Asia Foundation Trustees Comment on Trump-Kim Summit

June 12, 2018 — Asia Foundation Trustees Ambassador Kathleen Stephens and Michael J. Green weigh in on the recent U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore.

CNN feature: History beckons for Trump and Kim

“My own sense is that he would only be ready to (totally disarm) at the end of a very long process and that his goal at the present time is to remain a de facto nuclear power while reducing the sense of worry and threat about that so he can begin to develop the economy,” said Kathleen Stephens, a former US ambassador to South Korea.
 
“I do think he is very serious about wanting to make North Korea a more normal country, looking more like its neighbors, more like a successful Asian economy,” said Stephens, now with the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University.

Bloomberg article: Trump, Kim Voice Optimism Over Path to Peace as Summit Opens

By sitting down with an American president — a longtime goal of North Korea’s government — Kim’s regime is advancing its effort to establish its “reputation, respect, and credibility as a nuclear weapon state,” said Michael J. Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Myanmar Times: Female representation in politics remains “strikingly low”

June 5, 2018 — The Myanmar Times profiles the Third Women MPs Forum, hosted by The Asia Foundation, to expand women parliamentarians’ technical knowledge in public financial management. The article includes commentary from Kim N.B. Ninh, the Foundation’s country representative in Myanmar and key findings from the 2017 Foundation report, Women’s Political Participation in Myanmar: Experiences of Women Parliamentarians 2011-2016.

Forty-eight female lawmakers from the Union and regional parliaments gathered in the capital city for the Third Women MPs Forum on June 2-4, organised by The Asia Foundation and Phan Tee Eain (PTE), a local NGO. The event was funded through the UK Department for International Development, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)…Women MPs, as elected representatives of all citizens in Myanmar, bring very specific perspectives to inform law and policymaking that can help transform existing institutions and policies, which have primarily been established by men over the decades, toward greater inclusive, effective, and equitable outcomes, according to Kim Ninh, country representative of The Asia Foundation in Myanmar.
 
“Gender equality is difficult to achieve if there isn’t a wider public recognition of how existing political, economic and social institutions, policies and practices can discriminate against women and limit their opportunities to grow and to contribute to society,” Dr Kim told The Myanmar Times. Numerous research by The Asia Foundation, Gender Equality Network and others in recent years have shown how deeply embedded in Myanmar the notion that “men should occupy leadership positions in the public sphere and women should stay within the domestic sphere”.
 
“As extraordinary as it is for Myanmar to have a woman leader as Aung San Suu Kyi, that fact doesn’t change the governance structure that has been built over the decades which favour men and inadvertently deepens gender inequality. The women MPs have a pioneering role to play in bringing new voices to legislative deliberation and prioritisation, and political parties can do much more to support women’s political participation from candidate selection to what policies they include in their platforms,” she explained.

Asia Foundation Trustee Ambassador Kathleen Stephens Appointed as President & CEO of KEI

May 25, 2018 — Yonhap News features an article about Asia Foundation Trustee Kathleen Stephens’ appointment as president & CEO of Washington, D.C-based Korea Economic Institute of America, effective September 1, 2018.

“This is an important time in the U.S.-Korea relationship,” she said in a statement released by the institute. “Interest in the policy challenges we face is higher than I’ve ever seen it, whether on the Hill, in media and academia, or in the broader public.”
 
Ambassador Kathleen Stephens rejoined The Asia Foundation Board of Trustees in 2015 after her posting in India as the Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. She is the William J. Perry Fellow in the Korea Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC). Amb. Stephens, a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, was previously Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and served in numerous posts in Washington, Asia, and Europe. Stephens’ overseas postings included service in China, Korea, Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland.

Myanmar Times: A front row seat to five years of change

March 23, 2018 — The Myanmar Times publishes an op-ed from Kim N. B. Ninh, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Myanmar, on the country’s transition and what lies ahead.

“Having had the privilege of re-establishing the foundation’s office in Myanmar and observing and supporting the transition for the past five years, I hope that the efforts of many in Myanmar to rebuild their nation will not become a lost narrative amid the myriad challenges facing this extraordinary country”

The Economist Cites 2017 Afghan Survey

March 1, 2018 — The Economist cites the 2017 Survey of the Afghan People in “Afghanistan’s fragile government picks a dangerous fight.”

Meanwhile, ordinary Afghans see little improvement in their daily lives. Outside his tyre shop in central Kabul, Hassan Ali nervously wipes a knife against his knee. “Even in the civil war I could eat,” he says, “but now I go hungry most nights.” According to a survey conducted last year by the Asia Foundation, a think-tank, 33% of Afghans feel optimistic about the country’s future; 61% are pessimistic. When Mr Ghani took office in 2014, the optimists outnumbered the pessimists by 55% to 40%.

Devex: What Role is There for Development Actors in Thailand?

February 5, 2018 — Devex features an in-depth interview with Thomas Parks, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Thailand, on the role of international development actors in Thailand.

Asia Foundation has worked in Thailand since 1954, adapting its program as the country rapidly developed: “Today, Thailand doesn’t need the support or kind of things we do in other countries in Southeast Asia,” Parks said. “So we’ve been trying to figure out: What are Thailand’s biggest challenges, and what role is there, if any, for development actors?”

Forbes: Cambodia Has Its Own Mobile Payment App, But Will It Catch On Beyond Phnom Penh?

January 17, 2018 — Forbes highlights data from the survey Mobile Phones and Internet Use in Cambodia 2016 in an article, “Cambodia Has Its Own Mobile Payment App, But Will It Catch On Beyond Phnom Penh?

Infrastructure used to be a challenge in the mountainous and forested countryside, but a fierce coverage war among Cambodia’s telecom operators quickly brought the country to near complete 3G and 4G service, with a 4.5G to come soon. Half the country is using data-enabled smartphones, and although users are more likely to be urban-dwelling and educated, up to 40% of rural residents have smartphones, according to a 2016 survey from The Asia Foundation.

Foreign Affairs Cites Afghan Survey

January 8, 2018 — Foreign Affairs cites the 2017 Survey of the Afghan People in “Why the Taliban Isn’t Winning in Afghanistan.”

According to an Asia Foundation poll, roughly 93 percent of Afghans say they are fearful of encountering the Taliban because of its extremist views and brutality. But in addition to public distaste, brutality has also led to the displacement of families, civilian property damage, limited freedom of movement, and has reduced access to humanitarian aid, education, and healthcare—all of which have likely lessened the group’s appeal.

CGTN Highlights Domestic Violence in China Report

December 7, 2017 — CGTN features Impact of Domestic Violence on the Workplace in China report in “New study highlights impact of domestic violence on workplace, productivity.

These are just two of the several case studies cited in a research report titled “Impact of domestic violence on the workplace in China” conducted jointly by The Asia Foundation and SynTao Co., Ltd., (a consulting firm on corporate social responsibility), that was released on Thursday at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Beijing.
 
The report attempts to understand how domestic violence spreads beyond the household and impact the workforce and productivity of businesses in China.

ABC News: Afghans Slightly More Optimistic Despite Turmoil

November 14, 2017 — The Asia Foundation’s 2017 Survey of the Afghan People is featured in more than 200 international and Afghan media outlets including ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle, US News & World Report, Tolo News, and Yahoo! News.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghans are slightly more optimistic about the future than they were last year, despite a stagnant economy and near-constant attacks by a revitalized Taliban, according to the results of a nationwide poll released Tuesday. The annual survey by the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation, released in Kabul, found that 32.8 percent of Afghans believe their country is moving in the right direction, up from 29.3 percent in 2016. Another 61.2 percent said the country is heading in the wrong direction, down from 65.9 percent — a record high — in 2016.