Welcome to our newly re-designed Bulletin. Our goal is to bring you informative updates on our work, and on our symposia, scholarship, and meetings organized by our offices in the U.S. and Asia. Each edition will highlight new Foundation books, surveys, reports, and multimedia all available here on our website. (The Bulletin is also available for download as a PDF.)
IN THIS ISSUE:
Janet Ketcham, founder of the Janet W. Ketcham Foundation, first traveled to Afghanistan in 1971. Forty years later, she returned to witness and record profound changes.
In late June, Ketcham, who is devoted to supporting goodwill among the Afghan people, presented photographs shot on her recent trip to Kabul. In an exceptional evening at our offices in San Francisco, Ketcham shared Six Days in Afghanistan, a deeply personal program in which she shared her observations and experiences of a dramatically changed Kabul. Her finely composed images of students, daily life in Kabul, and the meticulously restored Babur Mughal Gardens, the largest green space in Kabul, moved guests and sparked conversation. Former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Asia Foundation Trustee Theodore L. Eliot, Jr. persuaded Ketcham to curate and present her show, and the ambassador provided his expert insights about the country during the Q&A.
Ms. Ketcham’s generosity has enabled our local Afghanistan office to provide much needed assistance to the Lama-e-Shaheed Girls’ School in Kabul. The school, which enrolls more than 4,500 girls, K-12, had been badly damaged during the past several decades of conflict. Through Ms. Ketcham’s support, the school building has been significantly upgraded with an improved roof, conference hall, chairs, and desks for students and teachers, and a complete overhaul to the school’s plumbing system. Beyond these improvements, Ms. Ketcham has embarked on a new project with The Asia Foundation to provide a computer laboratory and IT instructors at the school. The lab will be furnished with computers and printers and will provide internet access, greatly improving students’ skills as well as their post-graduate job search prospects. The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program donated brand new textbooks to the Lama-e-Shaheed Girls’ School in computer science, math, communications, and political science. Founded in 2008, the Janet W. Ketcham Foundation has built three schools in Afghanistan and has supported a program of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan in providing 8,000 hybrid poplar trees in ten provinces, teaching farmers irrigation and storage, and giving an alternative to growing poppies. View a slideshow of her images.
More than 200 supporters gathered at the Loeb Boathouse in New York’s Central Park on June 8 to attend the inaugural Lotus Leadership Awards, presented this year to pioneering AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho, for his extraordinary contributions to the health of women and girls across China. Dr. Ho is CEO of Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center.
The Lotus Leadership Award was conceived by The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle, a new community of donors working to advance women and girls in Asia through our women’s empowerment program; the award recognizes exceptional individuals who have contributed to the well-being of Asian women and society. Asia Foundation Trustees Gina Lin Chu and Missie Rennie, Rattray Kimura Foundation Founder Carol Rattray, and Graphis Asia Founder Masako Shinn—all Lotus Circle Advisors—chaired the inspiring, sold-out luncheon.
Attendees included former U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Asia Foundation Trustee William L. Ball, III and his daughter, Vanity Fair Columnist Sarah Ball; Financier Oscar Tang; Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai and Vice President of Global Art Programs Melissa Chiu; and Pulitzer Prize winning Half the Sky author Sheryl WuDunn. ABC News Correspondent Lynn Sherr, known for her reporting on women’s issues and social change, hosted, saying: “Women are history makers. They are pioneers and change agents.” Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold said: “Dr. Ho’s landmark HIV/AIDS policy work cleared the way for organizations like ours to speak candidly with young Chinese migrant women workers about their health and their rights.” Since the late 1990’s, The Asia Foundation has educated more than 900,000 women in over 1,000 factories in more than 22 cities and districts in the Pearl River Delta about personal health, safety, and their legal rights. Corporate sponsors included Chevron, Estée Lauder Companies, Credit Suisse, EastWest Bank, and Warburg Pincus.
2011 marks the 38th year of our partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation on the Luce Scholars Program. Launched in 1974 for young leaders under the age of 29 who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the course of their careers to know Asia, we have been privileged to oversee this remarkable program since its inception.
The heart of the year-long program continues to lie in the organizational placements arranged by The Asia Foundation for each scholar on the basis of their individual career interests and experience. Professional placements, along with intensive language training, are arranged in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, in diverse fields including the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations. Nearly 600 Luce Scholars have completed fellowships and gone on to extraordinary careers and leadership positions.
The 2011-2012 Luce Scholars include Adriana Akers, who will work on China’s urbanization challenges at the newly-established Urban China Initiative in Beijing; Daisy Larios, at Korea’s National Digital Library in Seoul; Kanika Metre, in Bandung, Indonesia with AKATIGA, the Center for Social Analysis; Perla Parra De Anda, with Bangkok’s Human Rights and Development Foundation; Abbie L. Van Sickle, who will join the documentation team at the Cambodia League for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights in Phnom Penh; Zimuzor Ugochukwu, at Ashoka India in Bangalore, supporting their Youth and Children program; and Mike Grundler, who will conduct field research and study ecological and evolutionary effects of climate change at the National University of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar.
Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold, a governance specialist whose international career has spanned Arab and Asian societies, kicked off a global speaking tour shortly after taking the helm of the Foundation in January.
Following events in California at the Pacific Council on International Policy and at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where Mr. Arnold discussed global implications—including on Asia—of dramatic political developments sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, he traveled to Sydney, Australia, to address the Lowy Institute for International Policy, the highly regarded independent international policy think tank.
That week Arnold blogged: “As the new president of The Asia Foundation, and former president of the American University in Cairo, this news, and the events that led to its unfolding, are powerful, instructive illustrations of what a lack of good governance, civic participation, and a functioning civil society can look like at full tilt. Our mission to improve governance and increase citizen participation in Asia requires we deeply examine the factors and forces that led to the sudden collapse of such entrenched regimes.”
Following his address, Arnold was interviewed by the editor of Lowy Institute’s widely-read blog, The Interpreter, and also by Radio Free Australia; the story was broadcast to listeners throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Last year, The Asia Foundation and AusAID Director General Peter Baxter signed an agreement for a strategic partnership to explore new ways to deliver aid and assistance in places affected by conflict and state fragility. More recently, we incorporated The Asia Foundation in Australia with a group of distinguished academic and philanthropic leaders.
This fall, Mr. Arnold travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and then to Singapore, where he is a featured speaker at The Economist’s Banyan Conference – Ideas for an Asian Century.
Asia is at a crossroads, and citizens and entrepreneurs continue to face severe challenges to prosperity. “Local economies are failing to live up to their potential,” says The Asia Foundation’s Dr. Bruce Tolentino, economist and co-author of Innovations in Strengthening Local Economic Governance in Asia. “A strong need to accelerate and sustain broad-based economic growth persists…effective governance and strong institutional capacity will sustain growth.”
Released on May 25 in Washington DC to international specialists and the media, the text is a timely resource for policymakers and development professionals. Case studies and on-the-ground insights culled from our cutting-edge economic reform and development programs in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam are highlighted; our signature Economic Governance Index is detailed for readers.
Formerly the Foundation’s chief economist, Dr. Tolentino recently accepted the position of country representative in our Afghanistan office; as of July, he’s been in Kabul, where the Foundation has been active since 1954. His appointment reflects our commitment to local economic governance as a key development component in the country. He is succeeded by Veronique Salze-Lozac’h, formerly our regional director of economic programs, based in Cambodia.
South Korea’s Green Growth
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged $97 billion in 2008 to pursue green growth. The success and challenges of that strategy—to date, a new smart grid, the Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth—was the subject of a recent conference co-hosted by our Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and the Korea Economic Institute. The private sector’s role in creating a low-carbon economy, and the regional context of Korea’s green growth efforts were explored; Dr. Young Soo-gil, Chairman of the South Korean Presidential Committee on Green Growth, gave the keynote address.
A project of The Asia Foundation, the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy aims to deepen and broaden the foundations for institutionalized cooperation between the U.S. and South Korea, and supports the Foundation’s commitment to the development of the Asia Pacific by supporting a comprehensive U.S.-ROK alliance partnership on emerging global, regional, and non-traditional security challenges.
David D. Arnold Meets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
On June 30 the two met at the United Nations to discuss issues of mutual concern, such as trafficking, and to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Landmark APEC USA 2011 Women and the Economy Summit
The Asia Foundation is honored to be a member of the host committee for the APEC USA 2011 Women and the Economy Summit in September. Hillary Clinton is the keynote speaker and The Asia Foundation will participate in a session in San Francisco focusing on barriers to entry for women entrepreneurs. View our webby award-nominated film on women entrepreneurs in the Northeastern Bangladesh city of Sylhet, who have joined together to advocate for better access to loans for women. Through their efforts, more women are now finding the means to grow their own business and boost employment in their region. In partnership with the Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund, we have provided technical assistance and training to women’s business forums in four districts of Bangladesh since 2008.
Tell Her She Can
As part of the program for our inaugural Lotus Leadership Awards in New York City this June, our digital media team screened two brand-new films. The first, Tell Her She Can, is an evocative, informative depiction of how the Lotus Circle, a new community of philanthropists, works with our women’s empowerment program to increase opportunities for girls and women in Asia. Empowered, ambitious recipients of Lotus Circle support are profiled. The second film, Partnering for Change: Dr. David Ho, is an inspiring profile of our first Lotus Leadership Award recipient whose groundbreaking research and advocacy catalyzed landmark programs in China and has saved countless lives
Foundation Honors Mongolian President
On June 13, President David D. Arnold and the Board of Trustees hosted a private dinner in San Francisco for His Excellency the President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, who was in the Bay Area to commemorate the opening of a formal Mongolian consulate. The Asia Foundation was privileged in 1991 to be the first international NGO invited to Mongolia; we were able to provide early support in the development of the 1992 constitution. Guests to the dinner included former Asia Foundation Presidents Dr. Haydn Williams and Dr. William Fuller, our Chairman of the Board of Trustees Ambassador Michael Armacost, Trustee David Andrews and his wife, Rozan Andrews, Asia Foundation Advisory Council Member and Give2Asia Trustee Bill Kim, and Asian Art Museum Director Jay Xu. Watch the slideshow.
Korea has pledged to triple its official aid to developing countries by 2015; increasingly, emerging Asian economies are contributing significant resources to less developed Asian nations.
In an expansion of our relationship with the highly regarded Korea Development Institute, we co-sponsored a dialogue in Sri Lanka for Asian aid experts and senior government officials from Singapore, Korea, China, India, Malaysia, and Thailand to discuss the topic of development assistance between Asian nations. The mutual benefits of aid and development, non-interference in political issues, and infrastructure investment and concessional loans were discussed in an atmosphere of learning and openness. Sri Lankan officials from the Ministry of Finance and Planning and Ministry of External Affairs attended; Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal delivered the keynote speech at the welcome dinner.
A number of insights from this important dialogue will be shared among 2,000 international aid and development delegates in November in Busan, Korea, at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Previous Forum meetings have taken place in Rome, Paris, and Accra.
We actively work with Korean government agencies and NGOs to improve aid effectiveness and share knowledge. Last year, we organized conversations for country-level representatives of The Asia Foundation and KOICA, the official Korean aid agency, to explore ways of cooperating on the ground in Asia. We also arranged for Korean aid managers to travel to Sri Lanka to observe local governance aid in post-conflict areas; Sri Lankans then traveled to Korea to study the country’s expertise in promoting public-private partnerships to accelerate development.