Jerry Cohen RDI Breakfast
LIVE WEBCAST Friday April 10, 2009 9:00AM - 10:30AM Rose Conference Hall, Asia Society 725 Park Avenue, New York A buffet breakfast will be served during this program. 750 million of China's 1.3 billion people still live in rural areas, and are dependent on agricultural land for a substantial part of their livelihood. Although this rural majority reaped great initial benefits from the break-up of China's collective farms in the early 1980s, they have lagged steadily further behind their urban counterparts in the past two decades: per capita urban incomes are now 3.3 times as great, life expectancy in the big cities is 12 years longer and a city child is orders of magnitude more likely to attend college. Rural consumption of goods and services lags strikingly, and tens of thousands of village demonstrations and incidents of instability occur annually, most of them land-related. Three of those who have been closely involved in the Rural Development Institute's work in China will discuss the implications of these survey results for China's overall development and the development of the rule of law, and critical further measures needed. SPEAKERS Roy Prosterman Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Seattle-based Rural Development Institute (RDI) and Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Washington, Roy Prosterman (J.D. Harvard, mcl, 1958) has worked on land-tenure reform and rural development issues for over four decades. He has provided policy advice and conducted research in more than 40 countries in Asia, the former Soviet Union, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, with work in China beginning in 1987. Prosterman has received many awards and distinctions, including the 2003 Gleitsman International Activist Award, the Schwab Foundation Outstanding Global Social Entrepreneur designation, and, in 2006, the inaugural Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership. Prosterman and RDI have also been nominated for the World Food Prize, Hilton Humanitarian Award, Alcan Prize and Nobel Peace Prize. Prosterman is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at world forums on poverty alleviation and has published extensively on the land issues in China and elsewhere. Jeffrey Riedinger Jeffrey Riedinger is Dean, International Studies and Programs, and Professor, Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies at Michigan State University. As both a lawyer and a comparative political scientist, Riedinger has a developing area focus, with special emphasis on Southeast and East Asia. Riedinger's work applies theories of political economy and state-society relations to problems of economic development with a focus on the political economy of redistributive agrarian reform. He has worked with RDI on each of their large-scale China surveys, including on survey design and analysis. His many publications include several co-authored with Prosterman and Zhu on China's rural reforms. Zhu Keliang Mr. Zhu is an attorney and East Asia Program Manager of RDI. Born and raised in the countryside of Hunan, Zhu's family lived through the ups and downs of China's land tenure reforms of the post-war period. He holds a Bachelor in Law (1996) in Beijing and a J.D. (2000) from Willamette University (Salem, Oregon). Zhu joined RDI in 2004 after spending four years in private legal practice in Oregon with an emphasis on land use, real estate and general business law. Since joining RDI, he has developed substantial experience in conducting rural fieldwork, preparing research and policy memos, drafting laws and regulations, and designing programs and solutions for land tenure reforms in China and other East Asian countries. Zhu has published multiple papers on China's land-tenure reforms and property rights. MODERATED BY Jerome Cohen Jerome Cohen is the Co-Director of NYU U.S.-Asia Law Institute and has been an adjunct senior fellow for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) since 1995. Cohen has special expertise in business and public law relating to Asia, especially China. Mr. Cohen formerly served as Associate Dean at Harvard Law School and has published several books, including The Criminal Process in the People's Republic of China, 1949'63, People's China and International Law, and Contract Laws of the People's Republic of China, and many articles on Chinese law as well as a general book, China Today, coauthored with his wife, Joan Lebold Cohen. In 1990, he published Investment Law and Practice in Vietnam. The Cohens lived in Beijing during 1979'81, while Mr. Cohen took part in various trade and investment contract negotiations as consultant to the Coudert Brothers law firm and taught a course on international business law in the Chinese language for Beijing officials. Mr. Cohen formerly served as adviser to the Government of Sichuan Province, China; as chairman of the American Arbitration Association's China Conciliation Committee and to the New York/Beijing Friendship (Sister City) Committee; as trustee to both the China Institute in America and the Asia Society; and as a member of the board of editors of both the China Quarterly and the American Journal of International Law. He continues to serve on the advisory board of Human Rights Watch ' Asia and is a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.