Insights and Analysis

A Look at Asia Foundation Highlights in 2016

January 27, 2016

By Eelynn Sim and Amy Ovalle

What’s ahead in 2016 at The Asia Foundation? Over the next 12 months, we’ll be examining emerging trends in development, sharing insights into addressing Asia’s critical issues, and featuring the knowledge of our engaged partner and donor communities. Some upcoming highlights include:

January. Bringing together prominent journalists and development practitioners from across the region, our South Asian Forum for Minorities on January 20-21 in Bangkok presented a timely discussion on the equitable representation of minorities in the political process and other critical issues involved in protecting the estimated 2.3 billion minority individuals in South Asia. Our deputy country representative, Ameena Ilahi, and team manager, Nadia Tariq Ali, both from Pakistan, and Thailand country representative, Kim McQuay, participated in the regional forum which produced a call to action, requesting the leaders of SAARC countries to ensure the implementation of internationally recognized minority rights.

February. We co-host the high-profile Australasian Aid Conference organized by the Development Policy Centre at Australian National University, Canberra on February 10 and 11. This event brings together more than 200 notable researchers, academics, and private and government aid practitioners from around the world working on aid and international development policy. Our senior vice president of Programs, Gordon Hein, will open the conference and, on a later day, lead a panel on “Aid to and from Asia.”

Australasian Aid Conference

2014 Asia Foundation Development Fellow Thiem Bui attends Australasian Aid Conference. In February, The Asia Foundation will co-host with ANU the third annual conference in Canberra.

March. Asia Foundation experts will present at the World Bank Group’s Fragility, Conflict, and Violence Forum in Washington, D.C., from March 1-3. Steven Rood, Philippines country representative; George Varughese, currently on sabbatical from his position as The Asia Foundation’s Nepal country representative, serving as 2015-16 Excellence Chair and Visiting Senior Scholar & Professor in Global and Area Studies, University of Wyoming; and regional conflict expert Patrick Barron, will speak on our “Beyond Toolkit: Supporting Peace Processes in Asia” report and politically informed approaches to supporting peace in the Philippines, Myanmar, and Nepal.

April. Anthea Mulakala, director of the Foundation’s International Development Cooperation program, is the co-author of a new book, India’s Approach to Development Cooperation, slated for an April release by Routledge at an event in New Delhi. India is emerging as a key player in the development cooperation arena, and increasingly known for its leadership and advocacy of a distinctly southern approach to development.

May. As the country prepares for 2016 Philippines elections in May, our office is mobilizing an innovative disability-inclusiveness “Fully Abled Nation” program to support accessible polling centers for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and other marginalized populations. For additional insights and analysis on the elections and what’s at stake for the nation’s economic growth, poverty alleviation efforts, and progress toward peace in Mindanao, keep reading our blog for expert commentary from our Philippine office.

Also in May, our annual fundraising event in New York City, the Lotus Leadership Awards Gala, will mark six years of honoring outstanding individuals and organizations who share The Asia Foundation’s goal of helping women and girls in Asia reach their full potential. Last year, the Lotus Circle honored Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn and Dr. Ranjana Kumari for their work in raising awareness about the challenges women face across the region, including domestic violence and trafficking, and we look forward to honoring changemakers in empowering women.

July. Filling a critical gap in support of women entrepreneurs in Ulaanbaatar, plans are in the works for Mongolia’s first-ever Women’s Business Center and Incubator. This innovative partnership, together with KOICA, will draw on The Asia Foundation’s decades of work in supporting women’s businesses, a strong track record of coalition-building, and extensive in-country partnerships in Mongolia.

August. The private sector is an increasingly important player in Asian development. Our second 2016 dialogue under the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation series, organized with the Korea Development Institute (KDI), will look at the growing role of corporations and CSR and shared value approaches to help advance social progress.

September. In 2016, our third class of Asia Foundation Development Fellows will visit San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as part of a prestigious leadership program to engage with Asia’s emerging development innovators and policymakers. Stay tuned as we soon announce the new class of 2016 fellows, and learn about their community successes and aspirations in addressing critical issues facing Asia today.

November. Our annual Survey of the Afghan People is planned for release in Kabul and Washington, D.C., in November. Often cited by influencers in government, development, donor, and diplomatic communities, the major public opinion poll provides insight into the views of Afghan citizens. More than 75,000 Afghans have been polled since 2004, and all data is public. The 2016 survey will continue to deepen analyses and discussions on security, the economy, and other issues central to the country’s development.

December. Coinciding with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, we expect to issue our signature America’s Role in Asia featuring “Asian views” for policy recommendations to the transition team of the new administration. ARA 2016 will feature insights and analysis from a wide range of political, economic, and social leaders from more than 30 counties.

This is just a glimpse into some of our development programs and events across our network of offices in 18 countries and the U.S. To stay informed, visit or sign up to receive news updates.

Eelynn Sim is associate director and Amy Ovalle chief communications officer for The Asia Foundation’s Global Communications department. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected].


About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].


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