(July 1, 2015) – The Boston Global Forum selection committee has named four successful candidates to the Michael Dukakis Leadership Fellow Program. The Fellows will engage in a year-long program, starting in September, to promote Global Peace and Security.

The Fellows will focus on real-life solutions to conflict in the Pacific, cyber warfare and terrorism, and other modern-day threats to global peace.

The new Fellows are:

Bill Ottman, founder and CEO of – a free, open-source and encrypted social networking platform and mobile app, which has opened up a new wave of social media;

Roya Mahboob, CEO of the Afghan Citadel Software Company, a full-service software development company in Afghanistan, and TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In The World for 2013;

Shubhranshu Choudhary, a Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Leading Thinkers of 2014, and founder of CGNet Swara – an Indian mobile phone ser­vice that allows citizens to upload and listen to local reports in their own dialect without a smartphone or an internet connection; and,

Nguyen Thi Chau Giang, a celebrated pianist and artist, and cultural activist who leads the humanitarian mission of her organization, International Friends for Vietnam in America, whose goal is to develop musical talents in her homeland.

The Fellowship program, named for former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, co-founder and chairman of Boston Global Forum, was established to engage young leaders in the promotion of global peace and security.

During the 2015-2016 Program, Fellows will develop and advance an action-oriented plan for peace and security by working with leaders of Boston Global Forum, high-profile scholars with Harvard and MIT, and other media, government, and international relations leaders.

The Fellows will participate in events and symposia associated with Boston Global Forum’s Young Leader Network for Peace and Security. As part of their role, the Fellows will promote adoption of a universal Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security.

The Fellowship Program aims to enrich the Fellows’ leadership capability by initiating solutions to global problems; engaging youth in the promotion of peace and security in the world; providing opportunities for self-development, and facilitating a dialogue among high-profile young leaders and policymakers from several nations.

About the Michael Dukakis Leadership Fellow Program

The Michael Dukakis Leadership Fellow Program was initiated and is fully funded by the Boston Global Forum. Governor Dukakis, who has devoted his life to the promotion of world peace and democracy, founded Boston Global Forum in 2012 with Harvard Professors Thomas Patterson and John Quelch, and Nguyen Anh Tuan, founder of VietNamNet, and online global newspaper.

The Forum identifies the most impactful issues facing the world and provides practical and meaningful solutions to these problems.  Governor Dukakis and Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, a member of the Boston Global Forum Board of Thinkers, have led several initiatives to build a Framework for Peace and Security in the Pacific in 2014. Earlier, the Forum played a role in improving worker conditions in Asia’s factories.

The Fellowship program was established in an effort to engage youth leaders in the furtherance of the Framework, and to enrich their leadership capability in the interest of greater global peace and security.

Boston Global Forum to Establish the Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security

Boston Global Forum to Establish the Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security

(June 17, 2015) – Boston Global Forum (BGF) today announced that it will devote the remainder of 2015 to confronting the emerging peril of Cyber Warfare. 

Boston Global Forum is a think tank—with strong ties to professors of Harvard University and the media—that works for the betterment of society by fostering global peace and security. Boston Global Forum has focused on reducing tensions in the South China Sea, especially over the Spratly Islands, and improving working conditions of the factories that produce goods for the global market.

Cyber peace and security are major concerns for every nation, organization, company and individual because of the unlimited damage cyber attacks cause to national security, the economy and personal privacy and freedom. Particularly worrying are the skyrocketing incidents of state-sponsored cyber attacks.

Boston Global Forum’s 2015 goal is to increase global awareness of the threat of cyber warfare and its consequences and to propose practical solutions to reduce the threat of cyber terrorism and prevent cyber warfare.

In announcing the year-long program, Nguyen Anh Tuan, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Boston Global Forum, said, “We will take steps to create a trend on the Internet, titled, ‘Internet for peace, security and humanity’  to encourage the sharing of positive information and knowledge that can go a long way toward supplanting suspicion, misunderstanding, hatred and violence.”

The Boston Global Forum will call for leaders of every profession including business, education, the arts, law, medicine and government to support for this campaign. All of its activities will be focused on building the Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security.

In 2013, Boston Global Forum was widely recognized for improving working conditions in Bangladesh, and in 2014, for creating a Framework for Peace and Security in the Pacific after a year-long series of international conferences with leading policy-makers, scholars and business leaders.

About Boston Global Forum

Established in 2012, Boston Global Forum brings together, in an open and accessible public forum, an eclectic and engaging spectrum of highly regarded academic leaders, real-world experts, influential thoughts leaders, media experts and promising young leaders.

BGF’s immediate goal is to identify emerging threats to peace and stability around the globe, suggest realistic solutions, and identify possible actions that can be taken to avert armed conflict. The Forum’s ultimate goal is to lessen tensions, promote peace and security, and foster conditions that lead to greater social justice and broader economic prosperity wherever they are most needed.

Scarlett Ho


Assistant for Editorial Board, Boston Global Forum


  • Northeastern University, Class of 2017, College of Social Sciences and Humanities; Candidate for Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Political Science


  • International Affairs and Political Science, Minor in Law and Public Policy


Scarlett is a Junior at Northeastern University and as an aspiring law student, she is very interested in foreign and domestic policy. In the past, she had interned at the European Parliament and conducted research on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. In terms of domestic politics, she has worked on various campaigns and interned for federal, state, and city level politics. She is an ambassador for NU College of Social Sciences and Humanities and is the Communications Director for College Democrats of Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys watching ballet performances, traveling, and photography

UPCOMING June 10: Distinguished Lecture of Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang, Governor of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam

(BGF) – This Wednesday, at 6 PM on  June 10  (Boston time), Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang, Governor of Khanh Hoa – Vietnam, will deliver a distinguished speech on development potentials of Nha Trang Khanh Hoa. As he shared, “our dream is to make Nha Trang Khanh Hoa to become such a hub of culture, arts, and innovation as Boston is.”

Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang is the current Governor of Khanh Hoa – a stunning coastal province on the South Central Coast of Vietnam, where boasts the famous Cam Ranh Bay which is considered as the finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia, and Van Phong Bay which is compared as a graceful and charming sleeping beauty with fantastic oceanic ecosystem. Nha Trang is the capital city of Khanh Hoa, and a beautiful seaside town of Vietnam.

Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang also has a conversation with Governor Michael Dukakis at the same date during his first trip to Boston at Harvard Kennedy School.  This year marks both the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and the 20th anniversary of normalization of relations between the two countries.

Program Agenda

Distinguished lecture of Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang, Governor of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam

  • Time:     6:00 PM – 9:30 PM, June 10, 2015
  • Venue:  Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Speakers and Delegates:

  • Governor Michael Dukakis, Co-Founder & Chairman, Boston Global Forum
  • Kitty Dukakis, Former First Lady of Massachusetts
  • Nguyen Chien Thang, Governor of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam
  • Professor John Quelch, Co-Founder, Member of Board of Directors, Boston Global Forum; Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
  • Joyce Huntley
  • Professor Thomas Patterson, Co-Founder and Member of Board of Directors, Boston Global Forum, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, Harvard Kennedy School
  •  Nguyen Anh Tuan, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Boston Global Forum
  • Phan Thi Yen
  • Robert Desimone, Ph.D., Member of BGF Board  of Thinkers; Doris and Don Berkey Professor of Neuroscience; Director, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT
  • Lorie Conway, Film Producer
  • Larry Bell, Composer & Chair of Music Theory, New England Conservatory; Professor of Composition, Berklee College of Music
  • Professor Thomas Fiedler, Member of Board of Thinkers, Boston Global Forum; Dean of College of Communication, Boston University
  • Mark Fuller, Founder & CEO, Rosc Global LLC
  • Rohan Smith, Music Conductor of Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Vanessa Holroyd, Flute Instructor, Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Ben Wilkinson, Former Director of Vietnam Program, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Lisa Stewart, Senior Vice President, Governance Director of Technology & Operations, Santander Holdings USA
  • Nguyen Thi Chau Giang, Member of Young Leaders Network for Peace and Security, Boston Global Forum; Composer, Pianist, and Painter
  • Carlos Zapata, International Architect
  • Richard Pirozzolo, Member, Boston Global Forum Editorial Board; Founder and Managing Director, Pirozzolo Company Public Relations
  • Duong Cuong Anh, Member of Young Leaders Network for Peace and Security, Boston Global Forum; Vice President of Cambridge and West Market, Bank of America
  • Le Mau Tuan, Member of Young Leaders Network for Peace and Security, Boston Global Forum; PhD Candidate, MIT
  • Phan Huy Dung, Member of  Young Leaders Network for Peace and Security, Boston Global Forum
  • Trang Nguyen, Member of Young Leaders Network for Peace and Security, Boston Global Forum
  • Nguyen Quoc Tram, Director, Khanh Hoa Foreign Affairs Department
  • Nguyen Van Tuong, Member of BGF Young Leaders Network for Peace and Security; CEO, Khanh Hoa Aquilaria Company
  • Phan Mai Thanh, Officer, Khanh Hoa Foreign Affairs Department




Michael Stanley Dukakis was born in Brookline, Massachusetts to Greek immigrant parents. He attended Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School and served in the United States Army from 1955-1957, sixteen months of which was with the support group to the U.S. delegation to the Military Armistice Commission in Korea.

He served eight years as a member of the Massachusetts legislature and was elected governor of Massachusetts three times. He was the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 1988.

Since 1991 he has been a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston, and since 1996 visiting professor of public policy during the winter quarter at UCLA in Los Angeles. He is Co-Founder and chairman of Boston Global Forum.

He is married to the former Kitty Dickson. They have three children—John, Andrea and Kara—and eight grandchildren.



Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang has served as Governor of Nha Trang Khanh Hoa, Vietnam and Deputy Secretary of Khanh Hoa Provincial Party Committee since December 2010. He hold several positions in teaching and management areas. He was professor and Director of Research & Processing Center at Nha Trang University (1979 – 1999). He then moved to work at Khanh Hoa Aquaculture Service and served as Director. He also was Chairman of Organization Commission of Khanh Hoa Provincial Party Committee.



Thomas E. Patterson is Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press of Harvard Kennedy School. His book, The Vanishing Voter, looks at the causes and consequences of electoral participation. His earlier book on the media’s political role, Out of Order, received the American Political Science Association’s Graber Award as the best book of the decade in political communication. His first book, The Unseeing Eye, was named by the American Association for Public Opinion Research as one of the 50 most influential books on public opinion in the past half century.

He also is author of Mass Media Election and two general American government texts: The American Democracy and We the People. His articles have appeared in Political Communication, Journal of Communication, and other academic journals, as well as in the popular press. His research has been funded by the Ford, Markle, Smith-Richardson, Pew, Knight, Carnegie, and National Science foundation.

Patterson received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1971.

Fact, Fiction and the South China Sea

A recently published article on Asia Sentinel by Bill Hayton, a journalist at BBC World News TV, showed many misconceptions that have slipped into the public discourse on South China Sea disputes, particularly on the dubious evident foundations of some of the English-language writing about its history.

Hayton’s findings showed that the first English-language writings on the disputes were written by Chinese authors and based upon Chinese sources,and so attached with Chinese’s point of view. Almost journalistic articles or think-tank reports writing about the South China Sea disputes in recent years then rely for their historical background on a very small number of papers and books which used unreliable bases from which to write reliable stories.

He also noted that ” It is no longer good enough for advocates of the Chinese claim to base their arguments on such baseless evidence. It is time that a concerted effort was made to re-examine the primary sources for many of the assertions put forward by these writers and reassess their accuracy.”

Read Hayton’s full research here or visit the Asia Sentinel’s website.

Fact, Fiction and the South China Sea

May 25, 2015 | By Bill Hayton


(Photo credit: Asia Sentinel)

In just a few weeks, international judges will begin to consider the legality of China’s “U-shaped line” claim in the South China Sea. The venue will be the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and the court’s first step – during deliberations in July – will be to consider whether it should even consider the case.

China’s best hope is that the judges will rule themselves out of order because if they don’t, and the Philippines’ case proceeds, it’s highly likely that China will suffer a major embarrassment.

The Philippines wants the Court to rule that, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China can only claim sovereignty and the rights to resources in the sea within certain distances of land territory. If the court agrees, it will have the effect of shrinking the vast “U-shaped line” to a few circles no more than 24 nautical miles (about 50km) in diameter.

China is not formally participating in the case but it has submitted its arguments indirectly, particularly through a “Position Paper” it published last December. The paper argued that the court shouldn’t hear the Philippines’ case until another court had made a ruling on all the competing territorial claims to the different islands, rocks and reefs. This is the issue that the judges will have to consider first.

China’s strategy in the “lawfare” over the South China Sea is to deploy historical arguments in order to outflank arguments based on UNCLOS. China increasingly seems to regard UNLCOS not as a neutral means of resolving disputes but as a partisan weapon wielded by other states in order to deny China its natural rights.

But there is a major problem for China in using these historical arguments. There’s hardly any evidence for them.

This isn’t the impression the casual reader would get from reading most of the journalistic articles or think-tank reports written about the South China Sea disputes in recent years. That’s because almost all of these articles and reports rely for their historical background on a very small number of papers and books. Worryingly, a detailed examination of those works suggests they use unreliable bases from which to write reliable histories.

This is a significant obstacle to resolving the disputes because China’s misreading of the historical evidence is the single largest destabilizing factor in the current round of tension. After decades of mis-education, the Chinese population and leadership seem convinced that China is the rightful owner of every feature in the Sea – and possibly of all the water in between. This view is simply not supported by the evidence from the 20th Century.

Who controls the past, controls the future

The problem for the region is that this mis-education is not limited to China. Unreliable evidence is clouding the international discourse on the South China Sea disputes. It is skewing assessments of the dispute at high levels of government – both in Southeast Asia and in the United States. I will use three recent publications illustrate my point: two 2014 “Commentary” papers for the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore written by a Chinese academic Li Dexia and a Singaporean Tan Keng Tat, a 2015 presentation by the former US Deputy-Ambassador to China, Charles Freeman at Brown University and a 2014 paper for the US-based Center for Naval Analyses.

What is striking about these recent works – and they are just exemplars of a much wider literature – is their reliance on historical accounts published many years ago: a small number of papers published in the 1970s, notably one by Hungdah Chiu and ChoonHo Park; Marwyn Samuels’ 1982 book, Contest for the South China Sea; Greg Austin’s 1998 book China’s Ocean Frontier and two papers by Jianmeng Shen published in 1997 and 2002.

These writings have come to form the conventional wisdom about the disputes. Google Scholar calculates that Chiu and Park’s paper is cited by 73 others, and Samuels’ book by 143. Works that quote these authors include one by Brian Murphy from 1994 and those by Jianming Shen from 1997 and 2002 – which are, in turn, quoted by 34 and 35 others respectively and by Chi-kin Lo, whose 1989 book is cited by 111 other works. Lo explicitly relies on Samuels for most of his historical explanation, indeed praises him for his “meticulous handling of historical data” (p.16). Admiral (ret) Michael McDevitt, who wrote the forward to the CNA paper, noted thatContest for the South China, “holds up very well some 40 years later.”

These works were the first attempts to explain the history of the disputes to English-speaking audiences. They share some common features:

  • They were written by specialists in international law or political science rather than by maritime historians of the region.
  • They generally lacked references to primary source material
  • They tended to rely on Chinese media sources that contained no references to original evidence or on works that refer to these sources
  • They tended to quote newspaper articles from many years later as proof of fact
  • They generally lacked historical contextualizing information
  • They were written by authors with strong links to China

The early works on the disputes

English-language writing on the South China Sea disputes emerged in the immediate aftermath of the “Battle of the Paracels” in January 1974, when PRC forces evicted Republic of Vietnam (“South Vietnam”) forces from the western half of the islands.

The first analyses were journalistic, including one by Cheng Huan, then a Chinese-Malaysian law student in London now a senior legal figure in Hong Kong, in the following month’s edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review. In it, he opined that, “China’s historical claim [to the Paracels] is so well documented and for so many years back into the very ancient past, that it would be well nigh impossible for any other country to make a meaningful counter claim.” This judgement by a fresh-faced student was approvingly quoted in Chi-Kin Lo’s 1989 book “China’s Policy Towards Territorial Disputes.”

The first academic works appeared the following year. They included a paper by Tao Cheng for the Texas International Law Journal and another by Hungdah Chiu and ChoonHo Park for Ocean Development & International Law. The following year, the Institute for Asian Studies in Hamburg published a monograph by the German academic, Dieter Heinzig, entitled ‘

Cheng’s paper relied primarily upon Chinese sources with additional information from American news media. The main Chinese sources were commercial magazines from the 1930s notably editions of the Shanghai-based Wai Jiao Ping Lun [Wai Chiao Ping Lun] (Foreign Affairs Review) from 1933 and 1934 and Xin Ya Xiya yue kan [Hsin-ya-hsi-ya yueh kan] (New Asia Monthly) from 1935. These were supplemented by material from the Hong Kong-based news magazine Ming Pao Monthly from 1973 and 1974. Other newspapers quoted included Kuo Wen Chou Pao (National News Weekly), published in Shanghai between 1924 and 1937, Renmin Ribao [Jen Ming Jih Pao](People’s Daily) and the New York Times. Cheng didn’t reference any French, Vietnamese or Philippine sources with the exception of a 1933 article from La Geographie that had been translated and reprinted in Wai Jiao Ping Lun.

The paper by Hungdah Chiu and ChoonHo Park relied upon similar sources. In crucial sections it quotes evidence based upon articles published in 1933 in Wai Jiao Ping Lun and Wai Jiao Yue Bao [Wai-chiao yüeh-pao] (Diplomacy monthly), and Fan-chih yüeh-k’an [Geography monthly] from 1934 as well as Kuo-wen Chou Pao[National news weekly] from 1933 and the Chinese government’s own Wai-chiao-pu kung-pao, [Gazette of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs]. It supplements this information with material gathered from a 1948 Shanghai publication by Cheng Tzu-yüeh, Nan-hai chu-tao ti-li chih-lūeh (General records on the geography of southern islands) and Republic of China government statements from 1956 and 1974.

Chiu and Park do use some Vietnamese references, notably eight press releases or fact sheets provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam in Washington. They also refer to some, “unpublished material in the possession of the authors.” However, the vast majority of their sources are from the Chinese media.

Writing a year later, Dieter Heinzig relied, in particular, on editions of two Hong Kong-based publications Ch’i-shih nien-tai (Seventies Monthly) and Ming Pao Monthlypublished in March and May 1974 respectively.

What is significant is that all these foundational papers used as their basic references Chinese media articles that were published at times when discussion about the South China Sea was highly politicised. 1933 was the year that France formally annexed features in the Spratly Islands – provoking widespread anger in China, 1956 was when a Philippine businessman, Tomas Cloma, claimed most of the Spratlys for his own independent country of “Freedomland” – provoking counterclaims by the RoC, PRC and Republic of Vietnam; and 1974 was the year of the Paracels battle.

Newspaper articles published during these three periods cannot be assumed to be neutral and dispassionate sources of factual evidence. Rather, they should be expected to be partisan advocates of particular national viewpoints. This is not to say they are automatically incorrect but it would be prudent to verify their claims with primary sources. This is not something that the authors did.

The pattern set by Cheng, Chiu and Park and Heinzig was then repeated in Marwyn Samuels’ book Contest for the South China Sea. Samuels himself acknowledges the Chinese bias of his sources in the book’s Introduction, when he states “this is not a study primarily either in Vietnamese or Philippine maritime history, ocean policy or interests in the South China Sea. Rather, even as the various claims and counterclaims are treated at length, the ultimate concern here is with the changing character of Chinese ocean policy.” Compounding the issues, Samuels acknowledges that his Asian research was primarily in Taiwanese archives. However, crucial records relating to the RoC’s actions in the South China Sea in the early 20th Century were only declassified in 2008/9, long after his work was published.

There was another burst of history-writing in the late 1990s. The former US State Department Geographer turned oil-sector consultant Daniel Dzurek wrote a paper for the International Boundaries Research Unit of the University of Durham in 1996 and a book by an Australian analyst Greg Austin was published in 1998. Austin’s historical sections reference Samuels’ book, the paper by Chiu and Park, a document published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in January 1980 entitled “China’s indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha islands” and an article by Lin Jinzhi in the People’s Daily. Dzurek’s are similar.

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