Mansfield Center Asian Leadership Forum

David Steinberg and Abraham Kim during an Asian Leadership Forum lectureU.S.-Asian relations will impact the future of the United States and the world. This dynamic and growing region has already left its mark on the world's economy, environment and politics. Long-time allies and critical trading partners rub shoulders with each other and with nations vital to the question of the area's future stability and security, like North Korea. Understanding this region and its complex histories and current realities is a necessary part of moving forward in a global world.

The Mansfield Center Asian Leadership Forum invites national experts on the region to speak to the Missoula community and to open a dialogue on questions critical to Missoula, Montana and the United States. All Asian Leadership Forum lectures are free and open to the public.

Fall 2016

CHINA Town HallTenth Annual CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections

Date: October 18, 2016 at 5 pm
Location: Todd 210 at the University of Montana
Speakers: Dr. Henry Kissinger by live webcast and Dr. Eric Schluessel

Join the University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center as we welcome the National Committee on U.S.-China Relation’s 10th annual “CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections.” The program will address questions regarding both current and historical challenges and opportunities in U.S.-China relations.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will begin with evening with his live webcast from New York in which he will discuss U.S-China relations and will answer questions submitted by the audience. Questions may be submitted prior to the broadcast through the National-Committe on U.S.-China Relation's website

Following the live webcast, Dr. Eric Schluessel, Director of the East Asian Studies Program at the University of Montana, will be onsite to to discuss the webcast and examine the impact of China's relations with its regional neighbors, particularly in Central Asia, on the situation.

Secretary Kissinger served as national security adviser from 1969 to 1975 and secretary of state from 1973 to 1977. He also taught at Harvard University and currently is chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc., an international consulting firm. As national security adviser, Kissinger played a crucial role in arranging President Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, which opened the door to the re-establishment of U.S.-China relations.

Dr. Schluessel graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in history and East Asian language and now teaches courses in the history and politics of China at UM. His research focuses on the social history of Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority region in Chinese Central Asia, during the Qing dynasty and 20th century. Schluessel advises students in frontier history, comparative empire and colonialism, and the histories of China and Central Asia.

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north korean leader speaking to pressNorth Korea and Northeast Asia: Is Peace Possible?

Date: Monday, September 26 at 6 PM
Location: Dell Brown Room of Turner Hall, University of Montana
Speakers: U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, The U.S. Department of State's Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Dr. Stephen Noerper, Korea Society senior director for policy 

Just six months after the United Nations Security Council passed stricter sanctions against North Korea, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear weapon test earlier this month. This year's earlier sanctions, which had been supported even by North Korea's long-time ally China, came after North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and conducted numerous ballistic missile tests. As North Korea continues to defy international pressure to end its nuclear tests and finds even its allies starting to question it, questions about the future security and stability of the region once again come to the forefront of U.S.-East Asian relations. Drawing on his extensive diplomatic experience in Northeast Asia, Ambassador Kim will discuss the current situation and the future of the region. 

Ambassador Kim currently serves as the Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan. Prior to that, from November 2011-October 2014, he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. He has also served as the Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program. Outside of Korea, he has also served in a variety of diplomatic positions in Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. Read his full biography.

Dr. Stephen Noerper is Korea Society senior director for policy, Columbia University professor, and fellow at CSIS Pacific Forum and Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asia Institute. He has taught on Korea at New York University, American University and the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies. He was a visiting professor to Waseda University and the National University of Mongolia. The author of more than sixty publications on Korea and Northeast Asia, Professor Noerper appears on the BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, and VOA, among others. Dr. Noerper may be reached at

Past Asian Leadership Forum Events

The Years of Living Dangerously: A Forgotten Genocide
Speaker: Owen Sirrs, Adjunct Professor at the University of Montana

Documentary: The Look of Silence
Director: Josh Oppenheimer

CHINA Town Hall 2015
Speakers: Robert Rubin, Frank Jannuzi, Sheldon Day and Daniel Rosen

Film: Ode to My Father
Speakers: Dr. Sung-Yong Lee, Professor at Tufts University and Dr. James Person of the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars

Global Pandemics and Bioterrorism
Speakers: David Hamon of Banyan Analytics and Alex Philp of GCS

2014 CHINA Town Hall
Speakers: Former President Jimmy Carter (webcast) and Robert A. Kapp

Memories of the Korean War: Stories and Artifacts
Speaker: Dr. Stephen Noerper, Senior Vice President, The Korea Society

Korea and Northeast Asia: Challenges and Opportunities
Speakers: Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, Ambassador Mark Minton, Dr. Stephen Noerper, and Dr. Abraham Kim
Documentary: The Land of Many Palaces

The Life and Legacy of Mike Mansfield
Speakers: Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, Ambassador Mark Minton, Congressman Pat Williams, and Dr. Paul Lauren

U.S. Public Diplomacy and Leadership in East Asia
Speaker: Kathleen Stephens, the first U.S. woman Ambassador to South Korea

Burma: Reforms and Opportunities for the Future in Southeast Asia
Speaker: David Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University

Asia and Cyber Security
Speaker: David Hamon, Director of Banyan Analytics and former Senior Official with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency