Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekly quiz!

This is our fourth quiz. I'm starting to feel a lot poorer with my promises of free lunches at Giulio's for the winners. But the show must go on.

We've been tempted to move the focus of these quizzes outside the confines of SAIS Bologna to the fertile territory of international relations. Imagine what kinds of questions we could ask if we plumbed the murky depths of international trade theory, conflict management or (I'm rubbing my hands here) European institutions.

But a lot goes on at SAIS, and mysteries lurk in the nooks and crannies of its past. So here we go with this week's quiz:

One year before the Bologna Center opened, Johns Hopkins University, at the initiative of then SAIS Dean Philip Thayer, started a center of studies in an Asian country. What was the name of the center and in which country was it located?

The center was in this city.
Please submit your answers by filing a "comment" below.

Have fun!

Next week:
- Monday, January 24: Our faculty -- experts in international affairs
- Tuesday, January 25: A video peek at SAIS Bologna
- Wednesday, January 26: Languages at SAIS
- Thursday, January 27: What are we looking for?
- Friday, January 28: Weekly quiz

Nelson Graves


butz33 said...

In 1954 Thayer opened the Rangoon-Hopkins Center for Southeast Asian Studies (June 1954)in Burma.

This was quite a bit more challenging-but very informative!

Nelson Graves said...

Wow. We thought this question would stump everyone, even SAIS staff. But butz33 has risen above the rest and clinched the prize. Bravissima. Indeed the Rangoon-Hopkins Center for Southeast Asian Studies opened in June 1954 in Rangoon (now known more widely as Yangon), Burma (now known as Myanmar). It was staffed by a senior professor, assisted by a handful of graduate students. It closed in April 1959 after student protests against a military takeover, according to SAIS graduate Kenneth Guenther, who studied at the center. Well done, butz33. We're delighted you found the quiz informative. Nelson

Kenneth A. Guenther SAIS '59 said...

For additional information on this fascinating SAIS effort, please reference Andrew Seith's Modern Burma Sudies, A View From the Edge. This working paper (No.96) was put out by the Southeast Asian Research Center on November 2007. The Seith working paper formulates that
Burma received research attention because it was
viewed a a "key regional 'domino' threatened by
communist subversion and insurgency" and perhaps more importantly that after the Korean War, "Burma
was also seen as a 'back door" to China, through which clandestine military operations could be
mounted against the People's Republic." Seith notes
that the high level of (research) activity "was
assisted by the creation of the Rangoon-Hopkins Center for Southeast Asia Studies, which opened
in 1954 to serve the teaching and research needs of Rangoon University and other universities of
the region."

When I was a fellow at the Center (1958-59) I did
not know that the RANHOP Center was partially CIA financed. On the policy front President Eisenhower never acted on his bluster to unleash the defeated Chinese nationalist troops who had fled to northern Burma
into the soft underbelly of China's Yunan province. Burmese foreign policy unlike Vietnam's was successful in preventing Burma from
becoming another Korea despite efforts to the
contrary by the then U.S. Ambassador to Thailand
Wild Bill Donovan, formerly of the OSS.The very repressive Burmese military took total power in
1962. The Ranhop Center had been closed three years earlier. It vanished almost without a trace.

Nelson Graves said...

Thank you very much for that interesting background, Mr. Guenther. It would be very nice to meet up should you be near Bologna. There is quite a bit of interesting history associated with SAIS Bologna, as well!