Panelists 2015

Day 1 / The Two Faces of Japan: Social (In)equalities

Prof. Andre SorensonProfessor Andre Sorensen has been a geography faculty member at UTSC since 2002. He completed his graduate studies in Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and completed a post-doc and taught at the University of Tokyo. Professor Sorenson’s research examines long-run patterns and processes of urbanization and urban development, with a focus on the political dynamics of rule-making, and the emergence of institutions that structure sets of available choices, and providing incentives for different approaches. Recent work incorporates historical and sociological institutionalist ideas about path dependence, processes of incremental change, and urban politics to study urban change processes and the incremental change of urban property and property rights. Major current projects are on the development of the Toronto city region over the last 60 years, the reconstruction of Tohoku after the 3/11 tsunami, and the emergence of condominium as a form of property ownership since the 1960s. Yumi Shimabukuro is an Associate Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. Her primary academic research interests are Northeast Asian political economy and redistributive politics. At Columbia, she teaches courses that explore the intersection of political, economic and social development for the Program in Economic Policy Management and the Executive Masters in Public Administration. She previously taught at Harvard University and MIT and was awarded the Derek Bok Certificate of Teaching Excellence. Dr. Shimabukuro is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Building an Inegalitarian Welfare State which examines the co-evolution of democratic, capitalist, and social welfare institutions in advanced industrialized countries, with a particular focus on Japan.


Matthew O’Mara is the managing editor of Nikkei Voice, a Japanese-Canadian newspaper based in Toronto. Matthew is a graduate from Ryerson University’s journalism program and writes freelance for National Post and Financial Post on video games, arts, and culture.


Day 2 / Regional Challenges and Global Futures

Dr. Kimie Hara is a Professor and the Renison Research Professor at the University of Waterloo, where she is also the Director of East Asian Studies at Renison University College. She received her Ph.D. from Australian National University, and specializes in modern and contemporary international relations of the Asia-Pacific region, border studies, Cold War history, and Japanese politics and diplomacy. Her books include San Francisco System and Its Legacies: Continuation, Transformation and Historical Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific (2015), East Asia-Arctic Relations: Boundary, Security, and International Politics (2014, edited with Ken Coates), Cold War Frontiers in the Asia-Pacific: Divided Territories in the San Francisco System (2007, 2012), Japanese-Soviet/Russian Relations since 1945: A Difficult Peace (1998, 2012), Japanese Diplomacy through the Eyes of Japanese Scholars Overseas (2009, in Japanese), and Northern Territories, Asia-Pacific Regional Conflicts and the Åland Experience: Untying the Kurillian Knot (2009, 2013, edited with Geoffrey Jukes). She held visiting fellowships/professorships at the Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo, the Kyoto Sangyo University, International Institute for Asian Studies/University of Amsterdam, the East-West Center, Stockholm University and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Science.

downloadDr. Derek Hall is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His main research interests are in international political economy, Japanese politics, the political economy of East and Southeast Asia, the history of capitalism, and the political economy of food, land and agriculture. His recent publications include Land (Polity, 2013) and Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia (National University of Singapore Press and University of Hawai’i Press, 2011, co-authored with Philip Hirsch and Tania Murray Li). He has been a visiting researcher at the Institute for Social Science at the University of Tokyo on several occasions, and his research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. In 2009-10 he was an S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

JacobKovalio-160x160Dr. Jacob Kovalio has been a professor of Japanese and Asian Studies at Carleton University since 1987. He holds a M.A. in Chinese History as well as a Ph.D. in Japanese History from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kovalio is also a recipient of four Japan Foundation Research Fellowships, and is a former President of the Japan Studies Association of Canada. His expertise is not limited to China and Japan, and encompasses studies on Korea and Taiwan as well. Dr. Kovalio’s research interests range from issues of anti-Semitism to Japanese political culture. Most recent works include the topics of Japanese foreign policy and Asia-Pacific international relations, focusing on Asian security and regionalism.