Notes from the Field

Asia Foundation’s 18 Country Reps Convene in D.C. to Discuss Asia’s Critical Issues

March 12, 2014

This year, The Asia Foundation is commemorating its 60th anniversary. Drawing on the expertise of local partners and our own development experts in the 18 countries where we work, we’re initiating a year-long, global conversation on six critical issues facing Asia. As part of this initiative, today in Washington, D.C., we convened all 18 of our country representatives from across Asia, along with other experts, for a day-long discussion. The in-depth panel discussions were held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and webcast live as part of our ongoing Asian Perspectives Series.

This event is part of a week of activities in Washington, including discussions with policy-makers, and part of the Foundation’s marking of 60 years on the ground in Asia. The public conference was designed to address the opportunities, priorities, and challenges represented on the panel, and to highlight Asia Foundation approaches to effective programming for reform.

“In most parts of the world today, citizens are making their voices heard and expressing their desires for inclusion, fairness, and above all accountability. The availability of technology enables an increasingly networked citizenry. What’s new particularly in these four countries [Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal] is the shift in the demographic profile to an increasingly younger society … and governance is a central question to resolving conflicts in each of these issues,” said Clare Lockhart, Asia Foundation trustee and director of the Institute for State Effectiveness, who moderated today’s first panel.

The event, “Addressing Critical Issues Facing Asia in the 21st Century,” featured four panels of Asia Foundation country representatives and other experts, and led with an introduction from Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold. Topics included:

  • “Fostering Civic Participation and Responsive Governments in South Asia” featuring Gareth Aicken (Pakistan), Dinesha de Silva (Sri Lanka), Mark Kryzer (Afghanistan), and George Varughese (Nepal) and moderated by Foundation Trustee Clare Lockhart, co-founder and director, Institute for State Effectiveness;
  • “Rights, Justice and Inclusion in Southeast Asia” featuring Silas Everett (Cambodia), Sandra Hamid (Indonesia), Kim McQuay (Thailand), and Steven Rood (the Philippines) moderated by Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director, Amnesty International;
  • “Women’s Changing Roles in Asia” featuring Meloney Lindberg (Mongolia), Susan Marx (Timor Leste), and Hasan Mazumdar (Bangladesh) moderated by Masako Shinn, Asia Foundation trustee and Lotus Circle Founding Member;
  • Luncheon discussion on “Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation” featuring Anthea Mulakala (the Foundation’s director for International Development Cooperation), Jonathan Stromseth (China), and Peter Beck (Korea) and moderated by Jennifer Adams from USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning.

For those who missed the event web stream, we will be posting on The Asia Foundation’s website shortly. Read more about our 60th anniversary activities.

Nancy Yuan is vice president and director of The Asia Foundation’s Washington, D.C., office. She can be reached at nyuan@asiafound.org. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and not those of The Asia Foundation.

One comment on this post:

  1. Gundu H.R.Rao:

    Dear Staff of South Asia Foundation: I am a tenured Emeritus Professor and Founder CEO of South Asian Society on Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis (SASAT). I was delighted to read the summary of the proceedings on 60th Anniversary of SA foundation. I was surprised to see, that one of the largest democracy of SA, India, did not participate in this event. I was glad to know about the 6 critical issues discussed during this event.Again, I was surprised to see that a major problem like Women and Child was not discussed. In India even today, 30% of the children born are of low birth weight. These low birth children end up with cardio-metabolic disorders. I would like to keep informed of the SA foundation activities.

    Gundur Rao
    12500 Park Potomac Ave, 306N
    Potomac, MD 20854
    301 444 4545

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