¶ Increase Environmental Resilience
President David Arnold meets with young leaders in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, during the 5th Freedom Online Conference.
Chairman David M. Lampton and Lotus Circle 2016 Honoree, First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mrs. Rula Ghani, at the sixth annual Lotus Leadership Awards Gala in New York City.
President Arnold meets with Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Cho Tae-yong in Seoul.
Asia’s rise has been dramatic, with unprecedented economic growth and investment, expanding access to information, and an explosion of savvy technology users. But new obstacles are emerging in some parts of the region, alongside enduring challenges: a narrowing of space for civil society; increasing insecurity; large-scale human migration; an epidemic of violence against women; and climate change that threatens food security and political stability. These challenges are made worse by weak governance and institutions, a lack of political will, and declining international resources. In 2016, The Asia Foundation’s work has never been more relevant.
This year the Foundation conducted a year-long examination of our unique approach and future directions, called TAF2020. We are pleased to report that The Asia Foundation, now more than ever, is well-positioned to improve lives and expand opportunities across Asia. Our strategic planning process concluded with a new framework that will guide our efforts to address the critical issues facing Asia in the 21st century, and we are committed to engaging our longstanding networks, forging strategic partnerships, nurturing rising leaders, and leveraging new technologies to bring about transformative impact.
Change requires extraordinary individuals, organizations, and institutions. It also requires a catalyst, a convener, and a consensus-builder. Our ability to ensure that Asian reformers are equipped with the tools, skills, and resources they need to realize a more peaceful, just, and thriving Asia has long distinguished the Foundation. Our network of 18 country offices and unique funding model, which includes U.S. philanthropists like The Lotus Circle, allows us to innovate, pilot, and adapt in some of the most dynamic and challenging settings. It’s our long-term view and deep history, paired with an iterative approach, and an ability to respond rapidly to opportunities and challenges that allowed us to create results over this past year.
An educated population is equipped to overcome poverty and injustice, and in Cambodia we crowdfunded a brand new digital library platform in Khmer and English on low-cost Android tablets. In Pakistan, where deadly attacks against religious minorities are growing, we launched an early warning system in 10 districts of human rights defenders that successfully prevented dozens of deaths. In Thailand, where shrimp and seafood processing is a multi-billion dollar export industry, we discovered that enforcing the legal rights and protections of migrant children under Thai labor law would actually strengthen the Thai economy—if government, industry, and civil society work collaboratively. And in Washington, we presented our annual Survey of the Afghan People at a crucial moment for Afghanistan, as a new unity government works to protect the fragile progress the country has made.
A flourishing Asia requires our support of rising leaders, like our 2015 Asia Foundation Development Fellows. They include Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, who, after studying law in Manila, has returned to her homeland of Cotabato City in Mindanao, the Philippines. Despite the challenges, she is deeply committed to a self-governing Muslim majority political entity and enduring peace, instead of the region’s long, bloody war. And Ritesh Singhania who is personally tackling climate change and energy challenges in India head-on by working with a social enterprise in the Indian Himalayas to generate clean electricity from the region’s plentiful pine leaves — the world’s very first pine needle-fed power plant is already impacting more than 50,000 lives.
The critical issues facing Asia have consequences within the region and across the globe. Together with young visionaries like Ritesh and Sha Elijah, we see a future of peace, prosperity, and inclusive development.
David D. Arnold
David M. Lampton
Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee
¡ Strengthen Governance
Experience and trust make it possible for the Foundation to be in a sensitive area like peace negotiations. The fact is, we have worked for nearly 20 years on local community conflicts in Mindanao—and we help resolve them.Steven Rood
Our vision is to see a socially cohesive, economically resilient, and politically plural Sri Lanka emerge out of the shadows of decades of violence and mistrust. We see a central and decisive role for language in this healing and grafting process.Dinesha De Silva
Have you ever heard the term ‘community policing’?
2013, 2015 – GENERAL PUBLIC & COMMUNITY LEADERS – NATIONAL
§ Empower Women
(Dari) Women are our daughters, sisters and mothers. Violence against women is violence against all of us and is violence against humanity.
(Pashto) Women are our daughters, sisters and mothers. Violence against women is violence against all of us and is violence against humanity. Violence against women has negative and harmful impacts on all of us.Radio Public Service Announcement
The Asia Foundation was early to look at issues regionally. Regional work depends a lot on networks, connections, and the flow of information; and we are uniquely positioned with multiple offices across South Asia to deploy those assets. This project is an example of how we link a national priority to regional opportunities. First, in order for women to be economically empowered, they must be economically independent in their own communities. Second, to have a significant impact on the economy, their entrepreneurship needs to grow within and beyond the borders. Today, 95 percent of all goods traded in South Asia go out or into South Asia—but not within South Asia. We successfully connected South Asian women across borders through very inexpensive technology to develop a business-to-business web portal to facilitate networking, access to markets, and information sharing.Sagar Prasai
£ Expand Economic Opportunity
Indie band Dengue Fever endorses Let’s Read! during the Foundation’s crowd-funding campaign.
¶ Increase Environmental Resilience
The Asia Foundation has extensive disaster management knowledge in China, including how to prepare communities to avert disasters, and to plan for how to respond when disaster strikes. We are trusted to bring in technical experts to build capacity for communities, training institutions, and government agencies and to foster systematic changes in disaster management. Since 2006, we have worked with Chinese partners from governmental and nongovernmental institutions who believe that, in addition to swift government response to disasters, training citizens in thousands of local communities is essential to making the country more resilient. Recently, we supported the adaptation of an all-hazard training course for community members and organized an eight-day training workshop for 54 Chinese master trainers from national, provincial, and municipal agencies, who will disseminate their training to the community level. The training program, which originated in the U.S. three decades ago, was highlighted as an example of bilateral cooperation during the annual U.S-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Chinese foundations and NGOs are also increasingly interested in responding to foreign disasters, believing that their own experiences at home, especially the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, have prepared them to respond to disasters in other countries. The Asia Foundation is supporting these early efforts to increase NGO capacity in international humanitarian work and foster networking. April 2015’s tragic earthquake in Nepal presented an opportunity to test their readiness, and major Chinese foundations crossed the border for the first time to respond to a foreign disaster. We sent two technical specialists to Nepal immediately to support their operation on the ground. Afterwards, we organized a seminar to share experiences and lessons with 20 major Chinese NGOs. And for sustained impact, we launched a two-year effort to build the skills and strategies of Chinese NGOs to respond to foreign disasters and increase the Chinese government’s understanding of NGOs’ role in international humanitarian aid.
¢ Promote International Cooperation
Country Representative Dylan Davis spoke with KDI President Joon-Kyung Kim about Korea’s economic potential and challenges, an aging population, and the role of innovation in advancing the country’s reforms:
Being a country that went from an aid recipient to an aid donor, Korea has a special place in history and the world.Joon-Kyung Kim
FINANCIALS, DONORS, LEADERSHIP, & CONTACT
2015 FINANCIAL CONDENSED HIGHLIGHTS (in thousands)
REVENUE, SUPPORT & INCOME
|Government: Bilateral & Multilateral Institutions||103,663|
|Foundations, Corporations, & Individuals||4,760|
|Programs, Grants, & Related Services||95,234|
|Change in Net Assets from Operations||-326|
|Donated Books & Related Materials||12,442|
|Distribution of Books & Materials||10,794|
REPORT CREDITS: We are grateful for photos and films provided by Conor Ashleigh; Michelle L. Chang; Gulbuddin Elham; Sara Farid; Karl Grobl; Armin Hari; Thet Htoo; Jon Jamieson; Leandro Justen; Nancy Kelly; Whitney Legge; Tim Meisburger; Molly Mueller; Tenzing Paljor; Amir Shariff; Ian Taylor; Arpaporn Winijkulchai DESIGN AND EDITORIAL: Kristin Kelly Colombano, Brent Foster Jones, Nancy Kelly, Amy Ovalle, and Eelynn Sim, with additional support by Keith Mitchell and Canton Becker