Leaders on the Frontlines:

Leaders for a Better World

Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 6PM PT

Join Yo-Yo Ma, Ban Ki-moon, Dr. Eun Mee Kim, and the Rockefeller Foundation as we meet and travel with a new generation of leaders boldly addressing the critical issues facing Asia. We honor these accomplished leaders demonstrating extraordinary creativity and possibility in a challenging world. Showcasing the Asia Foundation Development Fellows, we’ll hear from Yo-Yo Ma about why he says leading through collaboration, curiosity, and understanding is the key to a better world.

The Asia Foundation’s leadership awards, including the Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award, President’s Leadership Award, and Philanthropic Leadership Award, honor prominent individuals. The Chang-Lin Tien Award is named for the beloved former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley and Chair of The Asia Foundation’s Board of Trustees.


Eun Mee Kim, Ph.D., President, Ewha Womans University

Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award

Yo-Yo Ma, Founder of Silkroad

President’s Leadership Award

Desi man wearing suit

Rockefeller Foundation

Philanthropic Leadership Award

We honor Dr. Kim for her commitment to a better Korea and Asia through women and girls’ empowerment and her distinguished contributions to international development cooperation and academia.

The President’s Leadership Award will be presented to Yo-Yo Ma to recognize his work to build a more connected and inclusive world through radical cultural collaboration.

President Dr. Rajiv Shah will accept the Philanthropic Leadership Award on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation for its commitment to sustainable development and humanitarian initiatives.


Ban Ki-moon, 2018 Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award recipient and eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, will join us at the event. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy, and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder and give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Ban Ki-moon currently serves as co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, which seeks to empower youth and women to become active global citizens in creating a sustainable future for all.

The event will also feature the 2020-2021 Asia Foundation Development Fellows, a new generation of leaders creating change and impact. The Development Fellows program is at the heart of The Asia Foundation’s mission, bringing exceptional individuals into a powerful network of emerging leaders working to improve lives across Asia.

The President’s Leadership Council serve as advisors and ambassadors for the Foundation and offer valuable support for our leadership and exchange programs.


Fellowship Sponsor


To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please contact Chief Philanthropy Officer Wendy Soone-Broder at 415-743-3366 or [email protected].

With lives and livelihoods disrupted, leaders confront extraordinary challenges in a time of uncertainty. On September 24, 2020, The Asia Foundation presented Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group and Chairman of the Tata Trusts Ratan Tata with the Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award in recognition of his philanthropic work. California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis received the Visionary Leader Award and former UN Under-Secretary-General Radhika Coomaraswamy received the Lotus Leadership Award. Featured guests during “Leaders on the Frontlines: Investing in the Future” included Mariska Hargitay, Juju Chang, and Devika Bhise. The event also featured Asia Foundation Development Fellows.

On September 10, 2019 in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation presented Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, former president of the United Nations Environment Assembly, with the Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award in recognition of her extraordinary leadership and advocacy for civil and social rights, including water security, and the Honorable George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State, received a Lifetime Leadership Award. KQED’s Mina Kim served as the emcee for the evening’s program, “Leaders on the Frontlines: Mobilizing Changemakers for our Sustainable Future,” featuring the 2019 Asia Foundation Development Fellows.

On September 11, 2018 in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation honored His Excellency Ban Ki-moon for his significant leadership in international development; the legacy of Chang-Lin Tien; and the 2018 Asia Foundation Development Fellows. Award-winning broadcast journalist Sydnie Kohara emceed the evening’s program, “Leaders on the Frontlines: Asia’s Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” before an audience of political leaders, philanthropists, diplomats, and executives. A brand-new film was screened that highlighted the Fellows’ work across Asia. The evening was supported by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Chevron, Alibaba, H&Q Asia Pacific, and MasterCard.