WMU News

Conference explores relationship with Asia/Pacific

May 15, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Academic and corporate experts from around the nation and the world will convene at Western Michigan University Friday and Saturday, June 2-3, for a conference on North American business with Asian/Pacific countries.

The third "Facing East/Facing West Conference: North America's Relations with Asian/Pacific Countries" will take place at the Fetzer Center on the WMU campus. The multicultural and multidisciplinary event will focus on the business, social, legal, economic and political facets of international trade. Presenters will hail from companies and universities worldwide.

"The trend in business right now is that everyone is trying to globalize their operations," says conference co-chairperson Dr. Roger Tang, WMU professor of accountancy and holder of the Pharmacia & Upjohn Chair in Business Administration. "Many of the Asian/Pacific countries are recovering from the financial crisis of the late 90s, and China's ongoing bid for acceptance into the World Trade Organization hints that a huge market could open like never before to North American businesses. It's an excellent time to explore or expand business ventures in the region."

Four keynote speakers will share their expertise in East/West relations at the conference.

Matthew C. O'Leary, truck programs manager, Ford Asia Pacific, will speak about "Asia-Pacific: The Road to Recovery -- Ford's Strategies and Operations" on Friday morning. Paul Winchester, senior vice president international at Irwin Seating Company, also is slated to speak that day on "Transition from Domestic to Global Company: The Case Study of Irwin Seating Company."

During a lunchtime address on Friday, attendees will hear from Dr. M.H. Qazi, rector/chancellor of the University of Lahore in Pakistan.

At Saturday's luncheon, Dr. James W. Schmotter, dean of WMU's Haworth College of Business, will borrow a line from a Rudyard Kipling poem for the title of his talk when he discusses "'Hustling the East': Lessons on Educational and Business Partnering in Asia."

Conference attendees will choose from 14 sessions, with topics ranging from educational, political and economic issues to human resource management, the social and political status of women and even a Falun Gong workshop. Most sessions will include the delivery of three or four papers on the featured topic, with a total of more than 50 papers presented over the course of the conference.

A pre-conference reception and registration will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at the Holiday Inn West. The conference begins at 8 a.m. Friday with registration and breakfast, and a Friday evening banquet will be followed by a performance of the Chinese Folk Dance Troupe of Greater Kalamazoo. Activities will close with a reception from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The conference is organized by co-chairpersons Tang and Dr. Zahir A. Quraeshi, WMU professor of marketing. Faculty members from eight other universities served on the planning committee. In addition to WMU, conference sponsors include the U.S. Department of Education and Michigan State University's Center for International Business Education and Research.

The event is the third WMU-sponsored conference on Asian/Pacific trade issues, the others taking place in 1990 and 1995. The conference is part of the Haworth College of Business' Asian/Pacific Education Program. That program's 1999-2000 offerings also have included a series of lectures by business leaders with Asian/Pacific expertise, a study tour to Malaysia and Singapore, and a workshop on exporting to Asian/Pacific countries. The Asian/Pacific Education Program is coordinated by Tang, Quraeshi and William F. MCCarty, professor of finance and commercial law.

The cost to attend for both days is $120, which includes receptions, two lunches, one dinner, refreshment breaks, parking fees and the proceedings of paper abstracts. Registration ends May 22. For more information, persons may call (616) 387-5069.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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