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Insights and Analysis

The Best of InAsia, 2022

December 7, 2022

By The Asia Foundation

The year 2022 is almost through, and it’s time for your faithful editor to look back at some of the year’s best from InAsia. We’re grateful to our colleagues in the field who somehow found time to write these thoughtful, insightful essays and join us on our podcast. And we also thank you, our readers—for reading, for listening, and for guiding the fickle finger of pageviews to this year’s top posts.

Some of these are runaway reader favorites, while others, which often came later in the year and had less time to gain your attention, have a special something we think deserves a second look or listen. In light of their general worthiness, we present them here in no particular order. We hope you’ll enjoy them once again.

We’ll be back on January 11 with our always-popular “Predictions” edition. Until then, Happy New Year from InAsia.

—John Rieger, editor

Note: Click on the titles to read the stories. The mic means there’s a podcast episode.


🎙In Pacific Island Kitchens, the Revolution Is Being Televised

By Michelle Tevita-Singh and Sandra Kraushaar
The same processed foods that have fed obesity and diabetes in the West have triggered an epidemic of dietary disease in the Pacific Islands. Now, a hit TV show is pointing the way back to the region’s healthy traditional cuisine.

Five participants of the Pacific Island Food Revolution stand behind a cornucopia of Pacific Island vegetables and grains.

The teams from Vanuatu face off in season two for the right to represent their country’s cuisine in the finals of the hit TV series Pacific Island Food Revolution (photo: PIFR).


🎙A Path Forward in Afghanistan: Data for Humanitarian Assistance

By Tabasum Akseer
As poverty and starvation stalk Afghanistan, must the West turn away from a new government whose policies it cannot condone?


🎙South Korea: The Paradox on the Han River

By Kwang Kim
After beating a path to postwar prosperity that’s been the envy of Asia and the world, South Korea suddenly finds itself in a profound malaise, with plummeting birthrates and a generation of disaffected youth who call their country “hell.”

Seoul, South Korea (photo: / stock for you)


🎙Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on America’s Astonishing Reconciliation with Vietnam

A conversation with Ambassador Ted Osius
In this edition of the InAsia podcast, Asia Foundation Trustee Ted Osius reflects on his years as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam and the remarkable journey of two nations from bitter adversaries to friends and partners.


🎙The Heady Early Days of Rappler

A conversation with cofounders Glenda Gloria and Nobel Laureate María Ressa
The scrappy Philippine news site began as a social media pioneer in 2012, but quickly became a political lightning rod—and a canary in the coalmine—as social media took a turn to the dark side.


🎙LeadNext Fellows: Citizens of the World

By Nicole Ripley
Twenty young men and women from the United States and the Asia-Pacific are the first graduates of The Asia Foundation’s LeadNext Fellowship program.

The 2022 LeadNext fellows.


🎙Nepal Elections: Why Can’t the Mayor Be a Woman?

A conversation with The Asia Foundation’s Sumina Karki
Fourteen thousand women won political office in Nepal’s first local elections in 2017. As the 2022 elections approached, our colleague asked why all the mayors were men, and all the vice-mayors were women.


Notes from the Field: Sri Lanka’s Revolutionary “Aragalaya”

By Maljini Ranaraja
Amid Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis, the demonstrations that roiled the “paradise isle” forged a remarkable spirit of national unity.

Protesters fill the streets of Colombo ahead of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation (photo: Sakuna Miyasinadha Gamage).


🎙A New Generation Takes the Driver’s Seat in Bangsamoro

By Cris Cayon and Janice Fay Sevilla
Attorney Abdel Jamal Disangcopan and his parliamentary staff are part of a new generation of young professionals returning to the Bangsamoro to help deliver on the promise of peace. He joins us for this edition of the InAsia podcast.


In Mongolia, a Quest to Democratize Carbon Credits

By Mark Koenig
In Ulaanbaatar, a clever scheme will help the poorest households switch from coal-burning stoves to solar electricity by selling carbon credits.

This yurt’s coal-burning stove, used for heating and cooking, has been replaced with solar electricity. This pilot project hopes to pay for the transition to renewables by selling carbon credits (photo: URECA).


🎙A Push Factor for Trafficking: Gender-Based Violence

By Shruti Patil
One can lure victims into brothels and across international borders. The other is often hidden in the home. But the tangled relationship between trafficking and gender-based violence holds a key to detection, enforcement, and rehabilitation.


🎙Amid Commerce and Conflict, Some Border Towns Endure

By Nathan Shea
The market town of Torkham stands on the Old Silk Road, with one foot on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. As Islamabad seeks to secure its frontier, Torkham illustrates the tension between trade and security in conflict-affected border towns.

Trucks waiting to cross at the Torkham gate on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan (photo: Staff Sgt. Ryan Matson, U.S. Armed Forces / Public Domain).


🎙Transforming the Food Supply Chain, One Refrigerator at a Time

By Rodrigo Balbontín
A marathon coding competition in Bangkok hatches a winning app that could transform the food supply chain—and your relationship with your refrigerator.


🎙Strengthening Women’s Voices in Cambodia’s Research Community

By Sry Bopharath
Cambodia has an outsized need for up-to-date research data to anchor effective policymaking and spur development. But women must become a bigger part of this story.

A meeting of the SheThinks Network, a women’s research network supported by The Asia Foundation in Cambodia. (Photo: The Asia Foundation)


Last Year’s Predictions for 2022

By our Country Representatives
Finally, among our most-read stories of the year (number four on the charts!) was the first post of 2022, when our country representatives offered their predictions for the year ahead. How did they do? Join us on January 11 for their prognostications on 2023.

Happy New Year!


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].


For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

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