The Asia Foundation to Honor Leaders for A Greener, Better World: Niwat Roykaew and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi

San Francisco, October 10, 2023 — On Thursday, October 12, The Asia Foundation celebrates champions of sustainable development at its annual Leaders on the Frontlines Awards, honoring Mekong River defender Niwat Roykaew, climate advocate and Speaker Emerita of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and the 2023 Asia Foundation Development Fellows.  

The Asia Foundation is deeply committed to improving the management of natural resources, promoting more environmentally sound economic and development policies, and increasing the resilience of cities across Asia and the Pacific to the threats of natural disasters and climate. It will take place at the historic Julia Morgan Ballroom of San Francisco’s iconic Merchant Exchange Building to celebrate emerging and veteran leaders.  

This year’s Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award goes to Niwat Roykaew, chairman of the Chiang Khong Conservation Group in Thailand, who mobilized communities, recruited government leaders, and succeeded in halting destructive blasting and damming projects that threatened the Mekong River and its communities. The Asia Foundation centers its work on partnering with civil society organizations like these that can accurately investigate the impacts of development on the ground. The award will be presented by Phyllis Tien, professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and chief of Infectious Diseases at San Francisco Veterans Affairs, on behalf of her late father, who was the chancellor of UC Berkeley and chair of The Asia Foundation’s Board of Trustees.   

The Asia Foundation will also honor Nancy Pelosi, speaker emerita of the United States House of Representatives, with its Lifetime Leadership Award for her work with global partners to create a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable world. Pelosi has long placed solving the climate crisis and creating a clean energy economy at the center of her work.   

The event introduces the 2023 Asia Foundation Development Fellows, who are honing their leadership skills through an intensive yearlong program preparing them to address critical issues in Asia and the Pacific. Special guest Charlotte Pera, vice president and deputy CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, will share her insights with these future leaders from her long career focused on clean energy and climate solutions.    

The Leaders on the Frontlines Awards underscore the Foundation’s commitment to cultivating the next generation of leaders. Proceeds from the event will support The Asia Foundation’s Leadership & Exchanges program. The Foundation’s diverse leadership initiatives offer emerging leaders from Asia and the Pacific the chance to enhance their skills and deepen their understanding of regional challenges.  

Attend, register, and learn more about the 2023 Leaders on the Frontlines Awards.  

The Asia Foundation helps governments prioritize the environment in national and local development strategies, improve cross-sectoral cooperation in national resource management, and increase public and private investment in clean energy and green growth.    

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities throughout Asia and the Pacific. Informed by decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work is focused on governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations. The Foundation works in over 20 countries through 18 offices across Asia and the Pacific. 

Read more about the Foundation’s work. 

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
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