On June 29th, Dr. Tom Robinson, a respected scholar of Russia and China and co-founder of the Jiaozi Club, was remembered on the tenth anniversary of his passing in June of 2006. Nearly 40 guests, including the late Dr. Robinson’s widow, Youngshin Yoo; his son, Aaron Robinson; and Wendy Freidman, a friend of Dr. Robinson and co-founder of the Jiaozi Club attended the event at the well-known China Garden Restaurant in downtown Arlington, Virginia. As usual, the Jiaozi Club, a social organization dedicated to research and dialogue on Sino-American relations, had its signature dinner including jiaozi -- Chinese dumplings – and this time it was followed by a speech given in memory of Dr. Robinson by Dr. Richard J. Ellings, President of The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and Affiliate Professor of International Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.
Dr. Ellings was one of Dr. Robinson’s master's and subsequently doctoral students at the University of Washington and later served as his research assistant. In his speech entitled “Remembering Tom Robinson: Perspectives on the Jiaozi Club's Co-Founder & His Contributions to Understanding U.S.-China-Russia Relations,” Dr. Ellings spoke about Dr. Robinson as a scholar, teacher, and person, as well as on the relevance of his contributions to academia, the study of U.S.-China-Russia relations, and understanding China and the world today.
The event provided all those in attendance with a timely opportunity to remember the lifelong achievements and influence of Dr. Robinson. The 92-year-old Professor Leo Orleans shared vivid stories regarding Dr. Tom Robinson as well as on Russian and Chinese studies in the U.S., underscoring Dr. Ellings’ point of stressing the urgency in training more U.S. scholars who are conversant in both.
Dr. Robinson served actively on the Advisory Council of the Washington Journal of Modern China from its founding in the early 1990s to his passing. His scholarly interest was international affairs, including national security, international relations in the Asian Pacific region, Sino-Soviet relations, and Chinese foreign policy. He held teaching posts at several universities, such as Dartmouth College, the University of Washington in Seattle, Georgetown University, and the National War College. Dr. Robinson also worked for several influential think tanks, including the Rand Corporation and the American Enterprise Institute.
His writings included Chinese Foreign Policy (1992), The Cultural Revolution in China (1971) and numerous articles, book chapters, and edited volumes. Beyond his scholarly pursuits, his interests and hobbies ranged widely (aviation). He held a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, with a master’s degree and a doctorate in international affairs from Columbia University.
The Ameson Foundation is proud of its role as the facilitator of Jiaozi Club events and looks forward to providing opportunities for China experts and others interested in China to engage in productive dialogue in the future.