Stanford News


CONTACT: Diane Manuel, News Service (650) 725-1945;

Henry Rowen named head of Asia/Pacific Research Center

Henry S. Rowen, professor emeritus of public policy and management at the Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow emeritus at the Hoover Institution and the Institute for International Studies, has been named director of the Asia/Pacific Research Center (A/PARC). His appointment was effective Sept. 1.

Rowen succeeds Dan Okimoto, professor of political science, and Larry Lau, the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor of Economic Development, who had served as co-directors of A/PARC for the past five years. Okimoto will return to full-time teaching, and Lau has been named director of the Center for Economic Policy Research.

Rowen has been associated with A/PARC since its inception in 1977. He was one of eight faculty members who collaborated on The Security of Korea, a book that resulted from the first commissioned project A/PARC accepted from the U.S. Department of State, an assessment of American troop withdrawal from the Republic of Korea.

Last fall Rowen revived his long-standing interest in Asia by writing an article for The National Interest, titled "The Short March: China's Road to Democracy," which has attracted considerable media attention.

"Rowen. . .is neither economically interested nor naive," columnist George Will wrote in Newsweek in June. "He was an architect of the Reagan administration strategy of economic pressure ­ falling oil prices, restrictions on access to credits and technology ­ that caused the Soviet system to crack. And he believes that China, unlike Russia, can best be reformed by progress rather than privation."

Rowen, in fact, predicts that China will become a democracy by the year 2015.

"All developed countries are democratic, more or less," he said in a recent interview. "So unless something changes in the world in the future, it's a pretty safe prediction that if countries are developing, they're going to be democracies ­ and that applies to China, too."

It is a bold prediction, but the Wall Street Journal noted in June that "on past issues such as the status of the Soviet economy, Mr. Rowen has proved right when the consensus of experts was wrong."

Former president of the Rand Corporation, past chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council and a former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs for the U.S. Department of Defense in the Bush administration, Rowen is an internationally recognized scholar in national security and energy issues. He also is an expert on budgeting and the application of analytical techniques to public sector problems.

"Harry brings expertise in economics, international security and economic development, and he also knows a great deal about Asia," Okimoto said of Rowen's appointment. "The center has now developed to the point where someone with Harry's perspective and background is an appropriate appointment to the directorship."

Center broadening scope

Originally called the Northeast Asia­U.S. Forum, A/PARC was launched in 1977 under the auspices of the Center for International Security and Arms Control. During the late 1970s and early '80s, as trade frictions between the United States and Japan escalated, A/PARC scholars began to explore the comparative strengths and weaknesses of American and Japanese semiconductor industries. They also compared American and Japanese health care systems in an effort to research the impact of rapidly aging populations in both countries.

In recent years, as tensions on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere in Northeast Asia have increased, and Sino-American relations have deteriorated, A/PARC researchers have been re-examining the role of American security alliances with Japan, Korea and other allies in Asia.

"In the course of the past 20 years, the center has broadened its geographical scope and we're now on the verge of developing a program in Southeast Asian studies," Okimoto added. "We're also about to embark on a fundraising effort to develop a program on India."

The center also has launched a search for a chair to head a new Korean studies program, and Okimoto said a decision should be made by the end of the 1997-98 academic year. The professor will teach in the School of Humanities and Sciences and conduct research at A/PARC.

A new executive director, James Van de Velde, was hired to oversee administration of A/PARC in August, and a publications editor will be appointed in the next few months.

Under Rowen's direction, A/PARC research in the coming year will focus on democratization in Asia. And at a time when Asia is the most rapidly urbanizing area in the world, another major project will look at patterns of growth in the region's mega-cities.

In South Korea, for example, 40 percent of the population and 50 percent of the gross domestic product is now concentrated in the Seoul metropolitan area, which gives the capital a disproportionately large influence in national politics.

"We're beginning to see patterns in which these cities resemble one another in many respects, much more than they relate back to the hinterlands," said James Raphael, director of research for A/PARC. "So we're interested in the implications of that for managing growth in these cities in the future, for dealing with environmental problems and the interplay between national governments and urban governments."


By Diane Manuel