Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) > News/Blog > Uncategorized > U.S. CULCON and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Appoint New Members

U.S. CULCON and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Appoint New Members

Dr. Sheila A. Smith Appointed as Chair

Washington, D.C. May 1, 2020: The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the U.S. CULCON Panel are pleased to announce the appointment of new Chair, Dr. Sheila A. Smith. CULCON and JUSFC have also appointed Dr. Samuel Morse, Professor, Amherst College, and Dr. William Tsutsui, who most recently served as President, Hendrix College, to serve as commissioners and panelists.

Their terms are effective May 1, 2020.

Dr. Smith is Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and an adjunct professor in the Asian Studies department of Georgetown University, where she serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. Since 2013, Dr. Smith has served as Vice Chair of CULCON and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. She led CULCON’s Next Generation Task Force, spearheaded new platforms to build a pipeline of next generation leaders, and advanced Japan Studies and people-to-people exchange.

“Japanese and Americans are working closer than ever to tackle the complexities of the 21st century. Exchanges between students, entrepreneurs, artists, community leaders, local governments and legislators all sustain this vibrant, evolving relationship. While imperative that Japan Studies continues to thrive in the United States, our shared goals are also far-reaching. Our scientists, educators and business leaders continue to collaborate on projects such as getting to Mars, developing the next generation of technology, and curing the world’s infectious diseases. Ensuring that U.S. and Japanese citizens have the opportunity to learn from each other and to solve problems together is the invaluable mission of CULCON and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. I look forward to working with fellow panelists and commissioners to help the people of Japan and the United States come together to imagine and build their shared future,” Dr. Smith remarked on her appointment.

Both, JUSFC and CULCON extend their deep appreciation to Mr. Harry Hill, outgoing Chair, for his dedicated service. Mr. Hill said, “It has been an honor and privilege to lead CULCON and JUSFC. As the world shifts, the importance of identifying and fostering the next generation who care about the partnership of our two nations is once again of utmost importance. I offer my sincere gratitude to the current, past and new commissioners, and CULCON panelists who pursue this mandate with passion.” Increasing student mobility between Japan and the United States has been a priority for CULCON. As a result of its work, new opportunities are available for U.S. and Japanese students to study in each other’s country. As a grantmaking agency, JUSFC has been providing critical financial support to academic and non-profit institutions bringing visibility to the important U.S.-Japan relationship and implementing innovative programs that strengthen the bilateral partnership.”

CULCON, a binational advisory committee, meets biannually in alternating years between Japan and the United States. The next CULCON plenary session will take place in Japan in Fall 2021. The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is a federal grantmaking agency. Annually, the agency awards institutional grants to support Japan Studies, public policy programs and educational and cultural exchange.

“Dr. Smith’s vast experience in public policy, education and people-to-people exchange will be invaluable to the mission-focused work of CULCON and JUSFC. I look forward to working with her to lead CULCON and JUSFC through these unprecedented times,” said Paige Cottingham-Streater, Secretary-General, CULCON and Executive Director of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. 

About the Commissioners/Panelists

Sheila A. Smith

Dr. Sheila A. Smith is an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, she is the author of Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China and Japan’s New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance. She is a frequent contributor to major media outlets in the United States and Asia. Her distinguished career in U.S.-Japan relations also includes directing a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines at the East-West Center; researching Japan’s foreign policy towards China, as an Abe Fellow; and serving as a visiting researcher at the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, the University of Tokyo, and the University of the Ryukyus. Dr. Smith earned her MA and Ph.D. from the political science department at Columbia University.

Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse is Howard and Martha Mitchel Professor of the History of Art and Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College. Dr. Morse is a specialist in Japanese Buddhist art, and serves as Consulting Curator for Japanese Art at the Smith College Museum of Art, where he has curated exhibitions on the arts of the Japanese tea ceremony and on contemporary Japanese art. In addition he has organized exhibitions on Kitagawa Utamaro for the Mead Art Museum (2006), on the art of Allen Say the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (2007)  and on Japanese Buddhist art and ritual for the Katonah Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1996-1997).  For six years, he was chair of the Board of Directors for the Clark Center for Japanese Art in Hanford, California. He has been a visiting researcher at the Tokyo National Research Institute of Culture Properties and a visiting professor Yale University. He earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University.

William Tsutsui

William (Bill) Tsutsui is former president and professor of history at Hendrix College. He previously served as dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University from 2010 to 2014. Prior to joining SMU, Dr. Tsutsui spent 17 years at the University of Kansas, where he served as Acting Director of KU’s Center for East Asian Studies, Chair of the Department of History, founding Executive Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas, and Associate Dean for International Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. An award-winning classroom teacher, Dr. Tsutsui is the author or editor of eight books, as well as numerous articles on modern Japanese history. He has received Fulbright, ACLS, and Marshall Fellowships, and was awarded the John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2000 and the William Rockhill Nelson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2005. He holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton universities.

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