Dowagiac Union High School 1991 graduate Christopher Hodshire with former Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajive.

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Hodshire visits Malaysia

Published 8:25pm Monday, July 9, 2012

Dowagiac graduate Christopher Hodshire attended the inaugural conference of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Coalition for Clean Governance in Malaysia June 25.

The inaugural conference was organized by the Penang Institute of Malaysia, which is a government think tank. ASEAN was established in 1967.

More than 600 million people, or nearly a 10th of the world’s population, live in ASEAN countries.

Only 300 people were invited to the conference to hear the importance of transparent government held accountable to its citizens.

Many leaders who attended were fighting corruption within their own country and, in some cases, party.

“My profession requires us to be active in policy and government and this is basically where I have my connection,” Hodshire said by email. “I belong to some international committees and programs, Sister Cities and the United Nations of Lansing, to name a few. Currently, the local state government is working on a major housing program for the poor and the homeless. Ironically, the university and the social science program which I work for is also working on the same issue. So, instead of working apart, we decided to work with one another and share resources and manpower.

“We are just waiting to get approval from the president of the university. My department already agreed. It was me who made this connection with ongoing networking. If the president of the university agrees with collaboration then I will be the liaison of this first-time collaboration. The department already nominated me for that post.”

Hodshire is a visiting professor at the top university of Malaysia, USM-University of Science Malaysia, lecturing as well as doing some international community projects on a one-year contract.

Hodshire plans to return to Western Michigan University of Kalamazoo, where he formerly was employed, after his contract is completed.

Hodshire spoke with Malaysian lawyer Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, an advocate for human rights issues and promotion of the rule of law. Sreenavasan received the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award for 2009.

Hodshire also met with Lim Guan Eng, chief minister (governor) of Penang, the island state in which Hodshire resides in Malaysia.

Hodshire ate lunch with Vice President of the Economic Society of Singapore Donald Low. Low was the former director of fiscal policy in the Singapore Ministry of Finances (2004-2005), where he oversaw fiscal planning, tax and budget matters. Hodshire accepted a personal invitation to meet with Low in Singapore.

Hodshire also met the former prime minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajive. Vejjajive, a University of Oxford graduate, was the opposition leader who challenged corruption in the government.

“The country has to move forward and the best way forward is for the coup leaders to quickly return power to the people and carry out the reforms they promised,” Vejjajive said.

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