The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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Thailand has enjoyed a period of calm following the 2011 national election, yet political tensions still simmer and the latest re-eruption of the long-running subnational conflict in the Deep South has entered its ninth year. Achieving a national political settlement and resolving the Southern conflict are obstacles for policymakers that bear the equally urgent tasks of securing Thailand's future economic growth trajectory and its place in an increasingly competitive Southeast Asian sub-region. We support peaceful conflict mitigation, criminal justice reform, democratic institutions and processes, and citizen voice in environmental governance. Read country overview.

The Asia Foundation and the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) Co-Hosts Regional Economic Cooperation Forum on ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) & Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

On March 28, 2014, at 9:00 am in Bangkok, The Asia Foundation, together with its local partner the Thailand Development Research Insitute (TDRI), hosted a one day regional economic development forum on "Making AEC Work for SMEs". The forum highlighted the important role that SMEs play in the ASEAN economies and addressed the potentials and challenges in light of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)'s goal of regional economic integration by 2015. For more information, read the Foundation's news release or visit

Profile of the "Bangkok Shutdown" Protestors

In February 2014, our Thailand office released a report, Profile of the "Bangkok Shutdown" Protestors, which presented the findings of a second survey of anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) demonstrators in Bangkok conducted on January 13-14, 2014. The short survey is a follow-up to the Foundation's November 2013 survey of the PDRC and Red Shirt supporters in Bangkok. The aim of this second rapid perception survey was to: (1) learn about the demographic composition of the latest PDRC gatherings; and (2) probe the perspectives of PDRC activists on a series of questions related to the current tensions, the February 2014 election, and related issues. Read more here.


Creating political space for dialogue and local solutions

Conflict in Thailand's southern border provinces has persisted for over a century, with recurring cycles of violence. The present phase of violence since 2004 further escalated in 2012, with an increase in shooting deaths, bomb attacks on civilian populations, and other acts of violence that have affected the security and well-being of Malay-Muslim and Thai-Buddhist communities of the Deep South. The Malay-Muslim majority population has long resented the failure of the Thai State to recognize its unique cultural identity, to grant it some limited form of autonomy, and to break the impunity with which security forces operate.

The Foundation's comprehensive southern conflict program addresses underlying issues that exacerbate the conflict, with a focus on strengthening the formal justice system and protecting human rights; promoting local cultural identity, history, and language; facilitating citizen voice in the peace process; and conducting empirical research to better understand the conflict and potential solutions. Last year, we contributed to an acknowledgement on the part of the government that local communities have a legitimate stake and role in the peace process, and launched a local grassroots network that successfully mobilized communities to articulate grievances and pursue local solutions to problems—including education policy, security, access to justice, and drug abuse among the youth population— through a "deliberative dialogue" process.

View a slideshow about peace efforts in Southern Thailand.

Previous surveys

Subnational conflict is the most deadly, widespread, and enduring form of violent conflict in Asia. It affects more than half the countries in South and Southeast Asia and more than 131 million people. Between 1999 and 2008, more people were killed in subnational conflicts in Asia than in all other forms of conflict combined. How can foreign aid help?

Click here for findings from The Asia Foundation's major study on subnational conflict: The Contested Corners of Asia.

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