2021 Lotus Leadership Awards

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

On April 28, 2021, we honored Eileen Fisher for her pioneering leadership in women’s economic empowerment and sustainability and Women In Need (WIN), a nonprofit partner working to end gender-based violence in Sri Lanka.

Journey to Cambodia: Women and Girls Leading Change

Monday, April 26th, 2021

Visit Cambodia to hear from two young women, Phally Sim, a scholarship recipient, and Reaksmey Chhorpon Long, a tech entrepreneur. They share their experience of sustaining education during the pandemic and the crucial role of technology in helping women sustain livelihoods. Meloney Lindberg, The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Cambodia, and Jane Sloane, Senior Director of the Women’s Empowerment Programs, share how Young Lotus Members have made an impact in supporting girls’ education, women’s access to technology, and women’s entrepreneurship. This panel is joined by Young Lotus Circle Founder and Lotus Circle Advisor Lin Jamison as moderator.

Sustainable Fashion Pioneer Eileen Fisher and Sri Lanka’s Women In Need to be Honored at 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

San Francisco, April 20, 2021 — The 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards will honor Eileen Fisher for her pioneering leadership in women’s economic empowerment and sustainability, and Women In Need (WIN), a nonprofit partner working to end gender-based violence in Sri Lanka. The celebration will take place virtually on Wednesday, April 28th and features appearances by ABC “Nightline’s” Juju Chang and “Law and Order: SVU” actor Mariska Hargitay. The Asia Foundation salutes longtime partner Women In Need, an organization that in the last decade has supported 500,000 women and girls throughout Sri Lanka in living their lives free of violence, and Eileen Fisher, who has defined her business through her commitment to collaboration, sustainability, and advancing women’s empowerment and leadership. “Both Eileen Fisher and Women In Need share an extraordinary view of improving society through their work. They are making lasting change, improving lives, expanding opportunities for women and helping societies flourish. These are the very characteristics that define The Asia Foundation and we are thrilled to honor them both,” remark Lotus Leadership Awards co-chairs Winnie C. Feng and Lin Jamison. Proceeds from the Lotus Leadership Awards will go to the Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Fund, providing vital support to projects that advance gender equality and address women’s rights and security, promote women’s economic empowerment and girls’ education, and amplify women’s voice and leadership in Asia and the Pacific. Eileen Fisher notes her affiliation with the Lotus Circle as particularly fitting: “A circular model means there’s a future that’s different from the one in the forecast right now. A future where we make and consume the right things, not everything. And it means doing business in a way that improves the lives of the people who make our clothes.”  EILEEN FISHER Inc. recycles resources by working with farmers who regenerate landscapes and adopting a manufacturing process that eliminates waste, a unique perspective in a time of disposable fashion, one of the most destructive industries in the world.  When the pandemic and lockdowns hit Sri Lanka, Women In Need (WIN) conducted a rapid assessment of women’s needs. WIN quickly established telephone counseling, legal… Read more

Asia Foundation Mourns Death of Lotus Leadership Award Honoree Vartan Gregorian

Monday, April 19th, 2021

April 19, 2021 — The Asia Foundation was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Vartan Gregorian, whom the Foundation honored in 2016 with a Lotus Leadership Award in his role as president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. Dr. Gregorian accepted the award, which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations for their contributions towards women’s and girls’ empowerment in Asia, on behalf of Carnegie’s partnership with The Asia Foundation to improve access to university and advanced level education to Afghan women. Upon receiving The Lotus Leadership Award, Gregorian said: “The Asia Foundation and I go back to when I was a graduate student at Stanford University. Today, your president, David Arnold, is leading a vibrant, mission-driven organization that works well with other organizations on important global issues. In Afghanistan, I know you are respected for approaching pressing challenges in partnership with the Afghan government and citizens, focusing closely on governance and education to address economic and social needs. In my view, together we are empowering inspiring, self-reliant individuals and institutions –through knowledge – so that they are able to tackle the complex development challenges of their country and their region.” A fearless and transformative leader in the fields of education and philanthropy, Gregorian led Brown University, was provost at the University of Pennsylvania, taught at the University of Texas, UCLA, and San Francisco State College, and led the Carnegie Corporation, but perhaps his most prominent achievement was reviving the New York Public Library. Deeply passionate about books, Gregorian was a champion of The Asia Foundation’s long-running Books for Asia program which provides textbooks and educational materials to schools, universities, research institutes, and public libraries in 18 developing countries throughout Asia. He spoke at a Books for Asia event, “The Power of a Book,” in New York, saying: “To read is to be human. As a young boy in Iran, books provided me salvation and imagination. Without books and access to stories, I wouldn’t be here today. I am eternally grateful to The Asia Foundation for taking the power of books around Asia.” Vartan Gregorian’s lifetime of service and… Read more

Vogue Paris Spotlights Lana Condor’s Vietnam Girls Scholarship

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

February 17, 2021 — Vogue Paris features The Asia Foundation in a profile of actor and Lotus Leadership Award honoree Lana Condor. Since 2017, the Foundation has worked with Condor to support female scholars in her birth town of Can Tho, Vietnam. “I feel proud to use my voice and continue to tell people that the Asian-American experience is not one experience alone,” Lana told Teen Vogue in 2020. “It’s something that I don’t plan on ever stopping. Making TV and movies is awesome, but if you have a purpose behind it, it’s even better.”   Lana has also organised a scholarship through non-profit The Asia Foundation and worked with Michelle Obama for her Girls’ Opportunity Alliance to improve education for young people in Vietnam and Malaysia.

Rapid Response Fund Buoys Mongolian Women Entrepreneurs Hit Hard by Covid

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

An emergency fund for women entrepreneurs is helping Mongolian small businesswomen survive the pandemic and prepare for a prosperous future.

Pioneering Program Addresses Trauma Head-On

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

For a decade, the Victims of Trauma Treatment Program has worked with Sri Lanka to heal the psychic wounds of war and natural disaster. When Covid-19 arrived, the pieces were in place to tackle the trauma of lockdowns.

The Asia Foundation Hosts Annual Leadership Awards Celebration

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

San Francisco, September 23, 2020 — In 2020 with lives and livelihoods disrupted, leaders are confronting extraordinary challenges in a time of uncertainty. Join us to livestream Leaders on the Frontlines on September 24, 6pm PT, as we recognize exceptional leaders of today and tomorrow. Register for the virtual event now. The Asia Foundation’s leadership awards, including the Visionary Leader Award, Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award, and Lotus Leadership Award, honor prominent individuals from government, business, and philanthropy; extraordinary leaders advancing Asia’s progress; and inspiring changemakers in gender equality. Former head of Tata Group and philanthropist Ratan Tata; Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis; and UN human rights icon and peacemaker Radhika Coomaraswamy will share their powerful vision of what makes a leader. Leaders on the Frontlines will also celebrate the achievements of The Asia Foundation Development Fellows, transformational young leaders trained and equipped by The Asia Foundation who are changing the idea of what a leader looks like. We will travel from Afghanistan to the Philippines to Bangladesh to Mongolia to meet Development Fellows. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the most environmentally challenged places in the world, journalist Sohara Mehroze is engaging young people to live more sustainable lifestyles and making a business case for the private sector for sustainability. And in the Southern Philippines, Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba is breaking the glass ceiling in Muslim Mindanao, implementing a hard-won a peace agreement as Attorney General. California’s Golden State Warriors’ CFO Jennifer Cabalquinto, Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, vice chair of the Asia Foundation Board of Trustees, and Sunder Ramaswamy, chair of the Board will present at the event. 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 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 Facebook, Twitter,  LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Safe Home Initiative Supports Pakistan Communities Hit Hard by Covid-19

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Pakistan emerged strong from the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, but the coronavirus is a crisis of a different color. In a society already suffering from poor and inequitable healthcare and social services, the pandemic has had an outsized impact on the most vulnerable populations.

Wall Street Journal Highlights Lana Condor’s Vietnam Girls Scholars Program

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

August 11, 2020 — The Wall Street Journal features The Asia Foundation in a profile of 2019 Lotus Circle honoree Lana Condor. Since 2017, Condor has worked with the Foundation to support female scholars in Can Tho, Vietnam. And you do philanthropy work for the Asia Foundation too. [Condor has supported the organization’s girls scholarship program since 2017, financing education for girls in Can Tho, Vietnam, where she was adopted from as a child.]   My scholarship is like my baby. The most important thing I’ve done in my career thus far is to put Vietnamese girls through school and give them education, because [for girls] in Vietnam education is not a right, particularly good education. Obviously knowledge is power and girls are vastly intelligent. Just open the door a little bit and they’ll knock it down. Watch a short film of Condor’s recent visit to Can Tho on IGTV.