rach Gia, Vietnam
It has definitely been an incredible year of teaching and learning, and it has convinced me that I want to teach as a career in the States. Right now there is a stack of Shakespeare term papers glaring at me from across the office. There is really nothing that compares to the excitement of convincing students that they can decipher Shakespeare (and write great papers about it) or convincing them that they might actually enjoy it once they do.
Coming out of my time in Rach Gia, I obviously reflected a lot on what I had gotten out of it, what I had given, how others had benefited, and how others had given to me. I felt that one of my biggest accomplishments was encouraging one of our students. He was a kid that just got by. Something about him caught my attention. He had an eagerness in his eye, a certain desire to want to get better, but no one had given him the chance. I ended up getting to know his family quite well. They cared a lot about him, but he had been told by many that he just wasn’t smart. He is also incredibly funny. By the end of the year he was one of our top students. He now goes to coffee shops with his friends, and they only speak English. He got a summer job as a teaching assistant for an English class of elementary school kids. I was thrilled in January to receive this email:
I don’t know if I told you about one of my favorite teaching moments when after class one day I had a little review session outside the English office. After about an hour of discussion and questions about the midterm, I got up to head home. After packing up my stuff, I walked by the students again and they were all outside still discussing the Keely Robinson (‘05 Prince Royal College, Chiang Mai, Thailand) with one of her kindergarten students. plays. I can’t convey my excitement when I overheard one student explainHi , ing to another, “...no, that’s not why Cas- Vanessa Pralle I am happy because you still remember sius wants to kill Caesar, look...” ’06 Nan, Thailand me, Just kidding. On the New Year’s I went to HCM City with Emily, Jack, and some A similar victory was the day I faked a sore Alex and I wrapped up our final day of foreign teachers from Can Tho. I hope that throat to prove to the students that they did teaching on Tuesday. We completely unI can see you again. I miss you and your not need me to understand the play. For derestimated how much time (and how mom, aunt. How about you on the New homework, I had asked each student to many boxes!) it would take to move out, Year’s? What’s new? Cheers, your Vietpick out a passage that they felt was par- but at last we’ve finished! Alex left yesnamese student. So now my English is a bit ticularly beautiful, revealing, or important terday morning, and it was kind of surreal better. You are a person who changed my to the movement of the plot. I gestured that saying goodbye to her, considering we’ve English. Thank you too much to my lovely, I had lost my voice and motioned for them been more or less attached at the hip for friendly teacher. to circle up and then pointed to a student ten months. and gestured “you start.” Things like this are totally the reason peoI feel so cliche writing this, but these ten ple become teachers. I love it. It’s great to Before long I had slipped out of the circle months in Nan have changed me in more think that I made a difference in someone’s and perched myself in the corner, watching ways than I can even describe. The sense life. as my students commented on alcohol as of peacefulness is infectious, and surrena tool of oppression over Caliban, Prospe- dering the control that I’ve always held Kai Evenson ro’s motivations for testing Ferdinand, the onto has been a tremendous lesson. This ’06 Wuhan, China origin of Sebastian and Antonio’s ruthless special community has shown me true ambition—all while citing act, scene, and love and generosity which I hope to recipI’m just finishing up my last week of teachline from the play. rocate for the rest of my life. Never before ing here, it’s very strange—hard to believe have I felt such a sense of pride and bea) I’ve been here for a year, and b) I’m leavI hope I haven’t bored you, or sounded longing somewhere, yet at the same time ing in a week. I’ve really enjoyed my time boastful, I just wanted to let you know how acknowledging that I am an outsider, so here, and I can’t thank you guys enough for grateful I am to be able to do this. This I must be mindful and respectful of Thai facilitating this. It’s definitely been a life has been an incredible year, a year that may culture. Thank you for providing me with changing experience, and it scares me to have decided the next many years of my such an unforgettable, moving, and lifethink about what I’d be stuck doing in the life. Thank you. changing experience. States if I’d never come.
Alumni Notes Second Generation PiAers Shanghai residents Seth Grossman (’94 China) and his wife Hong welcomed their second child, Paul Justin, on November 5. To add to the excitement, Seth started a new job in January as the Communications Planning Rana Tuttle was born on March Director in China for Carat 7 to Tom (’88 Indonesia) and his Media, helping clients devel- wife Mila. Big brother Kiran is op effective marketing strate- thrilled to have a playmate at gies. home. Recruitment begins for PiA 2028 with new additions to the PiA fold. Congratulations to Andrew Fetter The lovely Anna and Emma, (’91 Korea) and daughters of Sharon Vol- his wife Anna on ckhausen (PiA Trustee and giving birth to a Korea alum ’91). fourth Fetter— Joseph—on January 10. A Santa stork also made a December delivery to Paula Chow (PiA Trustee): a fifth grandchild, Isabella. Hilary Roxe (’97 Hong Kong and PiA Trustee) and husband Christopher welcomed Ella (pictured here). Karen Tonneberger (’83 Hong Kong) is living in Salt Lake, nursing a sense of adventure in her four children. Her 16-year-old son will go to school in Brisbane, Australia next year, and the family hopes to stop in Hong Kong on the way to visit him in June. Spring into School From China to study carrels, Lizzy Hallinan (’03 China), Patrick Douglass (’03 China), Mark Turner (’06 China), Dan Mattingly (’04 China), and Jeff Colen (’05 China) have all been accepted to graduate schools in foreign affairs, law, and film. Before hitting the econ textbooks, Lizzy will spend the summer gallivanting through Indonesia. PiA Indo fellows beware. In the words of Lizzy Hallinan “the Lonely Planet is a big place.” James Young (’05 Singapore), braving another Colorado winter with his family, plans on applying for medical school in the fall. When not skiing, James works at a hospital.
The Adventure Continues As an intern at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg in Germany, Heather Gilmartin (’05 China), uses her China experience to research the recent North Korea nuclear test.
Daniel Zook (’03 Vietnam) was in Kigali, Rwanda in July working on a distributed energy project with a South African company called Freeplay Energy. He kept a blog of his adventures at: http://danielzook. blogspot.com. After Rwanda, he will begin a full time job with Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai as a business planning manager for the consumer banking group. Last year, Amy Wong (’96 China) returned to China to work for the Kenan Institute’s new Global Suppliers Institute. Traffic trauma (it’s gotten worse!) aside, it was fantastic to be back in China. Post-PiA, Leslie Kwoh (’04 China) got her feet wet as a reporter at The Standard, one of two English-language newspapers in Hong Kong. She covered the full gamut of stories, from the WTO riots to Cantonese egg tarts. As she plots her next journalism move, she’s freelancing for an LA-based travel company, Let’s Travel China. Mark Conrad (’02 China) flew the Cambridge coop in 2005, law degree in hand, to clerk for a ninth-circuit federal appellate judge in Seattle. He now calls San Fran home and works for a federal district judge. His wife, Joyce, a Bay Area native, is a private chef. Laura K.O. Smith (’05 Vietnam) was recently moored in Norway as part of her geology gig with CGX Energy, Inc. She befriended a Rach Gia expat in Oslo over a bowl of $13 pho! Price-gouging notwithstanding, K.O. is enjoying Norway’s winter wonderland (her new hobby: speed skating). In keeping with
her blog’s tagline—“staying in one place is difficult”—K.O. is now on the high waters aboard an oil vessel. Michael Colangelo (’79 Japan) has translated his decade of teaching experience in Japan (during which he founded a school!) into a new venture in Harlem hospitality, opening New York’s first English-teaching B&B in historic Sylvan Terrace (aptly named Michaelny). He writes: “I hope to indulge myself in a pursuit that I love—teaching English—as I welcome people from all over the world.” Get the fruit basket ready. Last time we saw Tom Klein (’04 Thailand) he was headed to China. He couldn’t resist a stop-over in Thailand, his old stomping grounds. In June he left Goldman Sachs to join Fremont Partners, a San Francisco–based private equity firm. He is eager to have the time to explore San Francisco and host PiA get-togethers. Amy Kohout (’05 Laos) wrote from New Mexico about the new addition to her family: “His name is Bohpenyang (a favorite Lao word meaning no problem, it’s okay...). He will be known as “Bo” for short. He is a 5-month-old, 19 pound lab retriever mix from the Albuquerque dog pound, and he seems to be adjusting to his new life quite well. (Life is good when you have a bacon flavored bone to chew on!)” PiA in Print Ginna Vogt (’77 Yemen) published an essay “Dancing Lessons from God” in the literary magazine Poemmemoirstory (www.pmsjournal.org) about her experiences during Ramadan of 1977 in Yemen. Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures was featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Action Asia Magazine. The cover, a story, and photos in the magazine all feature Thailand’s premier rock-climbing outfit started by former PiA fellow Josh Morris (’99 Thailand). He invites you all to visit them in Chiang Mai. http://www.thailandclimbing.com
Jonny Haagen (’02 Shenyang, China) looks to be a life-long Beijinger making his name as a writer, nearly unforgettable host, and now actor. He starred in a recent play titled “I Heart Beijing” described as a “rowdy sendup of life in the capital.” For more on the play, see http://www.iheartbeijing.com/blog. (Haagen is on the far left.)
Once PiA, Always PiA
PiA wouldn’t run with out the generosity of its alums. Big thanks to the following for help with interviews this year.
All the PiA fellows who have served in Dili, Easte Timor have remained in the country beyond their fellowships, continuing to work with the Timorese.
From the east: Dan Mattingly (’04 China), Ginny (Parker) Woods (’96 Japan), Sarah Mankes (’04 Japan), Will Leahy (’02 China), Jim Secreto (’02 China), Drew Kumpf (’04 China), Sue Fou (’94 China), Lizzy Hallinan (’03 China), Matt Kawecki (’04 China), Farook Ahmed (’04 Korea), Dan Grabon (’04 Korea). From the southeast: Tedders James (’04 Thailand), Kishori Kedlaya (’02 Thailand), Jess Illaszewicz (’04 Thailand, ’05 Vietnam), Mike McMahon (’04 Thailand), Jenaro CardonaFox (’00 Thailand), Serin Marshall (’04 Thailand), David Newhouse (’95 Indonesia), Brian Vogt (’96 Indonesia), Alisha Blechman (’04 Vietnam), Emily Stecker (’04 Malaysia), Amy Kohout (’05 Laos)—shout out for all of the office help too!, Catarina Krizancic (’92 Thailand), Jason Pearson (’92 Thailand), Vince Faherty (’03 Singapore). And alums who made benefit the great nation of Kazakhstan and PiA!: Blair Blackwell (’96 Kazakhstan), Edgar Chen (’97 Kazakhstan).
Current PiAers and alums Angela Sherwood, Sally Torbert, Kate Roll, Anastasia Vrachnos (PiA Director), Caroline Carter, and Callaghan Kennedy meet with the President of East Timor, Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta, who held a dinner at his home in honor of PiA’s presence in East Timor.
Alum Afterthought As I was driving on the wrong-side-of-the-road-for-Americans in my Honda “Modelwedon’thaveintheUS” rental car, I just started laughing. Maybe it was the increasing altitude, but the fact that A) I was back in Chiang Rai, and B) I was SO GLAD to be back in Chiang Rai struck me as hilarious. If you had asked me three years ago, starting my last semester at UVA what my life would be like now, I would have likely said law school, a ton of debt, and salvation through happy hours. I agreed to take my Chiang Rai post on 24 hours notice, left three weeks to the day later, stayed 15 months and learned what feels like a lifetime’s worth of lessons in that short time. I learned how much further a smile gets you than strong-arming anyone or raising your voice even when your flight is about to leave without you and how appreciative people are for little signs that you are seeking to understand their point of view instead of pushing your own. I learned how little I know—about history defined as 5,000 years ago, about the world at large and in small countries specifically, about everything outside of the States in general and the East Coast in particular. I’m sure I don’t have to remind anyone of how absolutely freaked out I was once I landed here. My experience in Chiang Rai has opened more doors than I ever could have imagined in my wildest dreams—I literally just walked out of a meeting with a (minor) Thai prince who served as the Personal Secretary to the Princess Mother and is now the CEO of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation. He was wary of my foundation because he didn’t understand our motivation for coming to visit (purely learning from their success). Yet because I was “Chiang Rai people” he has totally turned around, agreed to have a sit-down meeting with my boss, and engage in collaborative projects with us. When I walked out, his principal advisor, an American, turned to me with his jaw open and said, “WOW you really made an impression on him, gold star!” Kristen Tracz ’04 Chiang Rai, Thailand Currently working for the Blue Moon Fund, a Virginia-based non-profit that is seeking to improve the relationship between human consumption and the natural world.
From the Board of Trustees: Elise Van Oss (’77 Japan), Richard Van Horne (’71 Japan), Sarah Van Boven (’99 Vietnam), Karen Karp (’81 Hong Kong), Jon Wonnell (’81 Taiwan). From the west (or east depending on how you look at it) at our California round of interviews: Michelle Capobres (’97 China), Lesley “Hands” Williams (’91 Thailand)—thanks for the office space as well—and Lynne Rosen (’01 China, ’02 Vietnam). From Bulldog Territory at our Yale round of interviews: Serin Marshall (’04 Thailand)—round two for her, John Muse (’02 Thailand), Mira Manickam (’02 Thailand), Katy Niner (’03 Vietnam). And coming back for round two at the New York interviews (gluttons for punishment?): Sarah Mankes (’04 Japan), Alisha Blechman (’04 Vietnam), Katy Niner (’03 Vietnam), and Amy Kohout (’05 Laos)—her second time out from Arizona in two weeks we might add! Huge thanks to Board member and PiA art critic Russell DaSilva (’76 Japan) for his offer of the beautiful space at Lovell’s Law Firm for these interviews. There is another amazing group of people that have come back to spend some time with us in the PiA office and couch surf at Chez Anastasia. Keeping a foot in Asia and lending a huge helping hand over the last few months have been: Suzanne Welles (’05 Singapore), Amy Kohout (’05 Laos), Matt Losch (’05 Thailand), Alisha Blechman (’04 Vietnam), and always Jess Illaszewicz (’04 Thailand, ’05 Vietnam) for layout and design of this newsletter. Last but never least, our alums, current fellows, friends, and Princeton professors who helped to make our May Orientation stand out: Professors Gregory and Paula Chow, Gil Rozman, Josef Silverstein, David Howell, and Robert Finn; as well as Nancy Sun, Matt Kawecki, Rory Truex, Ari Wolfe, Megan Gillman, David Newhouse, Brian Vogt, Dan Honig, Chris Yakaitis, Duke Lindsay, Dan Grabon, Dylan Fagan, Suzanne Welles, Vandna Mittal, Vince Faherty, Sue Foo, James Young, Megan McGowan, Lauren Karp, Dana Dreibelbis, Teddy Moynihan, Alisha Blechman, Sarah Shapiro, Ginny Wilmerding, Becca Hunsicker, Frances Symes, Margaret Crotty, Jess Illaszewicz, Katy Niner, Ritu Kamal, Sanhita Sen, Andrew Turco, Janis Foo, Elena Olivi, Meredith Kleiner, Roz Espinosa, Kia Siason, Wanna Neth, Mike Figgie, Helen Ackley, Vijaya Fayazi, Sally Buchanan, Don Schoorman, Emilie Pooler, Trina Duke, Peter Hazelrigg, Sam Sternin, Quang Binh, Khang Nguyen, and Kate Thirolf.
Princeton in Asia Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice 83 Prospect Avenue, Room 202 Princeton University Princeton, NJ 08544
The PiA 2007-2008 Calendar of Events The next crew of PiAers have landed on Asian soil. As always, we are very grateful for and couldn’t run PiA without the generosity of our alumni in helping select and orient them. This year, PiA is planning alumni gatherings, a benefit, and come January we will once again beg and plead for help with interviewing and orienting our next batch of PiAers.
Meghan Morrissey (‘07 China), outgoing PiAer accepting her post on the phone with Leslie Medema (PiA Program Director) in the one spot in Texas where she could get cell service on spring break to call.
September 27, 2007 – Information session at Yale October 10, 2007 – Information session at Princeton October 12, 2007 – Alumni gathering in Washington, DC October 15, 2007 – Information session at Middlebury October 25, 2007 – Alumni gathering in Boston December 3, 2007 – PiA 2008-09 applications due January 12-13 & 19-20, 2008 – Interviews held on Princeton campus. Interviews for Southeast Asia and Kazakhstan are generally held on the first weekend. North and East Asia are held on the second weekend. January 25, 2008 – Interviews held at Yale February 12, 2008 – PiA Benefit (Rubin Museum of Art, NYC) February 19-21, 2008 – West Coast Alumni Events and Interviews May 16-19, 2008 – PiA Orientation at Princeton May 18, 2008 – Alumni Day during Orientation May 19, 2008 – PiA Annual Dinner for Alumni May 31, 2008 – PiA Alumni Reception at Princeton
First Impressions Today while walking around I peeked into this large air conditioned room. There were kids wearing green neon shirts inside. Then an older woman beckoned me inside and I followed. It’s a church. This kind, older woman and I got talking a little. She “Wow wow wow wow wow. I’m here. And teaches English at the school there. After wow. They picked me up at the airport, we the show she asked me where I was going. drove up through rainforest and along an To eat lunch, I said. Do you have any recelectrifying coast, and then arrived at the ommendations? Well why don’t you come school, where I met the fantastic group of to eat with me? I invite you. she said! So English teachers (Thai and foreign mix), I just got back from eating with her had a great super spicy lunch, moved at this mall called SOGO. We ate in into my very own bungalow, and I am a Cantonese restaurant she likes. We now sitting in the office overlooking had fish porridge, beef balls, little the beach. But this is incredible. I beef tacos, and then she ordered desstart teaching most likely on Monday sert, but she couldn’t eat it, so I was (they think). So forget the stages of to eat both portions. I am really full… culture shock. This is a high I don’t Tomorrow I’m taking the train or a plan on coming down from anytime bus to Taichung, where I’ll be for the soon.” next few months. I’m taking a Chi–Darcy Bradley nese course, thank goodness, because Rajaprajanugroh School I really need it.” Phang Nga, (southern) Thailand –Arthur Burkle Affiliated High School of “Favorite highlight of the trip so far: Tunghai University In the Chiang Mai airport, I was try- PiA Fellows in Chiang Mai, Thailand give a shout out to PiA Taichung, Taiwan ing to work the pay phone and failing using their bodies. Jared Robbins (Chiang Mai University ‘07) miserably. I thought I wasn’t putting with the thumbs up and the unfortunate position. “Sawut dee krup!!!!!!!!!! I’m in enough Baht in, so I walked up to a cleaning lady and asked her how many “Khon Kaen is dirty and fantastic. I take Bangkok! So much to say, I wish you Baht to call someone in Chiang Mai. She, the bus to work and get to see the city as a could just connect yourselves to a machine of course, didn’t speak English. I held up result. Yesterday I saw an elephant roam- and live my past 48 hours. I must say, my coins and pointed at the phone. She ing the streets with a boy and a bunch of leaving home was a bit more of an emowalked me over to the phone, and I literally fruit on its back. Also, just to let you know tional rollercoaster than I thought it would handed her every coin I had. She looked that Liz Skeen is starting her Asian model- be. I was just thinking, how am I leaving at me and asked, “number?” She put the ing career. We were walking to the grocery behind a place and people that I know and money in and dialed and waited until he store when a Thai man came running out of love for a totally new home with totally picked up before handing me the phone. It a bridal shop and asked if he could talk to us new people?? But, obviously, that is the was my first experience with Thai hospital- about modeling. So obviously we said yes. best part of all of this. It was weird getting ity, and I’ve had many more since then and And now she has a photo shoot scheduled off the plane and thinking that I was about for Saturday. Meredith and I are her man- to meet Cody and Ali (editor’s note: PiA I hope many more to come.” alum and current fellow)...two people who –Kirsten Ruch agers. More updates to come. Sawadee.” –Annie Pries I’ve anticipated so much. I AM IN LOVE Bandon Sriserm School, Nan, Thailand Khon Kaen University WITH THEM. Today we went for lunch Khon Kaen, Thailand (delicioussssss), I’m writing this from the “Yo guys. Jared and I and another farang office, and I’m about to go out on my own picked up Wednesday classes at this Middle school on the CMU campus. They “Taiwan is a crazy crazy place. In the sub- to explore the city. Honestly, I am crazily were crazy and pretty fun. I think Jared is way station I met a nice boy named Albert. overwhelmed by everything right now.... napping from now until next week. They He has one arm. He is collecting “1001 but the pit in my stomach is exhilarating. chose great names like Beyonce, Andy Inspirations.” What he’s doing is collect- Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! I can’t really explain Roddick, Pom Pom Girl, Wednesday, Nine, ing messages from English speakers in a what I’m feeling…but I have a really good small notebook. He says that by the time feeling about it all. THANK YOU for leadLiverpool, Shrek, and Fiona.” –Ben Lennertz he has 1001 messages, he should be able to ing me to that.” –Chris Heinrich Chiang Mai University speak English very well. And if not, he will KEEN Publishing Chiang Mai, Thailand gather 1001 more inspirations!!! That’s what he said. I thought it was a great idea… Bangkok, Thailand Many of the fellows in the PiA class of 2007 have already landed in Asia, and we would like to share some of their first impressions and emails to the home office:
“I made it to Malaysia and through a weekend-long retreat conducted entirely in Malay, which, interestingly enough, was not easier to understand jet-lagged. Everything is going well here. The people here are really nice, and the food/weather are both awesome/punishing in their own way.” –Dave Faherty Universiti Sans Malaysia Penang, Malaysia
Second Annual Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellowship Winners Princeton in Asia expanded its commitment to service in Asia with the announcement of its second annual Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellowships. Created in honor of the organization’s late executive director, the 2007 Fellowships were awarded to Ann Waddell (Dadizhui, Sichuan Province, China) and Even Pay (Yunnan Province, China) for two projects that will serve grass-roots communities in China. “These talented young women have inspiring ideas and a dedication to serving their host communities. Princeton in Asia is proud to support their innovative work in Carrie’s name,” said PiA Trustee and Chairman of the Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellowship Committee, Kevin Cuskley. Carrie Gordon, who died of breast cancer in 2003, encouraged and inspired the PiA fellows whom she selected to 2007 Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellow Even make the most out of Pay, a South Dakota native is at home in their yearlong work exthe corn in Kunming, China where she has periences in Asia. Her worked for the past two years with the Pes- pride in the accomplishticide Eco-Alternatives Center (PEAC). ments of “her kids’” and her unwavering belief in the importance of young people following their passions were defining traits of Carrie’s leadership. To honor her memory, the Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellowship last year established up to $10,000 of funding for a current PiA fellow or recent alumna/ alumnus who best embodies her energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to international understanding and public service. The inaugural Fellows fully embraced the service ethos of the Fellowship: Daniel White established work-study programs for university students to teach in local orphanages in Can Tho, Vietnam; Aaron Ellerbee, inspired by his kindergarteners in Yakage, Japan, is completing the writing and illustration of a moving, bilingual children’s book on cross-cultural understanding and friendship. On the heels of their tremendous successes, the Board of Trustees has decided to again award two grants to outstanding projects in 2007. Even Pay (Kunming ’05) Over the course of her yearlong PiA fellowship with a Chinese environmental Dadizhui village, China
NGO, Even Pay recognized the need for a reliable, comprehensive database of local nonprofits in Yunnan Province. With the support of her Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellowship, she will build a bridge between domestic Chinese NGOs and the international development and media community through a wiki-format, English-language website profiling local organizations. A Carleton College graduate fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Pay has developed a true grassroots perspective on Chinese civil society: “One of the largest challenges facing domestic Chinese NGOs at present is poor communication with an international community that they depend on for continued funding,” Pay said. “This project will give these organizations a much more efficient platform for communicating with the international community and bring them one step closer to a transparent and equal playing field.” 2007 Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellow Ann Waddell working a Ann Waddell (Beijing ’05) camera at Panjiayuan, the antique The second Carrie Gordon Tribmarket in Beijing. ute Fellowship will support the ambitious photography project of Ann Waddell. Several years ago, Waddell visited a friend in the village of Dadizhui in Sichuan Province, an experience which left an indelible impression on her. To bear witness to the profound effects of urbanization and industrialization on those who are left behind in the countryside, Waddell will live in this village, take videos and large-scale photographs, and compile these visual narratives in a book and exhibition. “Ann’s prints are among the most astonishing work I’ve ever seen on rural China, and I’ve been to countless exhibitions in both the U.S. and China,” said PiA Trustee Karen Karp.
The Princeton in Asia Board of Trustees is pleased to honor Carrie’s memory and extend her legacy through the inspiring work of these two young fellows. In the words of inaugural Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellow, Daniel White (Can Tho, Vietnam ’05), “Carrie’s impact remains tangible. Hers is a name that is still mentioned with reverence in this area of Vietnam, and her legacy is woven into the fabric of the ongoing presence of PiA here.” For more information on the 2007 Carrie Gordon Tribute Fellows or Princeton in Asia, please contact Anastasia Vrachnos at (609) 258-3657. ©Ann Waddell