We live at a time of incredible opportunity. Advances in science and technology are helping cure once incurable diseases, information and communication technologies are enabling us to communicate and connect with one another as never before, the frontiers of knowledge are pushing forward at a historically unprecedented rate.
But in spite of this progress, we are all failing as leaders.
Nearly one and a half billion people around the world, two thirds of them in Asia, still suffer from abject poverty. Over a billion adults remain illiterate, the large majority of them women. Greenhouse gas emissions are slowly destroying our planet but we can't come together to solve this human-created problem. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of intolerance persist. Massive human rights abuses go unanswered.
Until we all recognize that we will never realize our potential as long as others in our communities and around the world are denied the fruits of progress, and then act to transform this perception into new realities for all, our collective failure will persist.
The Asia Society's Asia 21 Initiative was created to help identify and nurture a new generation of Asia-Pacific leaders who can transcend traditional boundaries to drive collaborative outcomes to help address the enormous challenges we face. The 2010 Asia 21 Jakarta Summit described in this short volume was one collective step taken in this direction.
It is our hope that the Asia 21 initiative can inspire next generation leaders from across the Asia-Pacific to connect us to each other, share values and lessons, seek unity while celebrating diversity, learn to listen even more closely, and find new and creative ways for working together to bring about positive change, both large and small, that makes our world a better place.
— Jamie Metzl, Foreword, 2010 Asia 21 Summit Report