The residents of Jakarta, Indonesia’s chaotic, smog-choked capital, head to the polls on Thursday, September 20 to elect a new governor, rounding off what has been a surprisingly engaging, and at times messy, new chapter in the country’s maturing democracy. This is not the first time that Jakartans have voted in free elections, but it is the first time that social media has played a prominent role in the campaign. Indonesia has more than 43 million Facebook users, and Jakarta was recently named the most active Twitter city in the world.
This week, development pioneer Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, the largest nongovernmental development organization in the world, is in Washington, D.C., where he concludes his visit to the U.S. as an Asia Foundation Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Visiting Fellow.
Despite a major expansion of funding to the world’s most conflict affected areas over the past decade, many of these regions, including in Asia, remain afflicted by the same problems of poor governance, troubled state-society relations, and insecurity.
Approximately 35 percent of Cambodians live on less than a dollar a day, experiencing severe poverty. In cities and small towns, young people are vulnerable to false promises of jobs, or of marriage – and are trafficked into exploitative situations.