Virtual Event – Insights from North Korean Refugee Entrepreneurs
Washington, DC, Thursday, February 4, 2021
Seventy-five years after the onset of Asia’s Cold War, the world remains focused on the geopolitics of inter-Korean relations. Meanwhile, an emerging community of more than 33,000 refugees from North Korea currently live in South Korea; half aspire to become entrepreneurs. Despite the potential insight the refugee community could offer, there is in… Read more
Virtual Event – The Asia Foundation Taskforce Report: Urgent Issues in U.S.-Southeast Asian Relations
Washington, DC, Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Southeast Asian leaders are accustomed to fluctuating levels of attention from the United States, but U.S. policy for Southeast Asia in the past four years might be described as more than a fluctuation. Changes in diplomatic direction and trade policy have led to a loss of U.S. focus and influence in the region, while heightened U.S.-China tensions… Read more
Asia Foundation’s Political Economy of Data Workshop at Global Digital Development Forum
May 15, 2020
The international development community is adapting to the new challenges and opportunities presented by a growing digital ecosystem and digital data. As part of the Global Digital Development Forum virtual conference on May 6, The Asia Foundation hosted the “Not a Drop to Drink: Towards a Political Economy of Data in Asia” workshop. The Global Dig… Read more
Growing It Alone: Images of Rural Timor-Leste
November 6, 2019
Just a little over two months ago, Timor-Leste celebrated the 20th anniversary of the referendum that brought the country its independence. The Asia Foundation’s governance director, Nicola Nixon, sends these reflections from a visit to a project site in the historic town of Maubisse, 70km from the capital. View to the hills outside Maubisse, Timor… Read more
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning in Adaptive Programming: Expanding the State of the Art
September 12, 2018
No matter how you slice it, implementing a project in the field of international development ultimately boils down to this: is the project helping the people it intends to reach, and how do you know? That translates directly into the essential nuts and bolts of project management and how to measure results. Are you achieving what you had hoped? How… Read more
Devex: What Role is There for Development Actors in Thailand?
February 5, 2018
Media Coverage Post
Devex features an in-depth interview with Thomas Parks, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Thailand, on the role of international development actors in Thailand. Asia Foundation has worked in Thailand since 1954, adapting its program as the country rapidly developed: “Today, Thailand doesn’t need the support or kind of things we do in… Read more
Environmental and Social Impacts of Chinese Investment Overseas
June 1, 2016
On June 5, China marks its second national “Environment Day,” first established as part of the revised Environmental Protection Law in 2014. Along with the increased focus on environmental issues at home, more and more attention is being paid to the social and environmental impacts of China’s investments abroad. Outward foreign direct investment (O… Read more
Q&A: An Evolving Paradigm of South-South Cooperation
April 6, 2016
In March, The Asia Foundation’s director of International Development Cooperation program, Anthea Mulakala, joined more than 500 renowned scholars and experts from around the world for an international conference on South-South Cooperation (SSC) in New Delhi. In Asia editor Alma Freeman caught up with Mulakala to discuss how SSC is changi… Read more
2016 Australasian Aid Conference Convenes Leading Researchers on Global Development
January 27, 2016
It’s not often that Canberra can be described as an international crossroads. But on February 10-11 it will be a hotbed of discussion when researchers and practitioners from across Asia, the Pacific, and beyond converge on The Australian National University…
How Behavioral Insights Can Nudge Voter Turnout in Bangladesh
January 20, 2016
On Dec. 30, 2015, Bangladesh held its first-ever local-level elections in which political parties were able to nominate and field their own candidates for mayoral positions. Amid sporadic irregularities, millions lined up to vote in 234 municipalities across the country. While the election commission has yet to release official results…
Responding to Conflict in Asia: Why Good Data is Needed
December 16, 2015
The new set of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals includes for the first time a target that specifically sets out to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, marking an increase in awareness that peace and security is critical for sustainable development.
Local Pathways to Disability-Inclusive Governance in Indonesia
December 16, 2015
“Nothing About Us Without Us” has become a familiar slogan used by the international disability movement and relies on the principle of full participation for all. However, in Indonesia, where people with disabilities (PWDs) still face enormous barriers…
Asia Foundation Hosts Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for Innovation Talk
October 14, 2015
On October 9, Asia Foundation President Arnold hosted Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, along with Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Beazley, and former U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich at the iconic Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
China and the United States: A Conversation with David M. Lampton
July 29, 2015
David M. Lampton is Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he also heads SAIS China, the school’s overall presence in the PRC. He joined The Asia Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2006, and became Chairman of the Board in 2014.
To Be or Not To Be Part of AIIB
July 22, 2015
June 29, 2015, may have marked a turning point in multilateral development financing in the Asia-Pacific region. On that day, 50 countries signed the articles of agreement of the $50 billion, China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While there is a lot of excitement about the potential of this new multilateral financing institution…
Karl Eikenberry: A Role for China?
July 8, 2015
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry is the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, and a trustee of The Asia Foundation. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011, where he led the civilian surge directed by President Obama to set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty.
A Conversation with KOICA President Kim Young-mok
June 17, 2015
South Korea, a once-impoverished and war-torn nation that has grown to become an economic powerhouse and a provider of international assistance, is one of Asia’s great success stories, and The Asia Foundation has been a partner in that remarkable transformation since 1954.
American Foreign Policy and American Education
May 13, 2015
Two reports with ungainly titles and ostensibly nothing to do with each other were released by U.S. federal agencies last month. Together, these two reports should provoke a moment of reflection by anyone interested in the future of U.S. foreign policy.
Doing Development Differently: Report from Manila
April 29, 2015
On Monday and Tuesday in Manila, The Asia Foundation, along with Harvard University and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and with media partner DevEx to get the message out, hosted the second Doing Development Differently forum (DDD).
A Conversation with Dr. Rajiv Shah
April 29, 2015
Recently retired after five years at the helm of USAID, Rajiv Shah brought new energy and improved morale, and earned bipartisan Congressional support as director of the United States’ premier development agency. Shah emphasized measurement, transparency, and outcomes in development spending, and he championed the idea that development dollars should build local institutions within developing countries.
Post-2015 Development Agenda Needs Standalone Goal on Gender Equality
March 4, 2015
It has been more than a century since the world first celebrated March 8 as International Women’s Day. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women when representatives from 189 governments signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action…
A New Era of Development Finance
February 11, 2015
The global development landscape has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. In 2000, bilateral Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors (UK, U.S., Japan, France) and multilateral institutions like the World Bank dominated the provision of aid. Today, the face of aid is increasingly Asian.
Asia’s Cities Poised to Lead in Climate Change Adaptation
January 28, 2015
With support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities challenge, a number of cities across Asia are beginning to confront the impacts of climate change. Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, recently selected as one of Resilient Cities’ newest member cities and home to 1.5 million people, is one. Due to its low elevation and proximity to the Mekong River…
Can Mongolia’s Digital Revolution Help Meet Service Delivery Challenges?
January 28, 2015
Last month, Mongolia celebrated the 25th anniversary of its democratic revolution, a moment that would catapult the country’s transformation from a communist regime to a dynamic power in the region. But more recently – and more quietly – the country has also been undergoing a digital revolution.
Ten Reasons Not to Miss This Year’s Aid Conference
January 21, 2015
We held our first Australasian Aid Conference a year ago. In fact, we called it a workshop, because we thought it would be a rather small affair. Instead, we got 50 papers and 250 participants, and we’re doing it again this year, from February 12-13 at Australian National University…
How Practitioner-Academic Research Collaborations Can Improve Development Outcomes
January 14, 2015
“Theories of Change,” as Craig Valters argued recently on In Asia, offer development practitioners a potential way to grapple with the complexity of social change. But understanding how to get the most out of the tool is still a work in progress.
Mapping Mongolia’s Urban Ger Areas in Ulaanbaatar
December 17, 2014
Infrastructure in Mongolia’s sprawling capital Ulaanbaatar has not kept up with the rapid growth of unplanned ger areas within the city, leading to harsh conditions for newcomers. 1.5 million people now live in Ulaanbaatar, more than twice as many as the city was built to sustain. Since July 2012, The Asia Foundation has been implementing an urban services project…
Using Evidence to Improve Development Assistance
December 10, 2014
Development assistance is founded on countless theories about how foreign taxpayers’ money can be harnessed to instigate and catalyze economic and social development and provide humanitarian benefits abroad. Basic arguments for how positive change can be achieved…
Modern Conflict is Not What You Think
December 10, 2014
Research has transformed medicine, agriculture, and sanitation, and has helped lift many millions out of poverty. Most of the extremely poor people in the world now live in states suffering from conflict. Scholars have studied wars for millennia, but are usually concentrated on how to win them.
Academics, Practitioners, and Donors: Whose Evidence Counts and For What?
December 10, 2014
There is a difficult tension in the evidence-seeking agenda: on the one hand, donors seek short-term, project-related outcomes to support claims about their impact on a grand scale in a society; on the other hand, society-level impact does not seem measurable…
Can Theories of Change Help Us ‘Do Development Differently?’
December 10, 2014
Where next for debates and practice of Theories of Change? In my last blog on this topic, I argued that we need to be wary of Theories of Change simply becoming another corporate stick to beat people with: to prevent this, there is a considerable onus on likeminded donors…
Afghans Aren’t Giving Up
November 19, 2014
Afghanistan’s newly inaugurated president, Ashraf Ghani, appears to be off to a good start with the Afghan people. He has announced a series of new initiatives and adopted a hands-on style of governing, including surprise visits to military posts…
Former Korea Country Representative David Steinberg Reflects on A Nation in Transition
November 12, 2014
The Asia Foundation marked its 60th anniversary with a special day-long event and gala on November 6 in Seoul, Korea, hosted by former Foreign Minister Han Sung-Joo…
Trade, Private Sector, Soft and Hard Infrastructure to Top Beijing APEC Agenda
November 5, 2014
Wednesday marked the first day of the week-long Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, hosted this year in Beijing. This year’s summit, themed “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership,” brings together ministerial leaders, CEOs of global corporations, and other leading voices in the private and public sectors to discuss the challenges facing Asian-Pacific economies. The week will culminate with the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 10-11. Heads of states from all 21 member economies, including U.S. President Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping…
Myanmar’s National Museum Reveals Country’s Dynamic Past
October 29, 2014
Next month, Myanmar will host the ninth annual East Asia Summit, marking the conclusion of the country’s highly anticipated leadership role as 2014 ASEAN chair. Over the last three years, Myanmar has made strides in moving forward…
Q&A with Leading China Expert, Asia Foundation Trustee Elizabeth Economy
October 29, 2014
In Asia editor Alma Freeman recently sat down with new Asia Foundation trustee Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations’ C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and director for Asia Studies, to discuss China’s environmental challenges, the country’s role as a donor, and her new book co-authored with Michael Levi…
Discussion Series Examines Myanmar’s Path to Decentralization
October 29, 2014
Since Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein took office in April 2011, the country has embarked on a dramatic set of reforms that have shifted the nation from one of the world’s most repressive regimes to this year’s Chair of ASEAN…
One Year After Bohol Earthquake, Partnerships Thrive Amid Rehabilitation Efforts
October 15, 2014
One year ago today, an earthquake reported to have the energy equivalent of 32 Hiroshima bombs struck Bohol and nearby provinces in south central Philippines. Generated from a fault in the northwestern sector of Bohol Island, the earthquake registered 7.2 on the Richter scale…
Mongolia’s Capital Leads Charge to Improve Transparency and Fight Corruption
October 8, 2014
Ahead of a major forum on transparency and corruption in Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar this week, Capital City Governor and Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene set the tone for the discussions: “In Mongolia, corruption is so common that it has become a kind of social norm.” …
A Conversation with UN Human Development Report Author Khalid Malik
October 8, 2014
Khalid Malik, lead author of the UNDP Human Development Report, sat down with The Asia Foundation’s Global Communications assistant director, Eelynn Sim, on a recent visit to the Foundation’s headquarters in San Francisco and on the heels of the release of the 2014 report.
Civil Society Organizations in Asia Press for More Open Environment
September 24, 2014
Indonesians have spoken out about a contentious bill to be voted on today that would eliminate direct elections for local mayors and district heads. Leading the charge against the bill, tabled just a month before President-elect Joko Widodo assumes office…
One Year After Siege, Zamboanga Critical to Success of Any Peace Agreement
September 10, 2014
On Sept. 9, 2013, Zamboanga City woke to an unfolding nightmare. Some 200 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters under the charismatic commander Ustadz Habier Malik had landed. They professed, despite the fact that they were fully armed, an intention merely to have a peaceful march in support of independence for Muslim-dominated areas in the southern Philippines. When government security forces halted their march, MNLF forces took hostages as a string of human shields, tying them together with rope. As a nightmare, this was a recurrence…
WEF Declares Philippines Most Improved Country in Global Competitiveness
September 10, 2014
The Filipino workforce has long been considered to be internationally competitive, exemplified in its impressive performance in the business process outsourcing and overseas labor markets. However, it is only recently that Philippine competitiveness has been recognized on a global scale.
Framing Human Trafficking to Address Commoditization of Human Beings
August 13, 2014
The U.S Government’s latest Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report makes some critical observations in relation to how 187 countries are addressing human trafficking, and how this relates to the larger issues of labor migration and its manifestation into forced labor.
Subnational Conflict: New Approaches Needed
August 13, 2014
In last week’s In Asia, I examined how the rise of Asia in recent decades has been accompanied by a growth in deadly subnational conflicts (SNCs). These conflicts are occurring across the continent, including in middle-income and otherwise stable states. Democratization has not been a cure. Asia’s subnational conflicts last twice as long as those elsewhere in the world.
China’s Second White Paper on Foreign Aid Signals Key Shift in Aid Delivery Strategy
July 23, 2014
On July 10, 2014, China released its much-awaited white paper on foreign aid on foreign aid. In recent years, Chinese foreign aid has been a subject of scrutiny and even controversy. As the world’s fastest rising power, China has sharply expanded its foreign aid spending in both scale and scope over the last decade.
Conversation with Burmese Publisher, Library Advocate U Thant Thaw Kaung
July 9, 2014
Publisher U Thant Thaw Kaung, head of the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation and the mobile library project under the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, recently visited The Asia Foundation’s headquarters in San Francisco as part of a three-week study tour…
Integrating Disability in Pakistan’s Development Approach
June 11, 2014
Last month, over 1,000 students, journalists, civil society representatives, and activists walked from the Roshan Khan Complex to Jinnah Stadium in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, to raise awareness of exclusion of persons with disabilities in education. At the walk, UNESCO’s director…
5 Predictions for India’s Development Cooperation Under New Government
May 28, 2014
On Monday, Narendra Modi took the oath as India’s new prime minister, offering a new, more conservative government that has come to power after winning an electoral landslide. The new leadership has also raised questions about the implications for India’s foreign assistance program.
A Conversation with Tsagaan Puntsag, Chief of Staff of the President of Mongolia
May 21, 2014
As The Asia Foundation recently marked its 20th anniversary in Mongolia, Country Representative Meloney Lindberg sat down with Tsagaan Puntsag, chief of staff of the President of Mongolia and former Asia Foundation grantee in the Government Palace…
Photo Blog: Myanmar Parliamentary Study Tour to Korea
May 14, 2014
The first session of the Myanmar’s Parliament was held in January 2011, but the legislative body has been extraordinarily busy catching up on a long list of laws that need to be updated, revised, or established anew to meet the country’s democratic transition…
Picturing: The Promise of Libraries in Myanmar
April 2, 2014
Libraries and reading have a special place in Myanmar society. Yangon, the country’s largest city, is teeming with book vendors and libraries. The American Center and British Council libraries were venerated sources of up-to-date publications…
New Study Examines Policing in Timor-Leste
April 2, 2014
The Asia Foundation just released a new study that examines key features of police development in Asia’s youngest country, Timor-Leste. As part of the Overseas Development Institute’s global “Securing Communities” project, the case study reveals a unique process of development of community policing, influenced by historical legacies of occupation a… Read more
How Politics Can Outmaneuver Reform in the Philippines
March 12, 2014
Over the past two years, the Philippines has achieved the distinction of being the fastest growing of the ASEAN-6 economies with growth rates of 6.8 percent in 2012 and 7.2 percent in 2013. The official poverty rate in the Philippines was 27.9 percent in 2012 and 28.8 percent in 2006; levels which were interpreted this way…
The Yolanda Tragedy: 7 Lessons in Early Emergency Response
November 20, 2013
Last month, when the 7.2 earthquake struck the Philippine provinces of Cebu and Bohol, I was in the southern city of Zamboanga facilitating dialogues between Muslim and Christian leaders to alleviate possible religious tension following the September siege that displaced thousands and threatened the good relationship of the city’s two faith communities. It was the furthest thing from my mind that an even more devastating disaster would happen just a month later, right in Tacloban City, where I had left my wife and kids in safety (or so I thought) and in the province of Eastern Samar where I grew up playing in the gentle edges of the mighty Pacific Ocean.
Despite Double Disasters, Bohol’s Local Response Strong
November 20, 2013
Less than one month after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroyed areas of Bohol province in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), said to be one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land…
The Contested Corners of Asia: Subnational Conflict and International Development Assistance
October 7, 2013
Subnational conflict is the most widespread, enduring, and deadly form of conflict in Asia. Over the past 20 years (1992-2012), there have been 26 subnational conflicts in South and Southeast Asia, affecting half of the countries in this region. Concerned about foreign interference, national governments limit external access to conflict areas by jo… Read more
Civil Society More Ready Than Ever to Play Role in Forging Peace in Mindanao
February 20, 2013
In a study I wrote a number of years ago, I quoted a peace activist in Mindanao lamenting the lack of success in ending the war between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He was speaking in the wake of President Estrada’s 2000 “all-out war” offensive that overran fixed positions of the MILF.
Proving that Good Governance is Good Politics: A Tribute to Secretary Jesse Robredo
August 22, 2012
Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Jesse Manalastas Robredo – a highly-regarded, multi-awarded public servant, and an internationally recognized expert in local governance – died after the small plane…
Legislating Against Witchcraft Accusations in Nepal
August 8, 2012
In Nepal’s Chitwan District, a 40-year-old widow and mother of two was
How Do You Get Reform in a Country Like the Philippines?
April 25, 2012
In previous posts, the nature of politics in the Philippines has been explored from many angles. We’ve examined the history of a weak state, how local politicians have difficulty making a national impact, and trials and techniques of Philippine presidents in the face of this situation.
Taking a Hard Look at Formal and Informal Justice Systems in the Philippines
April 11, 2012
It is always exciting to be able to take a break from program implementation to think more deeply about the theories that underlie development practice on the ground. That is of course the whole point of a teaching sabbatical, and it is what we both enjoyed about the “Experts’ Roundtable on Local-Level Justice in Conflict-Affected and Fragile Regions.”…
Asia: The World’s Most Water-Stressed Continent
March 21, 2012
Tomorrow is World Water Day. Tragically, by the end of the day, 4,300 children somewhere in the world will have died because of contaminated water and poor sanitation. That’s one child every every 20 seconds. This is an appalling statistic, but still represents a marked improvement from 12 years ago…
Early Feminism in the Philippines
March 7, 2012
The Philippines has been noted as having one of the smallest gender disparities in the world. The gender gap has been closed in both health and education; the country has had two female presidents…
Have Philippine Presidents Overcome the Governance Impact of the ‘Hollywood Years?’
February 15, 2012
The Philippines has many cultural similarities to the rest of Southeast Asia. Some similarities, take cockfighting for example, puzzle some Filipinos and give great pride to other Filipinos (particularly males). Cockfighting is pre-colonial (as the chronicler of Magellan’s voyage when it arrived in the Philippines, Antonio Pigafetta observed) and is shared with Southeast Asia…
The Philippines in the Context of Southeast Asia’s History
February 8, 2012
One of the interesting things about team-teaching a course on “The Domestic Politics of Southeast Asia: The Philippines and Thailand” is that I myself have never taken a course on Southeast Asia. I was an American politics specialist as a graduate student, with a dissertation on “Interpretation and American Electoral Studies.” On the Philippines in particular…
U.S. Military and the Philippines: What do Philippine Citizens Really Think?
February 1, 2012
No sooner did I warn in last week’s blog on my way to Washington, D.C., that there is “a danger that U.S.-Philippine relations will be viewed entirely through the lens of ‘the rise of China'” than I was greeted upon arrival by the morning front-page story in The Washington Post entitled, “Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China’s rise.” The article stated that “the sudden rush by many in the Asia-Pacific region to embrace Washington is a direct reaction to China’s rise as a military power and its assertiveness in staking claims to disputed territories, such as the energy-rich South China Sea.”
Social Media in the Philippines is Widespread, but what is its Impact?
October 12, 2011
The Philippines long had a terrible reputation for telecommunications, with Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew famously saying that in 1992, 99 percent of the population in the Philippines was waiting for a phone and 1 percent was waiting for a dial tone. However, beginning with the administration of Fidel Ramos (1992-1998) and followed by President Estrada (1998-2001), the telecoms industry was liberalized, and phone ownership skyrocketed.