Think Tank Careers: Policy, Communications, and Project Management

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
3:00–4:30 pm HST
Hybrid Event: 258 Moore Hall and Online

Watch the Video:

“Think tanks” are policy institutes that conduct research and advocacy on topics such as social policy, politics, economics, security, technology, and the environment. Most think tanks are nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations. They can provide exciting career opportunities for young professionals to work in a variety of different roles, such as conducting research, engaging in policy advocacy, facilitating communications and publications, and managing projects and programs. On Wednesday, October 25 at 3:00–4:30 pm HST, a stellar line-up of speakers joined the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to discuss their careers:

  • Elina Noor, Senior Fellow, Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Keoni Williams, Information and Publications Officer, Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center
  • Jesslyn Cheong, Senior Program Manager, Pacific Forum

The panel was moderated by Kristi Govella, Director of the Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Elina Noor is a senior fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides independent analysis of major global problems and understanding of regional contexts. Prior to joining Carnegie, Noor worked with the Asia Society Policy Institute, the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia, and the Brookings Institution. Noor holds an LL.M from the London School of Economics, an M.A. in security studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Jurisprudence from Oxford University.

Keoni Williams is an information and publications officer at the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP), a program of the East-West Center dedicated to serving the nations and peoples of the Pacific through innovative capacity building, interchange among regional leaders, and policy-relevant research. Before joining PIDP, he worked at a Honolulu law firm, the US House of Representatives, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, and Pacific Forum. Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, Williams is of Micronesian and Welsh descent. He holds a J.D. and a dual BA in communications and Korean from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Jesslyn Cheong is senior program manager at Pacific Forum, a nonprofit foreign policy research institute based in Honolulu. She oversees projects and provides support for local and overseas conferences. Previously, she was a program manager at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. She holds a B.S. in international politics from Georgetown University.

Kristi Govella is the director of the Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs and an assistant professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Previously, Govella was the deputy director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Berlin, Brussels, Ankara, Belgrade, Bucharest, Paris, and Warsaw. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in political science and Japanese from the University of Washington.

This event is part of the Careers in Asia-Pacific Affairs Speaker Series, which is cosponsored by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, East Asia National Resource Center, Center for Pacific Island Studies, and Department of Asian Studies.

If you have questions about this event, please contact