Sun & Star Japan and East Asia Program

This program aims to increase awareness of the economic, historical, political, and social trends of Japan and East Asia that affect the future of China, Japan, Korea, East Asia, and the world, including the United States.  Through the Sun & Star Symposia and lecture series featuring scholars, practitioners, journalists, and government officials, students and other participants learn about the challenges and opportunities in each country’s domestic politics and economics, the region’s relationship with the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific, and the international relations of the globalized world.

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The U.S.-China relationship is the most important bilateral one in the world, and Japan is the most important treaty-based ally for the United States. Recently, China has been more concerned with internal stability than external threat, which has made it difficult for China to be a responsible player in international relations. As a result, the U.S. still needs to keep its influence in the Asia-Pacific, and hence China’s rise has made Japan even more important for the U.S.

We are living in an age where we are, in many ways, connected with each other in this nation as well as with those in other parts of the world. Presently, although we are not living under Cold War threats, there are still countless problems throughout the world, from severe poverty to terrorism and civil wars, to name a few. Debates over foreign policy toward China and the Middle East, and disagreements over domestic policies in the United States, especially concerning education and health care, have never been settled.

Students are expected to contribute to solving these issues. Contributing solutions and solving world problems are, of course, tremendous tasks. With its affiliation in the SMU Tower Center, the Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia is in a unique position to explore the dynamic China-Japan-U.S. triangular relationship by discussing contemporary topics related to U.S. and world politics and economy. The program is designed to help students become aware of the nuances behind the issues in the Asia-Pacific and be world changers by becoming problem solvers.

Dallas has become an increasingly important place to understand the United States, its relationship with Japan and East Asia, and world politics and economy. Many people in Japan and East Asia, however, have more familiarity with the East and West Coasts than with Texas, the South, or the Southwest. Sun & Star is therefore an effort to connect and relate regional, national, and international perspectives.