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EAST-WEST CENTER Honolulu, Hawai‘i


Word has been received of the death of Michel Oksenberg, former president of the East-West Center, on Thursday, February 22, in California. He had been suffering from cancer.

He served as EWC president in 1992-95 and since has been a senior fellow at the Asia/Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, where he also was a professor of political science.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of Mike’s passing," said Charles E. Morrison, EWC president. "He was a tremendous asset in U.S.-Asia Pacific relations. As a brilliant scholar and committed teacher, he trained an entire generation of younger China scholars. He was a powerful force in intellectual and policy issues in shaping thinking about the implications of China’s role in the international system.

Oksenberg and Morrison had just completed a chapter on China-Japan-U.S. relations that will be published in April.

He was a specialist on contemporary China, Asia-Pacific affairs, American foreign policy in the region, and Sino-American relations. From 1977 to 1980, on leave from the University of Michigan, he served as senior staff member of the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., with special responsibility for China and Indochina. He played a pivotal role in the normalization of U.S.-China relations during that time.

He was on the faculty of Stanford in 1966-68, Columbia University in 1968-74, and the University of Michigan in 1973-92, where he was also director of the Center of Chinese Studies. He was the author or co-author of numerous publications, including China Joins the World (1999), Shaping U.S.-China Relations (1997), and China: The Convulsive Society (1971).

He was a member of the Trilateral Commission, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Board of Directors, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Forum for International Policy. His Ph.D. in political science was from Columbia University.

Born in Belgium in 1938, he moved to the United States with his parents when he was seven months old. He grew up in Virginia and Florida. With his wife, Lois, he was the parent of two children.

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