Stars & Stripes Dinner

Dear Friends,

I would like to bring to your attention the 3rd Annual Stars & Stripes Dinner benefitting Texas Troops to be held Saturday 20 February 2010 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas.

The Stars & Stripes Dinner is an annual fund raising event for ReserveAid. Dallas native and former Marine Captain Donovan Campbell, author of the New York Times bestseller Joker One: A Marine Platoon`s Story of Courage, Leadership and Brotherhood, will serve as the keynote speaker. In addition, guests will enjoy a colorful display of paint, energy, music and passion featuring renowned performance artist Brian Olsen and Art in Action. It will be a red, white and blue patriotic affair that you won`t want to miss.

If you are interested in this event, please contact Polly Weidenkopf at ReserveAid for more information (972-383-8080 or pollyw@reserveaid.org).

Commentary: China and Energy

The following article was written by Ryan Rutkowski and published in Asian Times Online, October 29th 2009. Ryan (’07) was a Tower Center Fellow, having received the Miller Undergraduate Fellowship, and is currently a master’s student studying international economics at Johns Hopkins University – Nanjing University Center for Chinese-American Studies.

China Leads Solar Home Revolution

Gazing across the Chinese urban cityscape, one quickly notices many strange tubular devices dotting the rooftops of many residential buildings. These are solar water heaters.

Solar water heaters rank among the world’s fastest-growing applications of solar thermal technology. According to the WorldWatch institute, the solar thermal heating sector expanded worldwide in 2007 at its highest rate since 1995, up 19 gigawatts of thermal equivalent (GWth) to 147 GWth total capacity. Solar thermal energy harnessed for domestic water heating is the primary application of this technology, accounting for 86% of all installations in 2009.

China is the world’s largest market for solar water heating (SWH). Since the 1990s, China has blossomed with an increase in annual production to 114.1 million square meters in 2007 from 0.5 million square meters in 1991, accounting for two thirds of global output. According to “The China Greentech Report 2009”, the country has the world’s largest installed base of solar water heaters, at over 125 million square meters, with one in 10 families such devices.

Continue reading this article at Asian Time Online

Commentary: Chilean Elections

The following commentary on the Chilean Presidential Election was written by Lynne Novack, Tower Center Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Tower Center Program on National Security & Defense. She is currently on sabbatical in Chile and promises to send election updates.

It’s now more than one week after the Chilean Elections, and we arrived here in Coyhaique on Election Day last Sunday.

First we stopped in Santiago for a night, and met up with friends for dinner. Maria Jose is the young artist who paints abstract Patagonian landscapes (she had a show in Dallas last year), and her husband Miguel is an architect. They, along with everyone we’ve talked to, from our friends to cab drivers and workmen told us that they want the center right conservative candidate, Sebastian Pinera, to win. Interestingly, Maria Jose pointed out that while artists traditionally tend to support the left, they are now tired of the difficulty in finding jobs and commissions, and they think the Concertacion has gotten old and stale. The only friend of ours who has argued fiercely to keep Concertacion in power is herself the former regional minister of culture under Michelle Bachelet’s government.

Sunday was the national Election Day, and there was nobody on the roads, no restaurants or bars open, no alcohol for purchase anywhere, and all stores closed. We got an apologetic letter from our hotel concierge notifying us that all venues in the hotel would be closed. Santiago was as pollution free as we’ve ever seen it, as we drove to the airport. Our flight south left at noon, and by the time we arrived in Coyhaique (the capital of Region Aysen in Chile – a town of about 50,000), the election was well under way. I went to the grocery store to stock up on some food, and they hadn’t just cordoned off the wine shelves, but had removed every bottle. With an apologetic shrug, the store assistant said, “Sorry, it’s the election. Everything will be back tomorrow.” And of course, it was.

First an explanation of the Chilean system. Chileans have a multi-party system, but they have tended ever since the democratic transition from Gen. Augusto Pinochet in the late 1980’s to form coalitions, resulting in a de-facto two-party system. The Concertacion is a coalition of the the leftist parties, and the right-leaning parties have participated in a coalition calling itself Alliance for Chile, or Alianza. Presidents are not allowed to run for re-election, and the law was changed so that President Bachelet served only a 4-year term rather than the 6-year terms of her predecessor.

This year, the conservatives were represented once again by candidate Sebastian Pinera, a self-made billionaire, and a charismatic and attractive businessman who is a chief stockholder in LAN, the Chilean airline. He is an economist with a doctorate from Harvard.

The Concertacion selected in an internal process, without conducting national primaries, Eduardo Frei, the 67-year old former president whose father had also been president. He was widely considered to be a dull candidate bringing nothing new to the table. The Concertacion was stunned earlier this year by the announcement that 36 year old filmmaker and former socialist congressman, Marco Enriquez Ominami, was breaking from the party to run as an independent candidate. He was popular, especially with the disillusioned youth of Chile, and pulling a large percentage of the vote from Frei.

Pinera did win the first round last Sunday, but with only 44 percent. Concertacion’s Eduardo Frei polled 30 percent, while Marco Enriquez Onimami drew 20 percent.

The big question now is whether Mr. Enriquez Onimami will reunite with the Concertacion to bring a larger bloc to the polls, thereby defeating Mr. Pinera. There will be a run-off between Sebastian Pinera and Eduardo Frei on January 17. Meanwhile, everything here is very calm, and nobody seems to be overly concerned one way or another.

From Coyhaique Chile, with warm holiday greetings to my friends in the Tower Center,
Lynne Novack

Save the Date: Asian Studies Symposium (Feb 4th-5th)

The 2010 Asian Studies Symposium, The China-Japan-US Triangle: Economic and Security Dimensions, will be held on February 4th and 5th.

The Keynote Speaker, Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science, MIT, will open the event on February 4th. The luncheon discussion on February 5th will feature The Honorable J. Thomas Schieffer, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Click here for the Symposium brochure.

Follow Us

We’ve just made it even easier for you to keep up with the Tower Center. Look under the “Follow Us” section on the right sidebar.

  • You can now subscribe to The Tower Center Blog by Email. If you choose, you can receive an email at the end of the day containing any new blog content. (Beginning in January, I expect that we will post only once or twice a week. In the coming week or two this may be more frequent as I add photos and other materials from the fall. If you find the email subscription bothersome, you can unsubscribe from the service at anytime.)

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  • Coming Soon: I’ll be adding a Tower Center Calendar to the blog so you will be able to quickly find upcoming events.

More Photos!

I’ve added some photos* from two events this fall, the addresses by LTG Hunzeker (USA) (10/8/2009) and Graham Allison (10/14/2009). When I have a moment, I will add identifying captions. Enjoy!

  • LTG Hunzeker (USA)

  • Graham Allison

    *If you have trouble viewing these photos or would like to see all Tower Center photos, please go directly to our Picasa photo album by clicking http://picasaweb.google.com/TowerCenterSMU

Launch of the New Tower Center Blog

Welcome to the new Tower Center blog! We have created this to provide updates on the happenings at the Center; commentary from our directors and fellows; and profiles of students, associated faculty and fellows. Check back often to find out what we are doing.

    Recent Happenings:

  • See our own Jim Hollifield on KERA Think discussing the legacy of the fall of the Berlin Wall: video

  • Read the Dallas Morning News interview with Bernard Finel (Tower Center National Security Conference Participant): article

  • Dennis Simon (Associate Professor of Political Science) has been appointed to the Tower Center Faculty Advisory Board

  • You can now find us Facebook, click HERE and become our fan!

  • See the photos* from our National Security Conference Dinner, Luncheon, & Panels (11/16-11/17/2009):

    *If you have trouble viewing these photos or would like to see all Tower Center photos, please go directly to our Picasa photo album by clicking http://picasaweb.google.com/TowerCenterSMU