A Statement from Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold

San Francisco, June 8, 2020 — This week we are reflecting on the unique and challenging historical context in which we find ourselves operating today. Amidst the grief of losing more than 400,000 victims worldwide to the coronavirus, coupled with the economic hardships of an unprecedented global recession, we are together now also experiencing the anger, pain and sadness from the needless death of George Floyd, and the protests and civic upheaval that his senseless murder triggered. And we know that each of these crises is exacerbating the grave injustices that people of color, indigenous communities, and other marginalized people have endured throughout history and continue to experience today.

While The Asia Foundation’s work focuses on strengthening democratic institutions and promoting the rule of law in Asia, there are distinct parallels between our ongoing law and justice work in Asia and the continued struggle for racial equality and social justice taking place in the U.S. The Asia Foundation’s mission, people, and programs are defined by our commitment to equality, particularly for women, minorities, people with disabilities, and other marginalized populations. As part of that commitment, we strongly condemn institutionalized racism and discrimination.

The Asia Foundation’s programs on access to justice, social inclusion and community policing resonate deeply with the issues confronting the U.S. today. As an institution we’ve made a commitment to actively promote more effective, accountable, and transparent institutions; more equitable, accessible, and effective systems of justice; and to increase citizen voice and participation through a robust civil society. These efforts are making a tangible and concrete impact in addressing inequality and injustice.

The values that inspire and motivate our work in Asia are the same values that peaceful protesters are standing or kneeling to protect in cities across the world today. All of us who are part of The Asia Foundation are committed to its mission of “improving lives, expanding opportunities, and helping societies flourish” and share those values and are committed to their advancement. As we struggle individually and collectively to process, address, and overcome the systemic injustices we see around us, we rededicate ourselves to encouraging the values, purpose and mission that we believe in as an organization, as individuals, and as a global community.

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