The Asia Foundation Announces the 2022 Development Fellows

San Francisco, March 17, 2022 — The Asia Foundation announces the 2022 class of Asia Foundation Development Fellows: Emerging Leadership for Asia’s Future following a highly competitive selection process. Representing 12 Asian countries and a wide range of disciplines, the 2022 Development Fellows—nine women and three men—are emerging leaders in their fields, bringing bold, innovative thinking and a deep commitment to addressing Asia’s most complex issues. The 12 fellows selected are from Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program brings exceptional individuals into a powerful network of emerging leaders working to improve lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Now in its eighth year, the program includes 94 current and alumni fellows across Asia, forming an active and inspirational network of the region’s most promising leaders from diverse cultures, countries, and work environments, including government, civil society, academia, and social enterprise.

Meet the 2022 Development Fellows:

Fereshta Abbasi (Afghanistan) is a human rights lawyer and researcher working at Human Rights Watch to document ongoing abuses in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

Mac Andre Arboleda (Philippines) is a cultural worker, publisher, and digital rights advocate, and is the founding president of the UP Internet Freedom Network, a nonprofit organization in the Philippines committed to digital rights advocacy through educational discussions, information campaigns, and special projects.

Kuenzang Dolma (Bhutan) is a lecturer at Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Bhutan’s first and only law school, where she has designed and developed alternative dispute resolution courses in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

Saro Imran (Pakistan) is a young transgender advocate and social entrepreneur for the socioeconomic development of marginalized communities, and in 2020 she launched the PINK Center, the first space for transgender entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

Randika Anjalie Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka) is a practitioner, researcher, and academic whose work focuses on waste upcycling and the circular economy, exploring creative and innovative ways to use discarded materials, particularly non-degradable materials not normally recycled through conventional methods.

Rina Komiya (Japan) is an international human rights practitioner focused on gender and refugee protection who has worked across Japan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Jordan, and Bangladesh.

Lan Anh Lo (Vietnam) is a producer and news anchor for Vietnam’s national broadcaster Vietnam Television where she produces and hosts numerous primetime shows including the most-watched news program in Vietnam, the Good Morning Show, and the country’s first-ever show in English, Talk Vietnam.

Pankaj Prakash Mahalle (India) is co-founder and CEO of GramHeet, a social enterprise that aims to increase smallholder farmers’ income by providing integrated post-harvest services through a digital platform.

Patrya Pratama (Indonesia) is executive director of INSPIRASI Foundation, an Indonesia-based nonprofit established to improve school leadership, and part of the Global School Leaders, a network of like-minded organizations in developing countries.

Selvamalar Selvaraju (Malaysia) is a social entrepreneur and human rights advocate focused on the development and empowerment of underprivileged women, children, and minorities in Malaysia.

Irina Sthapit (Nepal) is an engineer, educator, and innovator who is passionate about empowering girls in STEM and actively works towards bridging the gender gap through her work with organizations like Nepali Women in Computing and her Instagram page @girlytoolz.

Mengdi Tao (China) is an advocate for women’s empowerment and children’s education currently serving as a program director at Laoniu Brother & Siter Foundation, where she is responsible for managing children’s welfare and family philanthropy projects in China and overseas.

This yearlong career advancement program takes on a multifaceted approach to leadership which includes two intensive Leadership Dialogue and Exchange programs, one in Asia and a second in the United States, The coursework explores the Fellows’ leadership styles, helps to develop their stories, and expand their innovative thinking. This April, Fellows will meet for the Asian Development study tour program, a webinar series led by development practitioners, recognized policy leaders, and local innovators.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and international relations.

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Let’s Read Publishes Six Picture Books on Child Rights in Nepal

March 9, 2022 — The Asia Foundation and Srijanalaya–an NGO based in Nepal–in collaboration with National Human Rights Commission, launch six picture books for children and young adults. Organized by KathaSatha, the two-day launch festivities will include readings, conversations, and discussions. The opening launch event will start at 11 am March 10 in Nepal. All launch events will be broadcasted live via the Facebook pages of Srijanlaya, Let’s Read Nepal, NHRC and KathaSatha.

The six beautifully crafted stories compel readers to discuss the complex topics of juvenile justice,  bullying, harassment, and child labor, as well as caste, ethnicity, and disability-based discrimination. Each book tells a unique story that addresses the intersectionality of child rights in Nepal. Varying in subject, style, and texture; the stories take us on a journey from the hills of Panchthar to the villages of Sikles by way of Hetauda and Kathmandu.

Muna Gurung, the managing editor, collaborated with and led a team of six writers and eight illustrators through a fifteen-month period to conceive, create, and bring this insightful collection to life. The writers include Bina Theeng, Pranika Koyu, Sarita Pariyar, Swapnil Smriti, Tirtha Gurung, and Ujjwala Maharjan. The illustrators are Alina Chhantel, DidiBahini (Dristi Manandhar & Keepa Manandhar), PayalSapanaPaints (Pallavi Payal and Sapana Sanjeevani), Roseena Sakya, Rupak Raj Sunuwar, and Swornim Shakya.

The creation of these six picture books is supported by The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative and will be available for free to read in both Nepali and English on the Let’s Read digital library and its iOS and Android apps.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and international relations.

Read more about the Let’s Read! Initiative. 

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

The Asia Foundation Announces New Board Leadership, Trustees

San Francisco, March 1, 2022 — The Asia Foundation, a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia, announced new leadership on the Board of Trustees at the January 2022 meeting. S. Timothy Kochis was elected as chair of the board; Ambassador Kathleen Stephens and Janet Montag were elected as vice-chairs, and Michael J. Green was elected as secretary of the board. At this meeting, The Asia Foundation’s David D. Arnold also informed the Board of Trustees that he is planning to step down as President at the end of 2022. This is Arnold’s twelfth year leading the Foundation and a robust process for recruiting and selecting his successor will be led by a specially constituted search committee of the board under the leadership of Vice-Chair Amb. Kathy Stephens.

In addition, three new members joined the board: Lin Jamison, Clare Lockhart, and Adil Najam. Lockhart and Najam have previously served on the board. This meeting marked the transition of members Howard Berman, Elizabeth Economy, Amb. Mark Lippert, Lauren Kahea Moriarty, Chairman Sunder Ramaswamy, and Term Trustees Dustin Palmer and Iromi Perera.

New members:

Lin Jamison joined The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle in 2012, with the goal of expanding the group’s presence among New York City’s young professionals. She established the Young Lotus Circle in 2013, hosting regular social and fundraising events to benefit the Foundation’s work on gender equality. Outside of the Lotus Circle, Lin is the Founder of Gem X, a social club for jewelry enthusiasts with over 1,000 members around the world. She is also the owner of Lin Jamison Jewelry, which offers bespoke jewelry consulting and design services to private clients.

Clare Lockhart is co-founder and director of ISE, which focuses on the functions of the state and approaches to enhancing the compact between citizens and state. She has lectured widely and written several articles and chapters on state and market functionality, development, institution-building, and citizenship. Lockhart is a senior fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale where she teaches graduate courses on post-conflict and other transitions. She has lectured widely on issues of state and market functionality, accountability, and development.

Adil Najam is the dean of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. He was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and a globally recognized authority on international environment and development policy. He has served as the Frederick S. Pardee Professor of Global Public Policy and the Director of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University (2007-11) and prior to that as Associate Professor of International Negotiation and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (2002-07).

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Asia Foundation partners with AT&T and Visa to launch “Accelerate” in Malaysia and Indonesia

February 8, 2022 — The Asia Foundation is collaborating with AT&T and Visa to launch the Accelerate program, an initiative that will help 6,000 women-led micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) enterprises in rural and remote communities gain practical skills to sustain and grow their business. In Malaysia, this initiative is fully endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives.

The Accelerate initiative addressed the urgent needs of women-led MSMEs in remote regions in a relevant, dynamic, and accessible way by utilizing the Foundation’s network of expert trainers and local partners to provide digital and financial literacy skills training and mentoring to women to support their businesses. According to Robin Bush, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Malaysia, “Women-led SMEs are a key driver of the economy in Malaysia, as in many of the countries in the region, and providing them with the skills to access the digital economy is like providing a life-line—both to the women themselves but also as a crucial part of economic recovery for the nation.”

Drawing on expertise from the private and NGO sectors, the program centers on ensuring that women business owners have access to the vital, practical skills and tools to reach their customers, grow their small businesses, and sustain the development and implementation of their business plans.

“With AT&T colleagues around the world who share a commitment to making a positive contribution where we live and work, I’m excited by this collaboration with The Asia Foundation and Visa to empower women entrepreneurs with the training, access to technology and skills they need to grow their businesses, create jobs and lead their communities,” Andrew Reinsdorf, senior vice president for International External and Regulatory Affairs at AT&T.

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the livelihood and health of families, workers, and businesses across Asia. MSMEs that help drive the region’s economy have been particularly affected. In Malaysia, the MSME sector suffered a total of RM40.7 billion (USD9 billion) in losses last year. Similarly, more than 30 million MSMEs have closed in the pandemic in Indonesia. Female entrepreneurs were among the most affected as they already faced challenges such as limited access to funding, lack of networks and expertise, and negative gender bias.

According to Patsian Low, vice president for Inclusive Impact & Sustainability, Asia Pacific, “Visa is committed to digitally enable 50 million small and micro businesses by the end of 2023 to help them through this challenging time and support economic recovery. We are privileged to be a partner in the Accelerate program and believe that it will help women-led SMBs—especially in remote areas—gain access to the skills and knowledge they need to participate in the digital economy and improve their livelihoods.”

The Accelerate program is a customized, online-training program delivered by experts, using the Foundation’s existing tools and platforms. It also incorporates a guest-speaker series and a mentorship program. Through this collaboration, the Foundation will incorporate Visa’s robust financial literacy curriculum “Practical Business Skills” into the training program and engage both AT&T and Visa experts as mentors for the participants. These components add vital practical skills for the women business owners and provide in-depth support for the development and implementation of their business plans. Further, the access to networks, mentorship, and soft skills made possible through these partnerships are invaluable for these women entrepreneurs to achieve long-term business success.

To ensure the program meets the precise requirements of these MSMEs, the Foundation conducted a needs assessment and worked with local partners, StartupMalaysia in Malaysia and The Center for Women’s Resource Development (PPSW) in Indonesia, to curate program content, recruit participants, and support the delivery of the training workshops.

According to Esther Peh, the lead for International External, and Regulatory Affairs, Asia-Pacific at AT&T, “We are excited to expand our efforts to drive digital inclusion and enhance digital skills training in Southeast Asia through the Accelerate program. We are confident that the Accelerate program will help equip women entrepreneurs in Malaysia and Indonesia with the skills needed to better participate and engage in the digital economy of today and the future.”

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and international relations.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. AT&T Communications provides more than 100 million U.S. consumers with communications and entertainment experiences across mobile and broadband. Plus, it serves high-speed, highly secure connectivity and smart solutions to nearly 3 million business customers. WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content to global audiences through its consumer brands, including: HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Turner Classic Movies. AT&T Latin America provides wireless services to consumers and businesses in Mexico.

About Visa

Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable, and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.com.

Call for Applications: Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art

San Francisco, January 24, 2022 — In partnership with the Asian Art Museum, The Asia Foundation announces a call for applications for the 2022 Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art, a program supporting exchange between diverse, emerging curatorial voices focusing on Asian or Asian American art. Applications will be accepted from January 31 to March 1, 2022, with the selection announced by March 31st.

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

As part of their residency at the Asian Art Museum, fellows will contribute to a project or event that is part of the active and ongoing work of the Contemporary Art Department. The fellows will contribute their perspectives on current trends in the contemporary art world, reflecting their interests and research.

The 2022 Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art will provide:

  • 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 – August 31, 2022.
  • A $10,000 stipend to support a minimum 4-week, self-designed study tour to support each fellow’s research, professional interests, and network-building (The fellow from Asia will travel in the United States; the fellow from the United States will travel in Asia). The study tour will comprise visits, consultations, meetings, and research. Fellows may choose to visit multiple cities and institutions over four or more weeks.

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. 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.

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. Particular attention will be paid to recruiting and growing a pipeline of emerging curatorial leaders who bring diverse perspectives that have been marginalized by sexism, heterosexism, or racism or who are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work.

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

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 18,000 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 Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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The Asia Foundation Selects Inaugural Class of LeadNext Fellows

San Francisco, January 10, 2022 — The Asia Foundation welcomes the inaugural class of LeadNext Fellows: Ambassadors for a Global Future, a new program focused on global citizenship for the 21st century. The 2022 program begins this week and brings together its first cohort of emerging changemakers, each with the potential to move ideas and action forward and empower communities most vulnerable and insecure. The 20 fellows hail from ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Lester, Tonga) and ten cities across six states in the U.S. (California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oregon).

The LeadNext Fellows are dynamic emerging leaders aged 18-25 from diverse sectors committed to addressing issues such as climate change, inequality, injustice, poverty, and other pressing issues. Over the course of the new Asia Foundation leadership program, the fellows will collaborate, share best practices, provide new insights from their respective country contexts and applications of their work, and grow as leaders alongside one another.

headshots of 2022 fellows

The program begins this week with a Leadership Training Intensive. From January-February, the Fellows will meet regularly to build competencies in global citizenship and effective leadership. From March-July, they meet once a month for Virtual Masterclasses with global experts tackling a range of social issues in the U.S. and Asia. During this time, each fellow will be paired with a professional mentor to support their growth and development. A Global Leaders Summit, the program’s capstone convening, is scheduled for the week of August 8th. Fellows will gather in the San Francisco Bay Area to deepen and expand their learning from the previous eight months through exchange, continued leadership development programming, and exposure to cutting-edge approaches and best practices in innovative leadership.

Meet the 2022 LeadNext Fellows:

Asia-Pacific Fellows

Lochana Gayatri Anand Adivarekar, 23 years (India) works with adolescents and youth around Gender and Sexuality, particularly as a Training and Advocacy Consultant for YUVA and as a mentor engaging youth in policymaking and governance processes. She has initiated a movement named “Ubuntu” with a vision of creating a gender-inclusive world.
Mayabee Arannya, 23 years (Bangladesh) is a feminist activist working to end gender-based violence (GBV) in her country. She is the Community and Strategy Lead at Kotha, a local feminist youth-led organization tackling the root causes of GBV. Kotha’s work lies at the intersection of education, research, policy advocacy, and art.
Ana Malia Falemaka, 18 years (Tonga) is a first-year law student at the University of the South Pacific Tonga. She is a youth ambassador and trainee at the Talitha Project Tonga supporting women and girls’ empowerment programs and a youth climate ambassador for Care Australia.
Sopharoth Ith, 22 years (Cambodia) is a first-generation college student awarded a SHE-CAN scholarship to pursue college education in the U.S. She intends to bring her knowledge home to expand educational opportunities for Cambodians—especially women and girls—as a path toward poverty alleviation. Having represented Cambodia to multiple international forums, she hopes to join the growing number of female policymakers impacting gender equality in Cambodia.
Nelson Kokoa, 24 years (Papua New Guinea) is a multi-disciplinary storyteller with a keen interest in public speaking, creativity, design, and theater arts. Recognized as a Clean Generation leader with The Voice Inc. – a youth development organization aimed at equipping young with the tools to be change agents – and a local actor at the Moresby Arts Theatre, he has been involved in innumerable youth development programs, historical and ground-breaking theatre shows, devoting his time to use his love for the arts to develop, inspire and empower young people in his country.
Christine Rose L. Lapada, 24 years (Philippines) is a Youth Leader and a Human Rights and Grassroots Legal advocate with experience in legal and community development research. She currently works as a Research Assistant and Legal Intern at the Ateneo Human Rights Center and as a Student Recruitment Coordinator and Volunteer Tutor at Tutors for Leni.
Ryenchin Myagmarsuren, 23 years (Mongolia) is a program coordinator at Zorig Foundation (ZF), a prominent non-profit organization in Mongolia. He runs a program providing professional development training and mentoring to more than 90 high school students across the country, manages Athlete Leadership Program (ALP), helping professional athletes with career transition after retirement, and co-organizes a Women in STEM project promoting women’s leadership.
Ivo Ribeiro, 19 years (Timor-Leste) is majoring in Economics at Joao Saldanha Institute and is passionate about socio-economic development, communications, and youth engagement. In early 2020, he co-founded Youth for Others, a group of motivated on-the-ground volunteers to respond to severe flooding in his country.
Faye Simanjuntak, 19 years (Indonesia) is the founder of Rumah Faye, a non-profit working to eradicate child sexual abuse, trafficking, and exploitation through prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation programs, assisting in the recovery of over 140 girls. She was recognized on Forbes Indonesia’s 30 under 30 list and the Young Asians to Watch list by The Strait Times.
Piyumi Wattuhewa, 21 years (Sri Lanka) works as the Advocacy Lead and Sinhala Language Spokesperson at Sisterhood Initiative, a young women’s organization based in Sri Lanka, focused on creating a safe space for Muslim women. She has experience carrying out awareness campaigns relating to women’s leadership and prevention of violence against women and girls and research related to online GBV and digital security.

U.S. Fellows

Eliya M. Baron Lopez, 25 years (San Francisco, CA) became dedicated to ocean conservation after growing up in the Monterey Bay Area. She has published on the global issues of marine plastics and South Korean maritime disputes and worked in the marine debris field as a researcher at the New England Aquarium, URI, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is currently a Fulbright student at the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, researching South Korean marine plastics policy.
Shubham Gupta, 21 years (San Diego, CA) is a senior at UCLA majoring in Public Affairs and minoring in Global Studies and Chinese. He was recently awarded a fellowship from the UCLA Asia Pacific Center to study sexual assault and resource accessibility for migrant workers in Taipei and migration flows in California. Shubham directs several dance teams at UCLA.
Sora Heo, 21 years (Glenview, IL) is the proud product of immigrants and has been active in immigrant and refugee advocacy and justice causes on campus and in the Chicago-area community. She studies International Studies-Political Science and Arabic, has worked on multiple national political campaigns.
Anne-Marcelle Kouame, 25 years (Germantown, MD) is a certified YouMap© coach, ally-leader, and creator of Silk Road Journey, a self-discovery story lab that affirms students’ individual strengths through stories that celebrate their cultural backgrounds. As a student leader, she led dozens of minority-inspired student initiatives and pursued a migrant-focused linguistic study across France, Tunisia, and Morocco. She is Ivorian-American.
Johileny Meran, 25 years (New York, NY) is a Program Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange. She has worked with the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD) and with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). She is a Dominican immigrant and was motivated to pursue an international disability rights career after experiencing “accessibility shock” during a visit to her home country.
Mary Mijares, 22 years (Richmond, CA) is a first-generation Filipina immigrant and a recent University of California, Berkeley graduate. She has worked in research programs at Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center, the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, and Amnesty International’s Tech and Human Rights Department. She is also an artist and musician.
Nirmala Singh, 25 years (Jamaica, NY) has over five years of experience creating programs and partnerships in the nonprofit sector and various levels of government focused on gender equity and women’s empowerment. She serves as the Community Programs Manager for RISE, is a co-founder of South Queens Women’s March, and previously worked in the NYC Office of the Mayor working on women’s and immigration programs.
Alec Stimac, 21 years (Broadview Heights, OH) is a junior and Belk Scholar at Davidson College in North Carolina studying International Relations and Chinese Studies. He is currently working for Morocco World News and writing an independent study project on the Algerian Moroccan border tension while studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco. He hopes to work in development, strategic affairs, or journalism within the Asia Pacific.
Ayodele Theard-Lewis, 20 years (Portland, OR) identifies as Haitian and African American and currently attends Xavier University of Louisiana, a Historically Black University in New Orleans. Her goals are to become an educator and a national educational policymaker. She currently serves on two board committees of a public charter school in New Orleans and a teacher’s assistant in 2nd-grade classrooms.
Brendan Wong, 23 years (Roland Heights, CA) works as a legal clerk in Los Angeles conducting research and, using his bilingual skills in Chinese and English, supporting clients with limited English proficiency. He is passionate about analyzing anthropogenic impacts on our ecosystems and is actively pursuing a career in environmental justice.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations.

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 and the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre host Special Speaker Series

December 23, 2021 — Amid growing stay-at-home orders and border closures, The Asia Foundation and the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre will replace the 2022 Australian AID Conference (AAC) with a special speaker series.

From February to June 2022, this series will be conducted monthly and incorporate discussions from key speakers from the Australasian AID Conference including Professor Eun Mee Kim of Ewha Womans University, Donald Kaberuka, co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, and Doctor Lant Pritchett, research director for Research on Improving Systems of Education.

Kicking off the speaker series on February 8, 2022, Dr. Kim (recipient of The Asia Foundation’s 2021 Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award) will host the seminar The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Covid-19, and Women. As Covid-19 continues to transform lives, Kim will reflect on these profound changes, including her own experiences, and offer suggestions for preventing future inequalities.

Register for Dr. Kim’s The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Covid-19, and women seminar.

An announcement of the topics for Donald Kaberuka’s and Lant Pritchett’s seminars will be forthcoming.

Learn more about the AAC Speaker Series.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations.

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 Convenes Stakeholders to Discuss and Plan Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Philippines

December 21, 2021 — Marking this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day is a new initiative to explore ways to scale up anticorruption efforts in the Philippine law enforcement sector. The Asia Foundation conducted a virtual discussion on December 13, “Anti-Corruption in Philippine Law Enforcement: A Forum Webinar,” with support from the U.S. Embassy’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in Manila and participants from various agencies.  

“Law enforcement agencies in the Philippines are key partners in addressing corruption in government offices. There are effective programs and internal mechanisms for corruption prevention and education in law enforcement agencies, and we would like to highlight these. We see a potential in boosting and scaling up anticorruption efforts in the law enforcement sector,” says Sam Chittick, country representative of The Asia Foundation in the Philippines. 

The one-day forum examined issues, gaps, and measures to fight corruption within the Philippine law enforcement sector. A presentation of a rapid assessment study undertaken from November to December 2021 further informed the plenary and breakout discussions. Insights from the survey and key takeaways from the forum will be presented in a report that may inform the Foundation of future action points. 

Fifty-five participants from twenty-two law enforcement and related agencies attended the forum. Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, the keynote speaker, framed key corruption and law enforcement issues for the day’s discussion. Other resource speakers include Attorney Kirbee Tibayan, national program officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Attorney Michael Tiu, Jr., research consultant for The Asia Foundation.  

Mr. Chittick said that various channels should be envisaged to thresh out issues in corruption and trigger reflections –both from a sectoral perspective and on the level of the individual agencies– as to how key actors can optimize current mechanisms, seek inspiration from local and international best practices, and draw actionable steps to strengthen the fight against corruption in the law enforcement sector. 

“Combatting corruption enhances stability, augments the rule of law, supports human rights and democracy, amongst many benefits. Corruption is best addressed when countries share a common vision and a strong commitment to taking effective steps to prevent and prosecute corruption,” said Kelia Cummins, director of the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. Ms. Cummins also referred to the U.S. Strategy on Countering corruption, highlighting the importance of interagency cooperation in anticorruption. 

“Credibility is vital to the success of any interest to rid ourselves of corruption. To have any hope of effectively combatting corruption and initiating a culture of outrage at the same, the key officials of government, we ourselves, must endeavor to be models of integrity, competence, and dedication. An effective campaign for good governance to be sustainable must consist of periodic checks to ensure that persons in positions of authority consistently exhibit good leadership by example,” said Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang. 

“We must make a conscious move towards inculcating a corruption-free culture in our agencies by instilling a sense of outrage at its occurrence, rather than acceptance of the same. In this connection, we must ensure that there are tougher mechanisms for the reporting and filing of complaints that do not place the burden on the whistleblower,” she added. 

Atty. Kirbee Tibayan of the UNODC added that a sectoral approach in combating corruption is a good way forward: “A law enforcement integrity network can be an efficient tool for facilitating cooperation in combating corruption, strengthening peer learning exchange between law enforcement authorities, and cultivating a culture intolerant of corruption.” 

In her video message on behalf of the U.S. Embassy, Charges d’Affaires Heather Variava reaffirms their commitment to working with partner countries, including the Philippines, to uphold international norms, develop best practices, and strengthen government institutions to promote good governance, transparency, and accountability. 

Integrity standards and anticorruption mechanisms are widely embedded in Philippine laws. There are also oversight institutions, tribunals, and procedures that ensure anticorruption measures are enforced, such as the Sandiganbayan, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit. 

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Working through its offices in 18 countries and informed by deep local expertise and six decades of experience, the Foundation addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation. 

Read more about theFoundation’s work. 

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

The Asia Foundation Hosts Australia-Republic of Korea-United States Trilateral Dialogue

December 20, 2021 — The Asia Foundation held an Australia-Republic of Korea-United States Trilateral Dialogue from the 16th to the 17th of December. During this meeting, policymakers, scholars, and other experts discussed key political, security, economic, and international cooperation issues important to improve and strengthen relations between the three countries. The dialogue was conducted virtually with participants including James Choi, former Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Kathleen Stephens, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, and Representative Park Jin, member of Korea’s National Assembly and Power People Party Chairman of the Special Committee on Diplomacy & Security.

Korean and U.S. relations with Australia have deepened over the years. Overlapping strategic and economic interests have increasingly seen all three countries expand ties across a wide spectrum of issues. Issues discussed in this trilateral dialogue included: 

  1. Political-Security trends and challenges in the Indo-Pacific and what these trends and challenges mean for Australia, Korea, and the United States.
  2. Domestic determinants of foreign policy and what these mean for the trilateral relationship.
  3. Global economic trends: supply chains, energy, and prospects for a post-COVID recovery
  4. Prospects for enhanced economic cooperation and coordination between the three countries to shape rules and norms for regional economic cooperation

The Asia Foundation’s Regional and International Relations Program and the Foundation’s Korea country office in Seoul organized this trilateral dialogue in cooperation with Perth USAsia Centre in Australia. The dialogue was made possible through financial support from the Australia-Korea Foundation, an organization established in 1992 by the Australian government to promote and deepen relations between the ROK and Australia. The Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) also provided support for this project.

Future trilateral dialogues are planned to be held in the Republic of Korea, Australia, and the United States as travel conditions permit.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Working through its offices in 18 countries and informed by deep local expertise and six decades of experience, the Foundation addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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

Funding Opportunities for Local Civil Society Organizations: Strengthening Social Cohesion in Sri Lanka

December 19, 2021 — The Asia Foundation is implementing the Strengthening Social Cohesion in Sri Lanka project with support from Global Affairs Canada. The project will provide funding opportunities to selected district-level Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) operating in one of the following districts within Sri Lanka: Kalutara, Galle, Badulla, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Jaffna, Mannar, Kurunegala, Kandy.

Grants will be awarded to selected CSOs to support projects that promote social cohesion through one of the key approaches listed below:

  1. Ensuring improved safety and security for local communities, especially women and girls.
  2. Ensuring all communities have equitable access to local information and services and are meaningfully engaged in inclusive dialogues and decision-making with local government service providers.
  3. Enabling young men and women to better understand shared values that underpin constructive dialogue between diverse communities and the role that these values play in strengthening inter-community relations and civic responsibility.

Application Deadline: January 25, 2022, 5:00 pm

Estimated Funding Level: Applicants can apply for grants up to a maximum of USD35,000 (exchange rate: USD 1= LKR 198).

Award Implementation Period: The implementation period for grants is 6 to 12 months.

Eligibility Criteria: Funding will be limited to not-for-profit, registered, local civil society organizations. Organizations should be currently operating in at least one of the ten above-mentioned districts. The main location of your proposed project must be within the ten districts mentioned. Since this call is focused on district-based CSOs, organizations currently working in more than five districts will not be considered for funding.

To apply, email [email protected].

The Asia Foundation is a non-profit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by nearly seven decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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