National Bureau of Asian Research

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The National Bureau of Asian Research
Abbreviation NBR
Formation 1989
Type Think Tank

George F. Russell Jr. Hall 1414 NE 42nd Street, Suite 300

Seattle, WA 98105
Location Seattle
Washington, D.C.
Richard Ellings

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is an American nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution based in Seattle, Washington, with a branch office in Washington, D.C. The organization’s mission is to inform and strengthen Asia-Pacific policy. NBR brings together specialists, policymakers, and business leaders to examine economic, strategic, political, globalization, health, and energy issues affecting U.S. relations with East, Central, Southeast and South Asia and Russia. The organization’s research is disseminated through briefings, publications, conferences, Congressional testimony, and online forums, and by collaborating with other institutions worldwide. Richard J. Ellings is the current president. Meredith Miller is Vice President of Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs & Outreach, and Director of the Washington, DC, office.

Early history[edit]

In the late seventies, Senator Henry M. Jackson raised the need for a "National Sino-Soviet Center" in conversations with Kenneth B. Pyle, Director of the University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He enlisted Edward Carlson, President and CEO of United Airlines, and Thornton Wilson, CEO of the Boeing Company, to assist in creating an institution that would bridge the gap between those responsible for foreign policy decision making and the specialists located in universities and research institutes in the U.S. and abroad. The Senator’s vision was finally realized in 1989, seven years after his death, when The National Bureau of Asian and Soviet Research was established with grants from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and The Boeing Company. The organization’s founding president was Kenneth B. Pyle. In 1992 the organization dropped "and Soviet" to become The National Bureau of Asian Research.[1]

Current operations[edit]

On 27 February 2014, the National Bureau of Asian Research is co-hosting, with the US-Asia Institute, a panel discussion of Sino-Japanese issues.[2]

Programs, Centers, and Chairs[edit]

Center for Health and Aging[edit]

The Center for Health and Aging was established in 2003. Michael P. Birt, then Director of NBR’s Center for Health and Aging, George F. Russell, Jr., Chairman of The National Bureau of Asian Research, Leland H. Hartwell, President of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and William H. Gates, Sr., co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, met in 2004 to discuss the need for prevention, detection, and treatment of illness early enough to reduce the human and financial cost of disease. Plans to organize and host a Pacific Health Summit in Seattle, Washington, emerged from those discussions.[3] George F. Russell, Jr. and William H. Gates, Sr. co-chaired an advisory group, provided the seed funding for the Pacific Health Summit, and were keynote speakers at the inaugural Pacific Health Summit,[4] which was convened in 2005 by two co-sponsoring organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and NBR’s Center for Health and Aging.[5] Subsequent annual Pacific Health Summits were co-presented by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and The National Bureau of Asian Research, which has served as the Summit’s secretariat from its founding. The world health leaders and top corporate executives attending this invitation-only event have been referred to as "global health luminaries."[6] In June 2009, the Center for Health and Aging convened the inaugural meeting of the Forum for Personal Health with the goal of launching targeted projects designed to meet the challenges of improving personal health.

John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies[edit]

In 2006, NBR endowed the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies. The Chair recognizes General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his 39 years of military service to the United States, years of leadership on the NBR Board of Directors, and his role as Senior Advisor to NBR's Strategic Asia Program. The stated mission of the Chair is to provide a "distinguished scholar in the national security field with an opportunity to inform, strengthen, and shape the understanding of U.S. policymakers on critical current and long-term national security issues related to the Asia-Pacific." The inaugural holder, Dennis C. Blair, was appointed in 2009 by President Obama to serve as the Director of National Intelligence.[7] In September 2010, former Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command Thomas B. Fargo came on as the second chair holder.[8]

Kenneth B. and Anne H.H. Pyle Center for Northeast Asian Studies[edit]

In 2006, NBR created the Kenneth B. and Anne H.H. Pyle Center for Northeast Asian Studies, named in honor of NBR’s founding president and his wife.[9] The Pyle Center conducts research on Northeast Asia to advance the comprehensive study of the region, particularly as it pertains to its security, political, and economic dynamics. Inaugural events for the Center included the international conference "Pursuing Security in a Dynamic Northeast Asia," at which Kenneth B. Pyle delivered the keynote address,[10] and a gala at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall at which the keynote address was delivered by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist George F. Will.

Slade Gorton International Policy Center[edit]

In 2010, NBR will be launching the Slade Gorton International Policy Center, named in honor of United States Senator Slade Gorton who served as majority leader of the Washington State House of Representatives, for three terms as state attorney general, and for three terms as United States Senator. The Gorton Center will incorporate and build on current projects in the areas of economics and trade at NBR as well as address the issues central to Slade's work on the 9/11 Commission, focusing on how America organizes internally to protect the country from outside threats.[11]

National Asia Research Program[edit]

NBR and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars have partnered to launch the National Asia Research Program (NARP), a major national research and conference program designed to reinvigorate and promote the policy-relevant study of Asia. In April 2010, the program selected a premier group of National Asia Research Associates and Fellows,[12] nominated by U.S. research organizations and higher learning institutions with top programs on Asia. On June 17-18, 2010, NBR and the Wilson Center hosted the Research Associates and Fellows at the Asia Policy Assembly,[13] a major conference on contemporary Asia Studies in Washington, D.C. The Assembly brought together over 300 experts from the academic, philanthropic, and policymaking communities and provided a major forum for these stakeholders to discuss the full range of issues of strategic importance to U.S. policy interests in Asia. At the 2010 Assembly, NBR and the Wilson Center awarded the inaugural $50,000 Scalapino prize in honor of renowned Asia scholar Robert A. Scalapino, who is arguably America’s foremost scholar of Asia over the past 60 years. The Scalapino Prize will be presented at each subsequent Asia Policy Assembly. The Scalapino Prize winner and select National Asia Research Associates and Fellows are among the presenters at NARP regional symposia. The first of these events, the Scalapino Symposium,[14] took place at the University of California-Berkeley on October 14, 2010.

National Asia Research Associates and Fellows[edit]

The first class of NARP associates and fellows in the National Asia Research Program—27 associates and 12 fellows—were selected through a competitive, nationwide selection process based on their research into issues of strategic importance to U.S. interests in Asia.

Research Associates[edit]
  • Richard Baum, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Stephen Blank, US Army War College
  • Dan Blumenthal, American Enterprise Institute
  • Victor Cha, Georgetown University
  • T.J. Cheng, College of William and Mary
  • Stephen P. Cohen, The Brookings Institution
  • Donald M. Emmerson, Stanford University
  • M. Taylor Fravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Steven Goldstein, Smith College
  • William Grimes, Boston University
  • Yanzhong Huang, Seton Hall University
  • Huang Yasheng, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • David M. Lampton, Johns Hopkins University
  • Wei Li, Arizona State University
  • Katharine Moon, Wellesley College
  • Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College
  • Saadia Pekkanen, University of Washington
  • David Pietz, Washington State University
  • Jonathan Pollack, Naval War College
  • Kenneth Pomeranz, University of California, Irvine
  • Robert Pomeroy, University of Connecticut
  • Eswar Prasad, Cornell University
  • Thomas Rawski, University of Pittsburgh
  • Jonathan Schwartz, State University of New York, New Paltz
  • Adam Segal, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Benjamin Shobert, Rubicon Strategy Group
  • Daniel Sneider, Stanford University
  • Mark Valencia, Nautilus Institute
Research Fellows[edit]
  • Amit Ahuja, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • C. Christine Fair, Georgetown University
  • Justin Hastings, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Sung-Yoon Lee, Tufts University
  • Eric McGlinchey, George Mason University
  • Ann Marie Murphy, Seton Hall University
  • Tun Myint, Carleton College
  • Thomas Pepinsky, Cornell University
  • Ely Ratner, RAND Corporation
  • Eric Strahorn, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Christopher Twomey, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Elizabeth Wishnick, Montclair State University

Associates and Fellows serve two-year terms, during which they present their research at the Asia Policy Assembly in Washington, D.C., and subsequently publish their research findings in various NBR and Wilson Center publications. During the time of their appointment, Associates and Fellows remain at their home institutions and receive a research stipend to support their work through the NARP.


NBR publishes books, a peer-reviewed journal, and occasional reports.[15] Since 2001, NBR has published the annual edited volume Strategic Asia, which incorporates assessments of economic, political, and military trends and focuses on the strategies that drive policy in the region through a combination of country, regional, and topical studies authored by Asia studies specialists and international relations experts. Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has served as the research director for the Strategic Asia Program. Since January 2006, NBR has published the biannual journal Asia Policy, which presents academic research on the Asia-Pacific with a focus on policy conclusions for the United States. Tom Plate, internationally syndicated columnist, author, university professor and founder of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA and the Pacific Perspectives Media Center in Beverly Hills, California, has described the Asia Policy board of editorial advisers as a "virtual Who's Who in the field of Asian policy scholarship."[16][17]


NBR's Programs, Centers, and Chairs are:

Research initiatives conducted by these groups are organized as follows:

Annual conferences and summits include the following:

Online Forums and Databases include:


Board of Directors

  • Chairman: John V. Rindlaub (1995 - present)
  • Chairman Emeritus: George F. Russell, Jr. (1993 - present)
  • Treasurer: David K. Y. Tang (1999-present)
  • Stephen E. Biegun (2007-present)
  • James R. Blackwell (2009-present)
  • Charles W. Brady (1993-present)
  • William Castell (2006-present)
  • Lawrence W. Clarkson (1993-present)
  • Bill Colton (2009-present)
  • Rich Ellings
  • Herb Ellison (1993-present)
  • Thomas Fisher (1999-2004)
  • R. Michael Gadbaw (2006-present)
  • John Gass (2006-2009)
  • Shephard Hill (2008-present)
  • Gary Kaplan (2005-present)
  • Joachim Kempin (1999-2002)
  • Clark Kinlin (2000-present)
  • Maria Cattaui (2005-present)
  • Pamela Passman (2004-present)
  • Kenneth B. Pyle
  • Neal Schmale (2007-present)
  • John Shalikashvili (1998-present)
  • Arnold Wellman (2001-present)

NBR Board of Advisors

External links[edit]