Former ''U'' prof., adviser to Carter dies in California

Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 5, 2001

Former University faculty member and National Security Advisor on U.S.-Chinese relations Michel Oksenberg succumbed to his battle with cancer late last month at his home in Atherton, Calif.

Oksenberg joined the University faculty in 1973 as an undergraduate professor of political science with a personal specialty on Chinese politics. He headed the Center for Chinese Studies from 1989 to 1991.

"He was a very popular undergraduate professor and a key component of the Center for Chinese Studies," said Kenneth Lieberthal, professor of political science in the center.

In addition to his teaching, Oksenberg played a role in strengthening U.S.-China relations. Throughout his career, he was an active organizer of committees focused on brokering relations between the two countries.

"Mike Oksenberg was instrumental in getting China to open this country as a research site for American scholars. It has proven invaluable and we"ve been going there for more than a decade," political science professor Jean Oi told the Stanford Report.

"During the Carter Administration from 1977 until 1980, he was the person responsible for policy towards China for the National Security Council," Lieberthal said. In the span of those three years, "diplomatic relations with China were established," he added.

After he left the University in 1991, Oksenberg became the director of the East-West Center in Hawaii and then a member of the Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University in 1995.

"In sum, Mike made many significant contributions in teaching, scholarship, organizational development, and US-China relations-development," Lieberthal said. "He saw all of these as related goals."

Stanford sociology professor Andrew Walder told the Stanford Report, "He was the country"s most experienced senior advisor to U.S. governments on China and someone who trained more students in contemporary Chinese studies during the last 25 years than anyone else."

Oksenberg is survived by his wife, former University social researcher Lois Clarenbach-Oksenberg a son, U.S. Army Maj. David Oksenberg and a daughter, Deborah Oksenberg.