Senate Committee Approves $16.7 Million for East West Center

Committee approves funding requested by Senator Schatz

WASHINGTON- Senator Brian Schatz announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $16.7 million in federal funding for the East-West Center.  Senator Schatz has been working with his colleagues since January to ensure continued federal funding levels for the East-West Center, which supports U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region by providing invaluable research and analysis. 

“The Senate took a major step, especially during tough economic times, in approving much needed funding for the East-West Center that is critical to promote better relations and understanding between the United States and other Asia-Pacific nations,” said Senator Brian Schatz.  “Given that the East-West Center has a direct role in supporting President Obama’s renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific, and the importance of U.S.-Asia relations to our national and economic security, one of my top priorities as a United States Senator has been to ensure that the Center receives this funding in order to retain critical staff and maintain its valuable programs.  It is vital to Hawaii and our national defense that both chambers of Congress act now to move forward with final approval of funding for the East-West Center.”

“Senator Schatz was instrumental in securing the funding in this bill for the East-West Center for the next fiscal year.  He’s an effective advocate for the Center, which plays an important role in foreign policy and in our relations with other nations and regions,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“As Chairman of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center, I wish to express my personal deepest appreciation and thanks to Senator Brian Schatz for taking the lead on securing $16.7 million on behalf of the East-West Center, especially during this difficult budget environment,” said Rick Tsujimura, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center.  “I am especially appreciative of Senator Schatz's effort in educating the United States Senate about the importance of the East-West Center in advancing U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region.  The critical funding approved by the Senate will help the Center accomplish its mission of encouraging dialogue, leadership, and goodwill in the region."

Background

This year’s across the board cuts due to the sequester reduced the program’s funding to $15.8 million for fiscal year (FY) 2013.  The President requested only $10.8 million for the East-West Center for FY 2014.  In a series of conversations beginning in January and continuing through this month, Senator Schatz emphasized the importance of the Center’s operations and its FY 2014 funding needs with Appropriations Committee leadership, including Senator Barbara Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.  Following up on these conversations, Senator Schatz formally wrote letters over the course of the year to Chairwoman Mikulski and Chairman Leahy requesting that the East-West Center receive $16.8 million in FY 2014—the same as the FY 2013 funding level—in lieu of the President’s budget request of $10.8 million.

East-West Center Accomplishments

The East-West Center provides invaluable research that demonstrates the importance of economic and security relationships between the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region. Key accomplishments include:

  • The Center has the largest U.S.-Asia-Pacific media program, and it convenes an international media conference in the region every two years.
  • The Center operates the regional organization Pacific Island Conference of Leaders.  The Center also hosted a special series of meetings during the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting week held in Honolulu that brought together leaders and representatives from eleven Pacific island nations with President Obama and Secretary Clinton.
  • The Center works with school systems throughout the country and Pacific region to promote Asian studies.
  • The Center has 60,000 program alumni, including several heads of state, foreign ministers, and other ranking officials in the public and private sector throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It holds an alumni conference every two years that is attended by hundreds of alumni.
  • The Center has partnered with the U.S. Department of State on election monitoring, the Brunei-U.S. partnership for English in ASEAN, the Pacific Island Women’s Leaders Program, among others.

###