The Asia Foundation Awards 10 Scholarships for Mongolia’s First Gender Studies Master’s Program

Ulaanbaatar, April 17, 2024 — The Asia Foundation awarded scholarships to ten outstanding scholars admitted to Mongolia’s first Gender Studies Master’s Degree Program. The cohort and graduate program mark a critical milestone in fostering inclusive dialogue and advancing gender equity across the country. The selected students represent a collective committed to promoting social justice and equality and come from a diverse number of sectors, including the private sector, media, civil society, and government. Launched in 2023 by the National University of Mongolia (NUM), the gender studies program is a multidisciplinary and intersectional course of study that fosters national academic excellence and bolsters regional connections to provide opportunities for Mongolian scholars to contribute to the international discourse on gender equality and women’s rights.

Four men and women sit on chairs with a table between them. There are two people on each side of the table. There are water bottles and tea cups on the table and two flags in the background.

At the scholarship award ceremony held on April 2, Professor Badarch Dendev, President of NUM, emphasized the importance of the Gender Studies program for Mongolia:

“The National University of Mongolia stands as the oldest yet foremost higher education university in Mongolia, and we are thrilled to have launched the country’s first-ever Gender Studies master’s program. This initiative co-supported by The Asia Foundation not only bolsters our university’s strategic vision to ascend as a research-focused institution through the expansion of interdisciplinary education and research but also aligns with Mongolia’s efforts to foster gender equality across the country through academia. Most importantly, the program lays the foundation for the future establishment of such programs at different academic institutions in Mongolia.”

A woman wearing a grey blazer jacket stands at a podium and delivers a speech.

Sara Taylor, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Mongolia.

Sara Taylor, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Mongolia, highlighted the recent partnership achievements of this initiative.

“The Asia Foundation is proud to have played a crucial role in enhancing regional cooperation for the sustainability of the Gender Studies Master’s program, by facilitating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National University of Mongolia and Ewha Woman’s University of the Republic of Korea in February 2024. This collaboration is pivotal in connecting the program with regional partners, ensuring its sustainability by fostering excellence through academic exchange.”

A woman wearing a black blazer jacket stands at a podium and delivers a speech.

Enkhbayar Tumur-Ulzii, Head of Secretariat, National Committee on Gender Equality

In her welcoming message, the Head of the Secretariat of the National Committee on Gender Equality Mongolia, Enkhbayar Tumur-Ulzii, extended congratulations to the first cohort of scholars:

“The National Committee on Gender Equality will be a partner and supporter in any way for this cohort’s researchers and academics to enrich the scholarly publications and articles regarding Mongolia’s progress on gender equality. We believe that the first cohort of the Gender Studies program will encourage many more generations to pursue and contribute to this field.”

The Gender Studies scholarships have been made possible through the generous support of the Foundation’s Lotus Circle community of committed individuals and organizations who support our Women’s Empowerment program to strengthen economic, social, and political rights and opportunities for women and girls in Asia.

Sarah Taylor and Badarch Dendev stand in the middle of the 10 scholarship awardees. The scholars are holding their award.

Sarah Taylor and President of NUM, Professor Badarch Dendev, with the ten scholarship awardees.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

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Reflections on a Five-Year Journey of Women’s Voice and Leadership in Sri Lanka

Colombo, April 16, 2024 — On March 18, The Asia Foundation held the event “Voice, Agency, and Empowerment: Reflections on a Five-Year Journey of Women’s Voice and Leadership” to mark the closing of the five-year Women’s Voice and Leadership project in Sri Lanka with support from Global Affairs Canada. The project was part of Canada’s Women’s Voice and Leadership Program, which is currently implemented in 30+ nations across the globe following principles in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. Working with over 60 women’s organizations around Sri Lanka, the project strengthened the capacity and activities of women’s rights organizations led by women. The overarching goal was to empower women and girls, advance the protection of their rights, and achieve gender equality.

The event featured the launch of a collection of knowledge products documenting strategies, approaches, results, and lessons learned throughout project implementation. There was also an exhibition with publications and photographs developed under the project.

Representatives joining the conference looking at exhibition.


The Women’s Voice and Leadership Sri Lanka project’s knowledge product display.

Several key individuals from the High Commission of Canada attended the event, including Eric Walsh, the High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka, as chief guest; Linda Ehrichs, counselor (development) and head of cooperation; and Wipula Dahanayake, development officer. The event also brought together representatives of partner women’s rights organizations, diplomatic missions, donor agencies, UN agencies, and other international and local Non-Governmental Organizations working in Sri Lanka.

Diane Fernandez, the Foundation’s deputy country representative in Sri Lanka, delivered opening remarks, outlining details on the project and its outcomes. Eric Walsh also addressed attendees, emphasizing the project’s focus on bridging gaps in long-term funding and recognition of the vital role played by local women’s rights organizations. He noted that these organizations are crucial to advancing women’s rights, providing resources, supporting decision-making, and empowering women to exercise their rights effectively.

H.E. Eric Walsh and the Foundation's country representative in Sri Lanka, Diana Fernandez walk into the conference together.


Eric Walsh, High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka, and Diana Fernandez, deputy country representative of The Asia Foundation in Sri Lanka.

Over the past five years, the project’s partner organizations have collectively impacted over 223,000 participants, helping advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in Sri Lanka through amplifying voices, enhancing leadership, and increasing economic resilience. The project’s partner organizations also addressed violence against women, all with the goal of fostering increased equality and meaningful participation for women in decision-making processes.

During the project, partner organizations contributed to various policies and frameworks, including the action plan of the National Policy on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, adopted by Sri Lanka in March 2023. They also contributed to labor rights initiatives, the National Plan of Action addressing Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Muslim Marriage and Divorce Law Reforms, and advocated for amendments to gender equality laws and the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Additionally, organizations actively participated in national governance processes and collaborated with government and civil society actors at district and divisional levels to combat gender-based violence.

The support extended to women’s rights organization partners through the project has resulted in enhanced initiatives and organizational sustainability:

“We were initially skeptical about working on a project on feminism. We were not sure how this concept could be applied to our local communities and our work. Yet, the various training workshops we took part on feminist approaches with the [Women’s Voice and Leadership] project, and the practical adaptation of this approach in our work, helped us realized that this approach, actually gave us an opportunity to look at our beneficiaries in a manner that is more inclusive. We feel more confident in using the word ‘feminist’ in our vocabulary, and in our documents.” (Priyangika Nishanthi, Manager, Training and Mobilization, Women Development Federation, Hambantota district- project partner)

 

“…we got a lot of capacity building training which we value a lot because we were able to strengthen ourselves and also to restructure the organizations. We revised our constitution. We also made a five- year strategy plan to plan our future. [The Women’s Voice and Leadership project’s] collaboration with IWARE is very significant in our journey with community activism.” (Aneesa Firthous, Executive Director of Islamic Women’s Association for Research and Education, Batticaloa district- project partner)

Four women wearing traditional clothing smile for a photo in front of an exhibition.


Representatives of women’s rights organization partners of the Women’s Voice and Leadership Sri Lanka project.

With the project’s conclusion, stakeholders will continue to build on the momentum and achievements, to ensure sustained progress in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Foundation’s director of gender and justice, Ramani Jayasundere, reflected on the project’s impact in strengthening the women’s movement in Sri Lanka and underscored The Asia Foundation’s long-term commitment to ongoing collaboration with local women’s rights organizations in the country.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Call For Applications – 2024 YSEALI Regional Workshop: Sustainable and Inclusive Cultural Tourism

Jakarta, April 2, 2024 — The Asia Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, is pleased to announce applications are now open for the 2024 YSEALI Regional Workshop: “Sustainable and Inclusive Cultural Tourism.” This workshop aims to encourage young leaders to talk about sustainable and inclusive tourism at cultural heritage sites throughout the region and create space for dialogue among young people to strengthen their networks and communities across Southeast Asia. The workshop will take place from August 19 to 22, 2024, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The workshop is fully funded by the U.S. Department of State and is open to all YSEALI members from ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste.

During the four-day in-person program in Yogyakarta, the cultural heart of Indonesia and home to amazing cultural heritage, 60 youth leaders from ASEAN and Timor-Leste will gain insight into the principles of sustainable and inclusive cultural tourism. Additionally, participants will be able to engage with fellow young innovators, cultural preservationists, and business owners from different parts of the region, establishing a strong network of leaders dedicated to making a positive difference in their communities.

Activity Highlights

Pre-Workshop Virtual Engagement: Two virtual sessions before the workshop will explore the concept of sustainable and inclusive tourism and provide participants an opportunity to network in advance of the workshop.

Regional Workshop: An interactive 4-day workshop in Yogyakarta will provide participants with an intensive learning journey, combining insights and interactions from leading practitioners and important figures in the region’s tourism industry. They will expand their understanding of the challenges of making cultural tourism both sustainable and inclusive while preserving important heritage locations and practices.

Eligibility and Qualifications

Applicants must:

  • Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university, place of work, and/or community.
  • Demonstrate interest, knowledge, or professional experience in one or more YSEALI workshop themes (cultural heritage preservation; sustainable and inclusive cultural tourism; socially responsible business practices; entrepreneurship)
  • Demonstrate a commitment to or interest in community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning and sharing.
  • Be willing to actively participate in classroom activities, onsite learning, collaborative work, and networking; and,
  • Commit to return to their home country to apply leadership skills and training to benefit their community, country, or the region of Southeast Asia.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time of application.
  • Be a citizen of one of the following countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, or Vietnam.
  • Be a resident of one of the following countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, or Vietnam.
  • Not be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Proficient in written and spoken English. (Note: No TOEFL, IELTS, or other test score is required. English language ability is evaluated through the application form and video submitted)

How Can I Apply?

If you want to take advantage of this chance to advance your network, develop your leadership skills, enjoy cultural activities, and expand professional connections and friendships, please complete the online application form by April 19, 2024, before 5:00 PM Western Indonesia Time (UTC+7).

Apply for the workshop before April 19

Follow YSEALI on Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter) to stay updated on upcoming opportunities.

Please note:

  • All applications submitted after April 19, 2024, 5:00 pm UTC+7, will not be accepted.
  • Selected participants will be notified in early June.
  • For questions, please contact [email protected]

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room.

Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

The Asia Foundation’s Project Conclusion Paves the Way for Gender Mainstreaming in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, March 22, 2024 — In Mongolia, The Asia Foundation recently celebrated the culmination of its four-year Women’s Economic Empowerment Project funded by Global Affairs Canada. The closing ceremony brought together distinguished partners from civil society, government, private sector, embassies, international organizations, and academia to celebrate the project’s triumphs in advancing women’s leadership and economic empowerment since its inception. It underscored the enduring partnerships and forward-looking initiatives poised to sustain and build upon the project’s achievements, ensuring a lasting impact beyond its conclusion.

The project catalyzed a significant women’s economic empowerment movement spearheaded by 22 civil society organizations. It championed policy reforms to foster gender equality in the workforce and financial sector. By engaging over 4,500 current and aspiring women entrepreneurs through the Women’s Business Center, the project significantly enhanced the ecosystem to nurture a more inclusive and supportive landscape for women entrepreneurs and women-led civil society organizations.

Kiril Iordanov, head of cooperation of the Embassy of Canada to Mongolia, delivered opening remarks, noting, “Full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it is also good for the bottom line.  Because when women succeed, everyone succeeds.”

Tricia Turbold of The Asia Foundation extended gratitude to all partners, donors, and supporters who contributed to the success of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project. “As we reflect on the project’s impact, which will be further detailed throughout today’s event by our partners and the external evaluation team, it’s clear that our collective efforts have made substantial strides. In particular, a significant focus of our project was to bolster the efforts of CSOs in Mongolia working to promote gender equality. Through our project, we have supported 20 CSOs, who have been pivotal in aiding women and girls in navigating the challenges posed by Covid-19, and it has also ensured the continuity of essential services provided by CSOs led by women from diverse backgrounds.”

A woman delivers remarks at a podium.

As the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project concludes, significant steps are being taken to ensure the continuity and expansion of its impact. Enkhbayar Tumur-Ulzii, secretary and chief of secretariat at the National Committee on Gender Equality of Mongolia, together with Munkhtuya Rentsenbat, chairwoman of the steering committee of the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association, have formalized their commitment to advancing gender equality within Mongolia’s financial sector. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to foster a gender-sensitive financial sector and develop inclusive financial products and services, including feminized loans, further empowering women across Mongolia.

During the signing ceremony, Enkhbayar noted, “We are incredibly proud of the achievements of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project and the impact it has had on policy, including the national cross-sectoral 10-year strategy to promote gender equality and the following policy on promoting Gender-sensitive workplace.” In closing, Munkhtuya remarked, “While the project may be concluding, our commitment to advancing gender equality remains unwavering. We are confident that our partners will continue to champion this cause and build on the foundation laid by this project.”

2 women sign MoU with two women standing behind them on respective sides.


From left to right: Ms. Munkhtuya Rentsenbat, Chairwoman of the Steering Committee of Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association, and Ms.Enkhbayar Tumur-Ulzii, Secretary and Chief of Secretariat, National Committee on Gender Equality of Mongolia, signs MoU

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room.

Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

The Asia Foundation Announces New Regional Initiative to Amplify Women’s Peace Actions in ASEAN

Bangkok, March 22, 2024 — The Asia Foundation announces its partnership with the New Zealand Government on a significant 5-year regional program initiative, AMPLIFY: Amplifying women’s peace actions in ASEAN. The AMPLIFY project aims to address the underlying problem that armed conflicts and human security threats disproportionately impact women living in ASEAN.

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS), a policy framework established in 2000 through UN Security Council Resolution 1325, aims to address conflicts and their aftermath with a focus on including women in peace and security efforts. Together with locally-driven approaches to tackling human security challenges, WPS serves as a valuable tool for promoting women’s participation in peacebuilding and benefits entire communities.

Despite the commitment shown by ASEAN Member States through the adoption of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Women, Peace, and Security (RPA-WPS) in 2022, progress has been inconsistent.

In response, the AMPLIFY project seeks to support women’s peace initiatives, particularly those that benefit women in insecure communities. The project will support interventions across ASEAN, focusing on Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam, with potential engagement in Timor-Leste as it prepares to join ASEAN. At the country level, the program will concentrate efforts on Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

“By fostering a holistic approach through this project, government and civil society will be better equipped to address complex regional challenges and contribute to a more inclusive and peaceful future for the ASEAN community,” said The Asia Foundation President Laurel Miller.

Taking a “whole of system” approach, AMPLIFY will engage women at three levels: in conflict-affected and insecure communities, within women’s civil society organizations, and among national and regional decision-makers.

The project aims to achieve three key objectives:

  1. ASEAN and ASEAN Member States demonstrate meaningful commitment to women, peace and security and advance knowledge and dialogue.
  2. Civil society organizations in ASEAN influence women, peace and security commitments and delivery of commitments.
  3. Women meaningfully participate and lead in peace and security actions in areas vulnerable to insecurity so that responses are informed by women’s voices and mitigate insecurity.

“AMPLIFY responds to human security challenges by supporting women to promote positive peace. It is a unique program that recognizes the linkages between the local, national, and regional levels in achieving WPS outcomes that are sustainable and impactful,” said Laurel Miller.

New Zealand supports AMPLIFY through the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade International Development Cooperation program.

The Asia Foundation Announces the Pacific Women Climate Leaders Fellowship Program

San Francisco, March 14, 2024 — The Asia Foundation announces the inaugural class of Pacific Women Climate Leaders, a 10-day fellowship program designed to recognize, support, and amplify women’s voices driving climate solutions across the Pacific region. The three fellows selected for the 2024 class are from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga.

The fellowship brings three women climate leaders from the Pacific Islands to the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City to participate in the San Francisco Bioneers Conference. The fellows will engage in climate diplomacy training in New York City and attend meetings with climate-focused donors and climate justice organizations in both cities. The fellowship also offers seed grants to translate the fellows’ ideas into action.

Meet the 2024 Pacific Women Climate Leaders:

Lydia Nenai | Papua New Guinea is based in Fiji and is the Climate Change Project Development Specialist at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. As the previous Senior Project Officer at Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change Development Authority, she worked on the intersection of climate change and women’s development. She graduated with a master’s degree in climate change from the Australian National University, where she researched drought implications on gender in Papua New Guinea.

Amelia Faotusia | Tonga is currently a PhD candidate at The Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs, researching the concept of the blue economy in oceans management policy and eco and cultural tourism in Tonga, Fiji, and New Zealand. She was previously an economist with the Development Aid Unit of the Tongan Government’s Ministry of Finance

Serena Lois Tiko Pickering | Fiji holds a bachelor of science and postgraduate diploma in Environmental Geoscience from the University of the South Pacific. Serena has worked in government and civil society and is currently in the private sector. She led the International Union for Conservation of Nature Global Youth Summit Oceania Region hub and was also involved in their Plastic Waste Free Islands project research. Serena is an avid volunteer who is passionate about mobilizing community efforts for environmental initiatives.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room.

Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Call for Applications: 2024 Fuller Fellowship Peacebuilding

San Francisco, March 13, 2024 — Applications open on March 18 for the 2024 William P. Fuller Fellowship in Peacebuilding. Fuller Fellows are early or mid-career professionals with demonstrated potential for leadership in the peacebuilding field and who are actively working to promote peace through research, advocacy, policymaking, community practice, or other realms.

The Asia Foundation will welcome a cohort of three fellows from Asia and the Pacific region. The fellowship emphasizes network-building between fellows and the global peacebuilding community to support and elevate their development and work.

The heart of the program will be a study tour and peacebuilding exchange in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Washington D.C. from October 13-26. Fellows will also participate in supplementary virtual seminars with The Asia Foundation’s Conflict & Fragility and Leadership & Exchange programs. The Foundation will provide a flexible USD $5,000 grant for each fellow to support their individually tailored projects or advance their professional goals.

The evolving complexity of the subnational conflict in the 21st century requires significant investment in an emerging generation of committed leaders to innovate and drive solutions for peace. The William P. Fuller Fellowship in Peacebuilding is dedicated to the professional development of the next generation of leaders committed to addressing conflict and peacebuilding in Asia-Pacific. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees first established the program in 2004 to honor William Fuller’s 15-year tenure as president of the Foundation. This tribute reflects the organization’s long-standing commitment to the field and Fuller’s particular concern for furthering the professional development of young Asians with the leadership potential and professional commitment to advance knowledge and practice regarding the management of subnational conflicts.

Applications for the William P. Fuller Fellowship in Peacebuilding close on May 12, 2024.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Learn more about the Foundation’s work.

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room. Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, and Instagram.

The Asia Foundation’s Future Skills Alliance Launches Phase Two of STEM ConnectHER, Paving the Way for Women in STEM

March 1, 2024 — The Asia Foundation’s Future Skills Alliance (FSA) launches the second phase of STEM ConnectHER. The initiative aims to promote women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Asia and the Pacific. Building on its successful pilot in 2021, the program will expand its network in Korea, Japan, India, Malaysia, and Singapore and provide mentorship and professional development opportunities to up to 1,000 aspiring and early-in-career women in STEM. 

Globally, women are often underrepresented in STEM, accounting for only 29% of entry-level positions and 12% of C-suite roles. The same issue persists in Asia and the Pacific, where less than a third of female students choose to study higher education courses in STEM, and only one in five pursue careers in science and related fields. A report published by The Asia Foundation and Zendesk highlights the vital role of networks in helping girls and women enter and succeed in STEM fields.  

STEM ConnectHER will work with FSA members and industry partners to address the gender imbalance in STEM fields, recognizing that promoting inclusive and equitable education and opportunities in STEM requires collective action. Networks such as STEM ConnectHER facilitate mentorship and peer support and provide opportunities for technical and leadership skills development, knowledge exchange, collaboration, and more. 

With support and funding from leading companies, STEM ConnectHER will provide female students and aspiring professionals across the region with access to learning resources and opportunities, including networking and mentorship sessions, workplace visits, job accelerators, and certification support. The program aspires to see more young women start and persist in careers in STEM fields, with the longer-term goal of creating inclusive and innovative opportunities for all. Learn more about the program at stemconnecther.org 

Register for the launch event on March 18 by visiting bit.ly/STEM-2024. Sign up as a student or a mentor or get in touch as an academic partner at [email protected] 

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals. 

Read more about the Foundation’s work. 

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room. 

Learn more about our Future Skill Alliance initiatives and partnerships on our The Future of Work showcase on LinkedIn. Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Applications Open for the 2024 Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art

San Francisco, January 29, 2024 — In partnership with the Asian Art Museum, The Asia Foundation announces a call for applications for the 2024 Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art, a program supporting exchange between diverse, emerging curatorial voices focusing on Asian or Asian American art. The application period opens on January 31 and closes on March 3, with final selection announced by early April.

Held every other year, the fellowship supports two emerging contemporary art curators—one from Asia and one from the United States. The Asian Art Museum’s Contemporary Art Department offers fellows a unique residency opportunity for a period of up to three months under the guidance of Abby Chen, senior associate curator and head of Contemporary Art.

Located in the heart of San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Asian art, boasting more than 20,000 awe-inspiring artworks ranging from ancient jades and ceramics to contemporary video installations. Dynamic special exhibitions, cultural celebrations, and public programs for all ages provide rich art experiences that unlock the past and spark questions about the future.

The 2024 fellows will work within the Asian Art Museum’s Practice Institute and report to the museum’s inaugural assistant curator of games and technology, Cheng Xu, whose new exhibition RAD (Research And Development) opened in January 2024. Fellows will support the development of criteria for presenting new arts practices, including multimedia artworks, theater sound, performances, digital artworks, archives, community engagement, and nontraditional works that may exist independent of gallery spaces. They will also contribute to the integration of interactive experiences and interpretive technology, including video games, for the forthcoming major exhibition with visionary game designer Jenova Chen.

The fellowship provides:

  • Round-trip travel to and from San Francisco for the residency at the Asian Art Museum.
  • Housing and per diem for the duration of their residency in San Francisco from June 1 to August 31, 2024. Fellows should plan on being on-site at the Asian Art Museum for the majority of this time.
  • A $10,000 stipend toward a self-designed study tour to support each fellow’s research, professional interests, and network-building. The study tour will comprise visits, consultations, meetings, and research. Fellows may choose to visit multiple cities and institutions over four or more weeks. This study tour will occur after, or separate from, fellows’ residency at the museum.
  • An additional grant is provided by the museum’s Practice Institute to develop a special project or program that reflects their research—together or separately—preferably on-site and making use of the museum’s facilities or online, with a public engagement component. Ideally, these projects or programs will take place during the fellowship residency or before the end of 2024.

The program looks to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion in the curatorial field and seeks to build the capacity of a younger generation of curators. The selection committee will actively focus on recruiting and growing a pipeline of emerging curatorial leaders who bring diverse perspectives marginalized by sexism, heterosexism, or racism and are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work. The program takes an expansive approach to the concept of “curator” and welcomes applicants from within or outside the institutional museum context. The program seeks fresh outlooks, approaches, and perspectives.

The Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art contributes to the professional enhancement of specialists in the Asian art curatorial field through exchange between the United States and Asia and the Pacific. In 2007, Asia Foundation President Emeritus Dr. Haydn Williams established the Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art Program to honor his late wife, whose interest in art was stimulated by their travels. Mrs. Williams was also a docent at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Apply for the Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art Program. For program inquiries, please contact [email protected].

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room.

Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Announcing the 2024 LeadNext Fellows: Ambassadors for a Global Future

San Francisco, January 23, 2024 — The Asia Foundation is pleased to announce the 2024 LeadNext Fellows: Ambassadors for a Global Future class.

LeadNext is The Asia Foundation’s dynamic new program focused on global citizenship for the 21st century. LeadNext builds a vibrant network of future leaders aged 18-25 from across the Asia-Pacific region and the United States to support their growth, impact, and capacity to address today’s greatest challenges.

Over the next decade, profound structural changes will transform our geopolitical landscape; it’s imperative that the next generation of leaders be equipped to navigate these evolving shifts. Positive and lasting change depends on leaders who can move ideas and action forward to address rising inequality, find solutions to climate crises, mitigate conflict, and empower communities. LeadNext equips emerging leaders across cultures and disciplines with strong international networks, diverse experiences, and leadership tools to thoughtfully steer the future.

The six-month program features a leadership training intensive, masterclasses with global experts, one-on-one mentorships, and a culminating in-person Global Leaders Summit. Utilizing a layered and tailored curriculum focusing on inclusion, cross-cultural communication, empathy, and self-awareness, LeadNext readies a new generation of globally-minded leaders for impactful social and environmental work.

For decades, The Asia Foundation has invested in leaders at all levels, knowing that change depends on policies and programs and the people who lead them. The LeadNext program focuses on future leaders in the nascent stages of their careers.

Meet the 2024 LeadNext Fellows:

Enkhuun Byambadorj | She/Her | 22 | Mongolia is Co-founder and Director of Operations at Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition, a nonprofit working to eradicate Mongolia’s air pollution crisis. A climate and health equity advocate, she works to build local community capacity. She is a Global Shaper, One Young World Ambassador, and was a youth negotiator at UNFCCC COP28.

Max Han Kai Ding | He/Him | 22 | Malaysia co-founded Youths United for Earth (YUFE), Malaysia’s leading grassroots nonprofit, mobilizing youth to environmental action through local storytelling, campaigns, and advocacy. He is working with environmental defenders and policymakers to draft Southeast Asia’s first Environmental Human Rights Framework with ASEAN.

Sereyvoleak Dy | She/Her | 23 | Cambodia is a program officer at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Cambodia, a political think tank where she works to promote youth engagement in governance and policymaking. She received a fully funded scholarship to study International Relations at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, led the “Cambodia Festival of Ideas” youth program, a platform to envision the country’s future strategically, and served as a Youth Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals in Cambodia.

Bryanna Entwistle | She/Her | 22 | United States is a writer based in New York City and a digital content specialist reporting on policy and cultural programming at Asia Society. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Mumbai and Singapore, she’s committed to telling stories that connect Asia and the U.S. She graduated from Dartmouth College with an award-winning honors thesis titled “After the Fall: Human Rights and U.S. Policy on the Cambodian Genocide.”

Bella Gomez | She/Her | 19 | United States is a distinguished Danforth Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis pursuing a joint degree in Latin American Studies and Global Studies with a minor in Education. She volunteers at a local public school, supports grant writing at the local and international nonprofits East Side Aligned and The Thirst Project, and is a research assistant at the early learning startup “ThinkPlayful.” She is pursuing a career in public health and humanitarian and youth development.

Deziree Harmon | She/Her | 20 | United States studies Interactive Media and Business with a minor in Computer Science at NYU Shanghai. She is dedicated to leveraging technology for educational empowerment and brings a background in Design Thinking, journalism, and teaching. She is passionate about educational technology and aspires to use technology to create transformative and inclusive learning experiences.

Jorge Hernandez-Perez | He/Him | 20 | United States is a first-generation Cuban American and advocate for economic justice and equitable education. A Southeast U.S. Youth of the Year awardee, he works with Columbia University’s Policy Institute Education Center and as a research assistant for the Energy, Equity, Housing, and Health Program, the Center on Poverty and Social Policy, and has championed equitable education policies on a national scale.

Shannon Yunran Hong | She/Her | 25 | United States is a Chinese American writer and technologist based in San Francisco, CA, and founder of the tech ethics consultancy, Agapai, which advises organizations on ethical technology practices. She serves as the strategic planning committee chair on the board of CounterPulse, an experimental performing arts nonprofit that incubates the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture, and edits the Asian American lit column APIA-nionated in ANMLY magazine.

Maha Husain | She/Her | 24 | Pakistan is a legal researcher specializing in climate change law, environmental law, and public international law. She is the team lead of the Climate & Environment Initiative and a research associate at the Research Society of International Law, Pakistan’s largest legal think-tank for promoting access to environmental justice and strengthening complaint and remedy mechanisms for victims of environmental rights violations. Maha completed her law degree from the University of Cambridge, where she earned the Senior Harris Scholarship.

Engel Laisina | She/Her | 24 | Indonesia is an indigenous environmental advocate raised with an understanding of the interconnectedness of humans and nature. An environmental rights advocate, she actively campaigns to address the climate crisis and its impact on small islands such as her home archipelago province, Maluku. She created the #TarusJagaRumah campaign, a platform for creating environmental projects and collaboration between grassroots environmental communities in Maluku.

Tashi Lhazom | She/Her | 22 | Nepal is a prominent climate activist working at the intersection of climate action, gender equality, indigenous rights, and political literacy. Born in an indigenous herding community in the remote Himalayan Limi Valley, she is a first-generation college graduate, has spoken at grassroots, national, and global platforms, is co-founder of two civil society initiatives, and is project coordinator of Limi Youth Society. She is a researcher and filmmaker using storytelling to bring awareness to critical climate challenges in the Himalayan region.

Surah Marks-Trammell | She/Her | 22 | United States works to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in government practices. Currently a DEI intern for Ohio’s Montgomery County local government, she is taking a leading role in creating the county’s Equity Plan and curating events to promote sustainability. Passionate about equal rights and intersectional research, she has a background in nonprofit work and studied Ethnic Studies and Sociology at Bowling Green State University.

Ananya Mathur | She/Her | 22 | Singapore is pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a minor in Gender Studies at the National University of Singapore. She is an active student leader and works on a project to uplift the voices of sex workers in Singapore. Her research is focused on gender and addressing the needs of minorities in various communities, including migrant workers, indigenous land rights, and political communication.

Audrey Meigs | She/Her | 22 | United States is the program assistant for Educator Diversity at The Hunt Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to building an equitable education system by conducting research and engaging with legislators and educators nationwide. A transnational Chinese adoptee, she is passionate about Asian diasporic communities. She has worked with several ASAPI organizations, including OCA Asian Pacific Advocates, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, and the 1882 Foundation, focusing on projects related to intercountry adoption policy, the revitalization of Chinatowns, AAPI curriculum, and international relations between the U.S. and Asia Pacific.

Trần Thảo Nguyên | They/Them | 23 | Vietnam is a project manager of pioneering robotics and FIRST Tech Challenge and co-founder of Vietnam STEAM programs and Vietnam Robotics Challenge, which supports more than 1,000 young, underprivileged, passionate STEM students in Vietnam. The only STEM scholarship recipient in the social sciences at Fulbright University Vietnam, they aim to use science, technology, and education to unlock local opportunities and drive economic and social development.

Anitvir Singh Taunque | He/Him | 21 |  United States leads OSU Red Saree, a nonprofit dedicated to improving health literacy and decreasing heart disease within diverse populations. Passionate about addressing global health disparities and building culturally competent healthcare systems, he volunteers at free health clinics and has received a $50,000 accelerator award to build ServUS Volunteering Corp, a sustainability startup focused on student volunteering. He is an aspiring physician studying Biomedical Science at The Ohio State University.

Michaela Tse | She/Her | 20 | United States studies Global Studies, Business, and Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dedicated to international health policy and access to healthcare resources in underserved communities, she spent six months in Japan researching holistic medical interventions. In 2024, she will research policy measures for effective HIV/AIDS surveillance in Malawi. She has created an Asian-American writing club and a cookbook of recipes from friends worldwide.

Leki Tshering | He/Him | 24 | Bhutan is a bar-certified lawyer holding a B.A. LLB/Post Graduate Diploma in National Law from JSW School of Law and a Diploma in Economic, Social, and Developmental Rights from Kathmandu School of Law, Nepal. With a range of policy experience working on child protection and wildlife protection, he works as a Junior Lecturer at JSW School of Law and a Country Consultant for the Global Campus Regional Conference on Children’s Mental Health.

Laura Vorbach | She/Her | 23 | United States is a master’s candidate in National and International Administration and Policy at the University of Potsdam. She worked for the Manhattan District Attorney and saw how the criminal justice system impacts people’s lives. Working at the U.S. Department of State, she witnessed how policy priorities transform into dialogue at the UN and other international forums. She is pursuing a career in public service, focusing on international law, global justice development, and equitable sustainable development.

Marciano Lopes Zemecas | He/Him | 20 | Timor-Leste works with Timor-Leste Youth for Peace and is the founder and President of the Timor-Leste Human Rights Defenders Movement, an organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination against marginalized communities. As a law student, he holds recognition as a Youth Ambassador and Millennial Change Maker. Among his projects, he actively works on youth and justice and addresses gender-based violence with the Global Millennial United Nations.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by 70 years of experience and deep local knowledge, our work is focused on governance, climate action, gender equality, education and leadership, inclusive growth, and international cooperation. We work in more than 20 countries through our 17 permanent country offices and programs across Asia and the Pacific, supported by a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, DC. Our funding comes from a diverse array of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals

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