Camden Conference talk with Kristin Vekasi: The Politics of Critical Mineral Supply Chains in the Indo-Pacific


ROCKLAND – The Camden Conference, in association with the Rockland Public Library, presents Professor Kristin Vekasi on Thursday, October 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rockland Public Library.

Supply chains around the world appear to be increasingly vulnerable, and governments are looking at strategies to make them more resilient to political and market challenges, the Camden Conference said in a press release. Critical mineral supply chains are at the forefront of many of these efforts.

“Critical minerals such as rare earths, lithium and cobalt are essential to the devices that enable modern life and the technologies that are central to the transition away from fossil fuels,” the press release said.

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This lecture compares the approaches and policies for “economic security” and “economic resilience” in China, Japan and the United States and applies them to rare earths and other critical minerals. The presentation will compare critical commodity policies in the world’s three largest economies and assess the path towards more resilient supply chain governance.

Kristin Vekasi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine. Her research focuses on trade and investment strategies in changing geopolitical environments and political risk management of supply chains. She specializes in Northeast Asia and has spent years researching in China, Japan and South Korea. Her book Risk management strategies of Japanese companies in China (Routledge 2019) examines how Japanese multinationals mitigate political risk in China. Her current research examines how Japan, China, and the United States collaborate and compete to manage complex supply chains in Southeast Asia, focusing on industries essential to the green energy transition.

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Vekasi received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before joining the faculty at the University of Maine, she taught at the New College of Florida, was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo, and was a Fulbright Fellow at Tohoku University. She is a member of the Mansfield Foundation’s US-Japan Network for the Future and a 2019 National Asia Research Program Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research, where she is also a Nonresident Fellow. In 2021-2022 she was a research associate at Harvard University’s US-Japan program.

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Please contact Em Lewis, [email protected], for registration information for this in-person event.

Information for the 36thth Annual Camden Conference: Global Trade and Politics: Coping with Turbulence, On February 17-19, 2023, please visit camdenconference.org

The mission of the Camden Conference is to promote informed discourse on world issues.



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