Alumni Short

U.S. Treasury Department’s Robert Dohner Delivers 2012 Clarke Lecture

Ithaca, NEW YORK, October 9, 2012

On October 2, Robert Dohner, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, delivered the 2012 Clarke Lecture at the Law School. This was the tenth anniversary of the lecture series, which is presented by the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture.


“The Clarke Lecture’s aim is to bring a scholar or public figure of truly global prominence to Cornell each year to deliver a major public lecture,” said Annelise Riles, Director of the Clarke Program, Jack G. Clarke Professor of Far East Legal Studies, and Professor of Anthropology. “All of the [lecturers] have been individuals who have somehow challenged us to think in new and truly innovative ways about some aspect of law and governance in East Asia.”

In his position at the Treasury, Dohner is responsible for the region extending from Pakistan and India through China, Korea, and Japan. He has previously served as the Department’s Director of the East Asia Office, Tokyo Financial Attaché, and Director of the Office of Central and Eastern Europe. Before joining Treasury, Dohner was a Senior Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, a Principal Economist at the OECD, and Senior Economic Adviser to Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs. He also taught economics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and he has worked at the GATT and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

“There’s really no one better, I think, to serve as our tenth Clarke lecturer,” said Riles. “He is probably the major figure defining what the U.S. position is on our evolving relationships in East, Southeast, and South Asia in the financial field.”

In his lecture, “U.S. Policy and the Changing Economic and Financial Landscape of East Asia,” Dohner explained some of the trends and forces that have shaped the region’s economies in recent years and also addressed the importance of U.S. involvement in the region, including in the Trans-Pacific Partnership now under negotiation. Dohner concluded with four take-away points: Future growth in the region is not a given; in order to succeed, East Asian nations need to grow in ways different from the past; domestic, or even regional, efforts alone may not be sufficient to drive effective economic reform; and the United States has a huge economic interest in East Asia and remains vital to growth in the region.

Funded by a gift to Cornell Law School by Jack G. and Dorothea S. Clarke, the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture brings a broad interdisciplinary and humanistic focus to the study of law in East Asia. Through research, teaching, and scholarly dialogue, it seeks to expand the purview of legal scholarship and to develop new ways of thinking about transnational law, politics, and culture.

--Owen Lubozynski