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PacNote #11 – Announcing New Staff Members at Pacific Forum

The Pacific Forum is delighted to announce three new staff members: John Hemmings, Mark Manantan, and Carol Li.

John Hemmings

Senior Director of Indo-Pacific Foreign & Security Policy and Director of Strategy and Planning

Dr. John Hemmings will join us in September as Senior Director of Indo-Pacific Affairs and Director of Strategy and Planning.

Dr. Hemmings will come from the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, where he has been a professor for the past three years. His expertise is Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and the US alliance system in the Indo-Pacific, on which he has published extensively in journals, magazines, and newspapers, as well as given expert opinions to various television and radio media.

As Senior Director of Indo-Pacific Affairs, Dr. Hemmings will explore the fluid and evolving strategic dynamics in the region, bringing clarity to current and looming competitive developments and their implications for the United States, its allies and partners, and beyond. As Director of Strategy and Planning, Dr. Hemmings will also be a part of the Pacific Forum’s leadership and management team.

“The Pacific Forum has long recognized that the Indo-Pacific is of vital importance in global affairs, and I look forward to working with regional partners and allies to foster dialogue and people-to-people relations that help strengthen regional stability and the rules-based order,” Dr. Hemmings said. An alumnus of the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program and former Handa Fellow, he added that he is “incredibly honored” to be returning to the Forum and looks forward to working with his colleagues to build vigorous and active programs for discussing the region’s greatest challenges and developing solutions across the Forum’s impressive regional network.


Mark Manantan

Senior Research Fellow and Director, Cybersecurity and Critical Technologies

Mr. Mark Manantan will soon join us as Senior Research Fellow and Director for Cybersecurity and Critical Technologies.

Mr. Manantan has expertise in cybersecurity and the geopolitics and governance of technology and innovation, especially in the Indo-Pacific. He has published extensively on these issues and recently launched two reports on data and artificial intelligence: Raising Standards: Data and Artificial Intelligence in Southeast Asia, in collaboration with the Asia Society Policy Institute, and the 2022 Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Asia Pacific with the AI Asia Pacific Institute in Singapore.

Over the past two years, as a Pacific Forum Vasey Fellow, Mr. Manantan has been integral in launching impactful cybersecurity and technology-focused initiatives at the Forum, and has also contributed to ongoing activities in strategic trade controls in Southeast Asia and our Women, Peace, and Security focus area.

In his new role, Mr. Manantan will continue to expand Pacific Forum’s research and policy engagements through increasing collaboration with the private sector and regional institutions. He will lead the Forum’s research and institutional partnerships to implement programs on cyber capacity-building, countering influence operations, and assessing the implications of artificial intelligence and the rapid digitalization in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

Mark says, “I am beyond thrilled to see what the future holds for the newly formed Cybersecurity and Critical Technologies Program, and I am committed to its founding principles of inclusion, diversity of perspectives, and collaboration throughout the Indo-Pacific.”


Carol Li

Program and Publications Manager

Ms. Carol Li recently joined us as Program and Publications Manager to support implementation of Pacific Forum’s programs and assist with the Forum’s growing in-house publication portfolio.

Carol was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and is a proud graduate of Roosevelt High School. She then went onto receive her BA in Civic Communications and Media from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Prior to joining Pacific Forum, Ms. Li has taught English in mainland China, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea, and she interned at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She is an alumnus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s MA in Asian International Affairs and Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution programs as well as the East-West Center’s Graduate Degree Fellowship program. During her fellowship, she led a team of interns and volunteers to organize semester long program entitled “Transformative Care: Creating Intertwined Futures Beyond the Pandemic.”

For her Master’s degree capstone, Ms. Li conducted research at the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and has published a report providing an overview of the People’s Republic of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Oceania.

Carol says, “I am truly honored to be able to engage in these important conversations and initiatives right here at home. Pacific Forum plays a key role in building bridges between people, institutions, and nations and I am excited to contribute to our efforts in fostering a more peaceful Indo-Pacific region.”