The Indian Ocean Basin is the 21st century Marine Silk Road. It is the world's energy highway, connecting petroleum and gas producers to burgeoning markets in India, China, Japan and the rest of the world. Half of all commercial shipping crosses its waters. The security of its key choke points - Aden, Hormuz, and Malacca - is a major concern for participants in this trade, particularly the U.S. and, increasingly, India, China, and Japan.
But the region's future involves more than trade. Integrating discussions of geopolitics, science and technology, and culture, the 2013 Critchfield Conference, The Indian Ocean Basin: Navigating the 21st Century Marine Silk Road, was a catalyst for innovative thinking about the security of food, energy and water, sustainable development, and conflict resolution, and a launch pad to prepare students to meet the challenges of the Indian Ocean Basin/Pacific Rim region.