Brent W. Thompson Named 2016 Winner of Islands Society’s “Lowcountry in the Asian Century Essay Contest” – 12/5/16

Today, the Islands Society announced that an essay by Major Brent Thompson has been selected as the top submission to this year’s “Lowcountry in the Asian Century Essay Contest.”

Entitled “Leveraging the Lowcountry Veteran and Military Community in the Pivot to Asia,” the first prize essay is now featured on the Society’s official blog, The Islander, alongside commentary from senior thought leaders on foreign policy and insular affairs.

In his essay, Major Thompson notes, “South Carolina is home to eight major military installations with over 74,000 personnel and nearly 58,000 military retirees, many of whom reside in the Lowcountry.” He then argues, “By establishing relationships with its military personnel and veterans, the Lowcountry can leverage a powerful diaspora of service members with Lowcountry ties as they live and work across Asia and the Pacific Islands. These future leaders can enable the Lowcountry to maximize its influence in the Asian shift.”

Earlier this year, the Islands Society issued an open call to young professionals to respond to the following question: “How can we position the Lowcountry to take advantage of the U.S. pivot toward Asia?” Through this essay competition, the Islands Society challenged young professionals to consider the issues and come to their own determinations about what the future holds for our region. They were then asked to draft an essay that provides practical recommendations of how we can best position the region to take advantage of the Asian century.

With America’s future directed toward the Asia-Pacific, the competition forced young professionals to consider the potential impact of the U.S. pivot to Asia on the Lowcountry. On one hand, the region is at a clear geographic disadvantage when it comes to participating in the Asian Century. On the other hand, the pivot might provide new opportunities to transform the local economy and bring about greater prosperity for the region.

“We are excited to be able to provide a platform for the next generation of military leaders to share their perspectives on how local communities across the United States can leverage their military personnel and veterans to actively participate in the global shift toward the Asia-Pacific,” said Michael Edward Walsh, President of the Islands Society.

A military attorney stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Major Thompson wrote this essay in his personal capacity. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Defense or the United States Government.

About the Islands Society

The Islands Society is a “Top-Rated” American 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to inspire and empower islanders to participate in foreign affairs and overseas engagements in order to affect positive change in their local communities. The nonprofit therefore develops and implements projects that are designed to help islanders realize their full potential on the world stage. These projects are currently organized around two main themes: community projects and next generation leaders. The community projects center on ten issue areas, including charity, conservation, democracy, disaster relief, education, equality, health, innovation, security, and sustainability. Meanwhile, the next generation leader projects support artists, athletes, chefs, incubators, musicians, policymakers, storytellers, and technologists. To implement these programs, the nonprofit has launched local constituent societies around the world. These include the Baltic Islands Society, Caribbean Islands Society, Inland Islands Society, Pacific Islands Society, Ritō Society, and Sea Islands Society.


Image Credit: Marines via Flickr CC

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