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East-West Center

The East-West Center


The East-West Center was established in 1960 as a national educational institution to foster better
relations and understanding among the peoples of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific islands through
cooperative study, training, and research.

The Center was established here because Hawaii offered unequalled advantages for an institution with
an Asia Pacific focus. John A. Burns and then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson agreed that the EastWest Center was an idea whose time had come “as a meeting place for intellectuals of the East and West.”

John Burns stated: “At the Center itself, people will engage actively in what is perhaps the most precious freedom of all— the freedom to pursue ideas. . . One real strength of the Center is that it is not a one-sided institute of propaganda. People will meet there on humanly equal terms and will engage in genuine dialogue from which each will learn and to which each will contribute.”

On May 14, 1960, President Eisenhower signed into law the bill establishing the East-West Center. An initial $10 million dollar Congressional appropriation supported the Center and in September of that year, the East-West Center’s first student, Abdul Q. Zia, arrived from Pakistan.



In 2007 WUB Hawaii established an endowed scholarship (APLP) fund for qualified EWC students of Okinawan heritage worldwide. The endowment has surpassed its initial target which was raised by WUB members and is now striving to reach its next goal of $200,000.To date over $150,000 has been raised, and six awards have been made, to a student in Peru and five students in Brazil.

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