Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific

9:30 am – 11:00 am
Choate Room, 1st Floor, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Women’s entrepreneurship is increasingly understood to be a key driver of economic growth and job creation: an estimated $4.5 trillion could be added to Asia and the Pacific’s GDP by 2025 by closing the gender disparities in economic opportunities. Widely recognized as a key component of women’s economic empowerment, entrepreneurship has the potential to contribute significantly to advancing women’s rights, opportunities and influence.

Join us for the release of a new publication, Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific: Case Studies from the Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation. A joint undertaking between the Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation, the new report provides a unique assessment of the current situation of women’s entrepreneurship in the region and includes key recommendations for contributing to an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs. The expert panel will reflect on the report findings and go beyond to explore the most pressing challenges women entrepreneurs face in Asia and the Pacific today; proven strategies for addressing gaps; and how organizations, governments, donors, and the private sector can help women-owned businesses to prosper.


Priya Basu, head, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Secretariat, World Bank Group

Kate Francis, co-author of Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific

Amarzaya Naran, former project manager, Women’s Business Center and Incubator, The Asia Foundation Mongolia


Jane Sloane, director, Women’s Empowerment Program, The Asia Foundation

Introductory Remarks

Bart Édes, representative, Asian Development Bank, North American Representative Office

Please email us at dc.events@asiafoundation.org or call 202-588-9420 to RSVP for this event.

ASEAN Centrality and Regional Development Cooperation

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Choate Room, First Floor, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

50 years since its founding, ASEAN is at an important crossroads. Increasing geopolitical competition is putting new pressure on ASEAN centrality. Neighboring powers, such as China, are finding new methods for exerting influence through soft power and access to official development assistance. The 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore illustrated how ASEAN leadership is being tested by rapidly changing events and geopolitical alignments.

The United States and allies such as Japan, Australia, and India, have a strong shared interest in strengthening ASEAN to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region. While ASEAN unity has deteriorated in recent years, the regional network remains a critical vehicle for a rules-based order in this strategic region. As Chinese influence expands, the ASEAN regional architecture will allow the smaller states of this region to exert greater collective pressure and maintain an effective balancing strategy. Regional development initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have epitomized this new form of competition. Other major powers have followed suit, with Japan and India announcing new comparator regional infrastructure initiatives that may co-exist with or offer alternatives to BRI. These initiatives pose major opportunities and risks for ASEAN countries.

The Asia Foundation is releasing a study to analyze ASEAN’s role in addressing regional development challenges in Southeast Asia, and the potential for ASEAN to play a greater leadership role in shaping development cooperation. Discussion will include focus on ASEAN centrality and regional development initiatives, and approaches to Official Development Assistance, along with four case studies on disaster relief, workforce integration, human trafficking and sub-regional approaches.


Thomas Parks, Country Representative, Thailand, The Asia Foundation

Apichai Sunchindah, Senior Advisor and Researcher, Thailand, The Asia Foundation


John Brandon, Senior Director for International Relations programs, The Asia Foundation

Please email us at dc.events@asiafoundation.org or call 202-588-9420 to RSVP for this event.

Advancing Gender Equality in the Philippines

9:30 am – 11:00 am EDT
12 East 49th Street (between 5th and Madison), Conference Room 18C (18th Floor), New York, NY
Please bring a photo I.D. to check in at the security desk

The Asia Foundation invites you to a Lotus Circle Salon with Sam Chittick, The Asia Foundation office’s country representative in the Philippines. The Asia Foundation’s programs in the Philippines promote better governance to support economic growth, strengthen the rule of law, and foster peace and development in Mindanao. Building on its wide network of partners, the Foundation is helping government, local NGOs, and the private sector to strengthen democratic institutions and create sustainable economic growth. Join us to hear how the Foundation’s programs in the Philippines are empowering women and advancing gender equality

Sam Chittick was appointed country representative for the Philippines in July 2017. He oversees the Foundation’s programming in the Philippines, focused on supporting economic growth, strengthening justice and the rule of law, fostering peace and development, and improving governance. He leads a large country team with offices in Manila, Cotabato and Zamboanga, and engagements with a wide range of Philippine and international partners.

Please register for this event using the form below.

Approaches to Community Mediation in Asia

Community-based mediation is a proven alternative or complementary mechanism for resolving conflict and ensuring equal access to justice in countries that face a combination of capacity, time and cost, and social and cultural constraints that limit public access to formal legal services. In Asia, mediated dispute resolution has facilitated access to justice for the poor, women, and other marginalized communities and proven an effective method to reduce tensions which could otherwise fracture social relations between and within communities, exacerbate ongoing conflicts, or create new ones. The Asia Foundation has supported community mediation programs customized to local contexts in 16 countries across Asia for decades, operating in partnership with government in some places, supporting civil society initiatives in others, and facilitating collaboration between formal and informal actors.

Watch the recording of the event.


Dinesha de Silva, The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Sri Lanka

Preeti Thapa, The Asia Foundation’s Director of Justice and Governance Programs in Nepal

Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist, The World Bank


Kim McQuay, The Asia Foundation’s Managing Director, Program Specialists Group

Women and Peacebuilding in Nepal

9:30 am – 11:00 am EDT
12 East 49th Street (between 5th and Madison), Conference Room 18C (18th Floor), New York, NY
Please bring a photo I.D. to check in at the security desk

The Asia Foundation invites you to a Lotus Circle Salon with Preeti Thapa, director of Justice and Governance in Nepal. She will offer an update on the Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment initiatives in Nepal with a special focus on the role of women in promoting justice and peace. In Nepal, The Asia Foundation’s programs work to transform conflict, support subnational governance, strengthen women’s leadership, promote economic governance and enhance regional discourse on environmental resilience and human security.

Preeti Thapa is a U.S.-trained lawyer with 19 years of experience in law and law-related fields, gender, peacebuilding, and governance. She is a mediator and certified master trainer in interest-based mediation. She is an active member of a small community of mediation professionals in Nepal. She has worked to develop and institutionalize community mediation programs in 14 districts through five partner NGOs. Preeti has helped train more than 4,000 community mediators, one-third of whom are women.

Please register for this event using the form below.

As a Woman My Country is the Whole World

Water gathering

Photo/Hisaar Foundation

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Sausalito Woman’s Club
120 Central Avenue Sausalito, CA 94965

The Asia Foundation Lotus Circle & the Sausalito Woman’s Club presents a conversation featuring

Jane Sloane, Director, Women’s Empowerment Program, The Asia Foundation.

Sloane will talk about her journey to this global work in support of women human rights defenders and a global citizen movement, including what has sustained and inspired her own work as an activist and advocate for women’s rights and gender equality.

Space is limited. Please register for this FREE event by September 25:

Leaders on the Frontlines: Asia’s Changemakers of Today and Tomorrow

6:00 PM

Julia Morgan Ballroom | Merchants Exchange Building
465 California Street, 15th Floor, San Francisco

A special dinner honoring

Ban Ki-moon
Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations
With the Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award

Featuring the 2018 Asia Foundation Development Fellows

Hosted by Sydnie Kohara

Presented by:

The Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes prominent Asian leaders for a lifetime of achievement in government, business, and academia. The Award is named in honor of the late Dr. Chang-Lin Tien, former grantee and chair of The Asia Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, who is widely respected for his accomplishments in science, higher education, and U.S.-Asia relations.

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program brings together exceptional individuals who are shaping Asia’s future. Twelve emerging leaders are selected each year to join a vibrant community of changemakers working on the frontlines to address the region’s most pressing development challenges.

Fellowship Sponsors:


Amanda Minami and David K. Chao Family Fund

Visionary Sponsors:

 alibaba logo      


Jerome and Thao Dodson
Jared Frost
Bill and Mary Kim
Timothy Kochis and Penelope Wong
Janet and Clint Reilly
Suzanne E. Siskel and Peter Gajewski
Lucinda B. Watson

Inspirational Sponsors:

David D. and Sherry Arnold
William H. Draper III
McKinsey & Company
Singularity Ventures
Wells Fargo


Asian Art Museum
Clark Nuber
Dean Fealk
Winnie C. Feng
William P. Fuller
G2 Insurance
Lisa M. Lum
Amy McCombs
Wendy Soone-Broder
Bishop William E. and Mary Swing
The Tien Family
Marsha Vande Berg
Judith F. Wilbur

Information about sponsorship packages.

Contributions to The Asia Foundation are tax-deductible as provided in section 170 of the Code, with the exception of the Fair Market Value of $150 per individual ticket. | EIN 94-1191246.

6th Annual Young Lotus Soiree

Groups of young people at a party

Photo: Leandro Justen

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Eli Klein Gallery
398 West Street
New York, NY

The Young Lotus Circle is a diverse group of young professionals, working to benefit The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Program. Through social events and fundraisers, the Young Lotus Circle raises funds to improve the social, economic, and political opportunities for girls and women across developing Asia. We hope you will join us for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, culture, and mingling. The evening is hosted by Lotus Circle Advisor Lin Jamison with her husband Stephen Jamison. Dress is cocktail attire.

The 6th Young Lotus Circle Soiree Host Committee

Emily Chang & Michael Wong
Christine Cheng
Jennifer Fan
Gauri & Nick Gidwani
Chad Shampine
Xinyu Shannon Pan
Deshi & Neil Singh
Jeffrey Sun
Calvin Tse & Cynthia Zhang
Leo & Valerie Wong
Leyli Zohrenejad

With Special Thanks

    Tatcha logo

Terez logo            
To purchase tickets, please use the form below.

Gender-Based Violence in Asia: Prevalence, Protection, and Perspectives from the Field

3:30 – 5:00 PM
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

Globally, women experience gender-based violence at pandemic rates. About one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, mostly by an intimate partner. Despite variation between and within countries, rates of violence against women and girls are staggering across all settings and affect women of all socio-economic backgrounds. Asia is no exception. According to UNFPA, the proportion of women in Asia who have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the past 12 months ranges from 4 percent in Japan to 46 percent in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. Economic violence, emotional abuse, and sexual harassment are also endemic, with significant costs to women who experience this violence and to society at large. These, however, are often left out of data collection efforts as well as legal protections. Compounding this problem is the limited understanding of how gender-based violence against women intersects with other forms of violence, particularly in conflict-affected settings, and the implications this has on efforts to accurately measure prevalence and advance effective prevention and response measures.

Join experts from The Asia Foundation and the World Bank as they discuss these issues and share findings from new studies on The State of Conflict and Violence in Asia and Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment.

Adrian Morel, Acting Regional Director, Conflict and Development, The Asia Foundation
Sofia Shakil, Pakistan Country Representative, The Asia Foundation
Paula Tavares, Private Sector Development Specialist, Women, Business and the Law, The World Bank Group

Barbara Rodriguez, Associate Director, Women’s Empowerment Program, The Asia Foundation

To RSVP for this event, please contact us at dc.events@asiafoundation.org or call 202-588-9420.

Lotus Leadership Awards Dinner, San Francisco

St. Regis Hotel
125 3rd Street
San Francisco

The Lotus Leadership Awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made major contributions to the well-being of women and their communities in Asia. The San Francisco Awards Dinner will honor Akie Abe for her commitment to advancing women’s empowerment in Japan and Asia, notably in Myanmar; and Colorful Girls, a grassroots organization empowering adolescent girls and supporting their contributions to public life in Myanmar.

The Awards are hosted annually by The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle, a group of committed individuals, foundations, and corporations that advance women’s rights and opportunities across Asia. The events draw hundreds of guests, including diplomats, business leaders, young professionals, members of the media, and the philanthropic community. Proceeds fund innovative projects to empower disadvantaged women and girls in 18 Asia-Pacific countries.

Akie Abe is the Chairperson of the Foundation for Social Contribution. In this role since 2014, she is an advocate for education, women’s empowerment, and international exchanges, notably in Myanmar. Mrs. Abe established “UZU Workshop,” a leadership and learning community that organizes panel discussions and other programs to support and advocate for women. Mrs. Abe is also engaged in organic rice farming initiatives in the city of Shimonoseki. She is married to Shinzo Abe, the current Prime Minister of Japan. Born in Tokyo, she received her master’s degree in Social Design Studies from Rikkyo University in 2011.

Colorful Girls is a grassroots organization in Myanmar empowering adolescent girls of all ethnicities with leadership skills to advocate for their rights. Powerful young women from Colorful Girls are overcoming enormous obstacles and becoming leaders to transform their own lives. One teenage Colorful Girl created a successful campaign to fight harassment of women on public buses in Yangon.

The annual Lotus Leadership Awards are made possible by the active support of our Lotus Circle Advisors.

For individual tickets or to make a donation to the Lotus Circle fund, please click here.

For table purchases or more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Melissa Weakley at melissa.weakley@asiafoundation.org.