Ernest Bower is senior adviser and Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies and codirector of the Pacific Partners Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is recognized as a leading expert on Southeast Asia. He is president & CEO of BowerGroupAsia, a well-known business advisory firm he created and built. Before forming his company, he served for a decade as president of the US-ASEAN Business Council, the top private business group composed of America’s leading companies in Southeast Asia. Over 20 years, he helped to establish and build the Council from the ground level, working with government and private-sector leaders from the United States and Southeast Asia.
Bower is widely recognized as one of the strongest proponents for close ties between the United States and Asia. He has been an adviser and innovator in creating programs and vehicles to broaden and deepen ties bilaterally and regionally. He engineered key private-sector initiatives such as the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Coalition, the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition, and numerous campaigns resulting in significant expansion of commerce. In recognition of his work, the King of Malaysia has awarded him the Darjah Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN), pronouncing him holder of the title Datuk in Malaysia. The president of the Philippines also awarded him the rank of Lakan, or Commander, for his service to the Philippines. Bower is currently the U.S. chair of the Advisory Council on Competitiveness for the Vietnamese prime minister and serves on the boards of the Special Olympics, the Institute for Religion & Public Policy, the American Australian Education and Leadership Foundation, the United States-New Zealand Business Council, the Malaysian-American Society, and the United States-Indonesia Society. He also served on the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Trade and Investment. Bower holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and studied Mandarin Chinese at Middlebury College’s Sunderland School of Foreign Language.
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