President and Chief Executive Officer

Asia Foundation President and CEO David D. Arnold is a highly respected international development veteran with years of experience across the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Arnold leads all aspects of The Asia Foundation, including its headquarters in San Francisco, an office in Washington D.C., and 18 country offices across Asia. Established in 1954, The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Since assuming the presidency in 2011, David Arnold has undertaken two major strategic planning exercises for the organization and a significant fundraising campaign, Change Starts Here. Early in his tenure he oversaw the re-establishment of an Asia Foundation office in Myanmar and launched new initiatives focused on technology innovations and Asian leadership development.

From 2003 to 2010, Arnold served as president of the American University in Cairo (AUC) where he oversaw the construction of a new, state-of-the-art $400 million campus, and spearheaded AUC’s $125 million fundraising campaign, the largest in the university’s history. Prior to that he served for six years as executive vice president of the Institute of International Education, the world’s largest educational exchange organization. From 1984 to 1997, he worked for the Ford Foundation, serving as its first program officer in the field of governance and then for seven years as the organization’s representative in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

David D. Arnold began his public service career in 1975 in his home state of Michigan as a program budget analyst with the Michigan Department of Labor. At Washington, D.C.’s National Governors Association, he handled intergovernmental relations in the areas of employment, housing, and economic development. He later served as executive director of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors, a regional think tank and policy institute.

Arnold serves on the boards of Give2Asia, a philanthropic intermediary established by The Asia Foundation, and the World Affairs Council of Northern California. He is also a member of World Learning’s Global Advisory Council and the International Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut. He is a frequent public speaker on issues of governance, international relations, and regional development in Asia.

Education: Arnold holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Michigan State University in 2011.


Phone: 415-982-4640
Email: president@asiafoundation.org