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Asia Society Launches Innovative U.S.-Asia Think Tank to Develop “Solutions for the Asian Century”

Apr 8, 2014
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NEW YORK, APRIL 8, 2014 – Asia Society launched today the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), a nonpartisan, Asia-centric global network of experts working to create solutions that advance the prosperity, security, and sustainability of Asia and the world. This innovative new organization will be devoted to forging understanding between Asia and the United States in a global context and builds on Asia Society’s long legacy of renowned policy work, which has contributed to breakthroughs in relations between the U.S. and numerous Asian countries.

“We have designed the Asia Society Policy Institute to be a different kind of think tank. Using leading-edge technology, we will connect a powerful global network of advisers and thought leaders to build understanding and solutions addressing critical issues and opportunities for Asia and the world,” said Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran.

ASPI collaborates with a global network of Asia-focused leaders from government, business, civil society, academia, and other sectors. Its Honorary Council includes former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz; former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, and Condoleezza Rice; agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan; and former chief executive and president of Hong Kong’s Executive Council Tung Chee Hwa.

“The Asian Century is a time of rapid change and increasing recognition that Americans, Asians, and the global community face shared challenges. ASPI will bring Asia front and center to global policy work and serve as a nexus for collaborative policy solutions and frontline diplomacy,” said Sheeran.

ASPI’s networked approach is uniquely suited to advancing international cooperation and effective policymaking during a century that many believe will belong to Asia. With nearly 200 leading thinkers in its network, the Institute operates with a truly Asia-wide scope and encourages participation from business and policy leaders on equal footing. It also brings Asia Society’s recognized strength in convening top-level leaders from Asia and the United States to build relationships and work together.

“With decades of experience developing understanding between Asia and the United States, Asia Society has a remarkable record of bringing together leaders of those important regions of the world to solve problems,” said James A. Baker, III, former U.S. Secretary of State and a member of ASPI’s Honorary Council. “By applying the same approach to policy challenges, the Asia Society Policy Institute can help resolve some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

“There is no shortage of global think tanks that do good work. ASPI seeks to do it differently. While others invariably have a single national perspective, Asia Society, which has engaged Asian countries and the United States for longer than most, strives to incorporate multiple perspectives as a matter of our genetics. We identify and define problems and find innovative ways, drawing upon our vast network, to address them. Our approach should yield pleasing, if not surprising, results,” said Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Chair of Asia Society’s Board of Trustees and Chairman of Hang Lung Group Limited and its subsidiary Hang Lung Properties Limited, property companies that are publicly listed in Hong Kong.

Highlights of recent policy work from Asia Society include:

  • High Tech: the Next Wave of Chinese Investment in America, the third Asia Society report on Chinese foreign direct investment into the United States. The report presents original data to describe Chinese investments in U.S. IT, cleantech, biotech, advanced transportation, and other technology sectors and analyze their impacts on the U.S. economy. (April 2014)
  • Asia Society’s U.S.-Iran initiative opened channels for American and Iranian officials to resume diplomatic contact after more than three decades of estrangement and hostility. Since this pioneering work was made public, it has received worldwide media attention and acclaim from diplomats on both sides.
  • Growing Together Beats Falling Apart combined ideas from experts across Asia into a practical strategy for how G-20 states can do more to foster economic growth across Asia, in part by promoting policies to temper economic nationalism. The report recommended actions for Asia-Pacific countries and others to take individually and collectively. (November 2010)
  • Sustaining Myanmar's Transition: Ten Critical Challenges, a report that takes stock of progress and challenges in Myanmar’s reform process in the two years leading up to June 2013, and concludes with recommendations for strengthening U.S.-Myanmar relations. The report builds on nearly four years of policy dialogue and analysis carried out through Asia Society’s Myanmar initiative. (June 2013)
  • The United States and South Asia After Afghanistan, a report offering new ideas on how to integrate competing U.S. interests in South Asia, encourage stronger interagency collaboration across the East Asia-South Asia divide, and expand expertise on South Asia in the U.S. government. The report incorporates insights from a senior advisory group and more than 90 interviews with policy practitioners. (December 2012)

The new institute begins its work with funding from a range of founders, including Chinhui and Edward R. Allen III, Ronnie C. Chan, Citi, Betsy Z. and Edward E. Cohen, Henrietta H. Fore, Stephanie and John Foster, Mitchell R. Julis, Jim and Mary Anne (MA) Rogers, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, and Lulu and Anthony Wang. The Asia Society Policy Institute Honorary Council list follows. The Advisory Council for the Institute is listed here. Information about Asia Society’s Global Council may be found here.

Reports, briefings, commentary, and public events from the Asia Society Policy Institute are available online at AsiaSociety.org/policy-institute.

Asia Society Policy Institute Honorary Council
Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group; Former U.S. Secretary of State; Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited
Shaukat Aziz, Former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Pakistan
James Baker, III, Partner, Baker Botts; Former U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Treasury
Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, Chairman & CEO, C.V. Starr & Company; Former Chairman & CEO, AIG
Henry Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.; Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor
Sadako Ogata, Chairperson, World Economic Forum Japan; Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Former President, Japan International Cooperation Agency
Condoleezza Rice, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former U.S. Secretary of State
Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, & Co-Founder, The Blackstone Group
George P. Shultz, Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, and Secretary of Labor
M.S. Swaminathan, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
Washington SyCip, Founder, Asian Institute of Management and Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co.
Tung Chee Hwa “C.H.”, Vice Chairman, Eleventh National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; Former Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong
John C. Whitehead, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; Former Chairman of the Board, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Asia Society Chairman Emeritus

Contact information for the Asia Society Policy Institute is: [email protected]

New York
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
+1 212 288 6400

Washington, D.C.
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
+1 202 833 2742

About Asia Society
Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney and Washington, DC. For more information visit AsiaSociety.org.