Mr. Ernest Z Bower

Senior Adviser and Director, Southeast Asia Program, CSIS, USA

Ernest Bower is senior adviser and director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program and Pacific Partners Initiative. He is recognized as a leading expert on Southeast Asia. He is president and CEO of BowerGroupAsia, a well-known business advisory firm that he founded. Before forming his company, he served for a decade as president of the US-ASEAN Business Council, a 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 of close ties between the United States and Asia. He has been an adviser and innovator 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. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 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; serves on the boards of the Special Olympics Asia, the Institute for Religion and Public Policy, the U.S.-New Zealand Business Council, and the Malaysian-American Society; and serves on the Board of Advisors of the U.S.-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 Langua