Asia Society Policy Institute Launches Washington Office

Wendy Cutler to Head ASPI's DC Presence

More than 200 people — including diplomats, business leaders, and senior U.S. officials — gathered in Washington, D.C. on February 3 for the launch of the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) office in the nation’s capital. The celebratory launch marked the formal introduction of ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler, former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, as the head of the organization’s ASPI office.

Speakers at the event — including Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran — characterized the ASPI DC office launch as central to the organization’s mission to enhance understanding between Asia and the world. “Too many people in the world are busy blowing up bridges,” said Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister who now serves as ASPI’s president. “We’re in the business of building them.”

Asia Society Global Co-Chair Henrietta Fore, whose remarks opened the celebration, echoed Rudd’s sentiment. “Much of the despair and destruction that is caused by a lack of understanding, trust, and empathy can be corrected by … the development of inclusive policy solutions by our Asia Society Policy Institute.”

Billing itself as a "think and do tank," ASPI is designed to achieve an equal balance between policy and business. This balance is reflected in its leadership — Rudd possesses a well-known expertise on China and climate change, while Cutler, a veteran trade negotiator, recently helped lead the U.S. team that concluded the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Policymakers depend on think tanks and ‘do tanks’ like ASPI for new, provocative ideas,” said Daniel Russel, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, whose remarks and toast closed the event. “[There’s] no better person than Wendy Cutler to launch ASPI DC, and no more important time than now.”