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By conducting original, empirical research and facilitating educational exchange, the Asia Dialogues Program seeks to advance ethical inquiry around contentions within Asia and the United States.

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The goal is to foster moral leadership, mutual learning, and lasting relationships across the Pacific. Based on the methods pioneered in the Council's Global Ethical Dialogues, our approach is to examine local manifestations of global issues by engaging with community representatives at the front lines of social change.


Theme One: Gender Norms in Japan (as a vector for social change, equality, and dynamism)
Japan, long in the grip of a stagnant economy, recently unveiled a series of policies meant to revitalize the economy by closing the gender gap. This initiative, named Womenomics, is designed to create a more inclusive work environment and increase the number of women in business leadership positions by transforming the workplace. What lessons can the U.S. learn from Japan's efforts to close the gender gap? How is Japan combatting entrenched beliefs to broaden women's participation in the workplace? Can Japan's policies be adopted by other countries, other cultures? Ultimately, how can Japan manage and reconcile two competing claims rooted in the most fundamental structure in society, the family unit?

Theme Two: Education Reform in Japan (as a vector for social change)
After a series of experiments, including Yutori education, which focused on primary education to create self-motivated students, the Abe Cabinet has come to view education as a vehicle to drive long-term economic growth. Its education policies highlight the goal of globalizing and revitalizing the country's universities. For example, the Super Global Universities program (see MEXT's "Top Global University Project" paper) aims to educate university students to be able to take positions of global leadership. What are the expectations, goals, and mindsets of university students in Japan? How can the education best serve them and how can the country's economy benefit from future generations of leaders? What do students and professors see as Japan's main educational challenges and opportunities? How do they see the global economy? How do they see the future of Japanese society? How will these factors influence the future of Japan and its relationship with the world?

Theme Three: Southeast Asia's Relations with China and Japan (normative influence in East Asia)
This project will seek to better understand how the NLD will govern Myanmar, and how the Joko Widodo government in Indonesia will approach both China and Japan during the remainder of Jokowi's term. In addition, the interviews will help assess how Japanese companies should evaluate future investments in both Myanmar and Indonesia, and how the Japanese government should structure aid projects in Myanmar and Indonesia during the remainder of this decade.

Theme Four: Religion and Tolerance in Indonesia (pluralism vs extremism)
As the largest Muslim nation, Indonesia has the potential to shape the way the world's fastest growing and most contentious religion is perceived worldwide. While Indonesia has decided not to join the Saudi-led military alliance against terrorism, Indonesian Muslims are adding their own voice to the global, multifaceted narrative by promoting peace and tolerance via the activities of Nahdatul Ulama, the country's largest Muslim organization that was founded as a counterforce to Wahhabism, which has been promoted in Java by Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Indonesian Islam has been called possible "counter-narrative" to radical Islam, and President Joko Widodo has spoken of the aspiration that Indonesia serve as a "leading light" in the Islamic world. Amid growing Islamophobia and populism in Europe and the United States, a more complete picture of Islam is crucial, and Indonesia can serve as an ideal case study to provide such a broader view.


Pacific Fellows are leading scholars and experts who contribute to a worldwide discussion of ethical contentions in the U.S.-Asia context. Chosen for their expertise in ethics and interest in Carnegie Council's work, fellows organize dialogues in their local communities and collaborate with other fellows, students, and Council staff to develop joint research, site visits, publications, and multimedia projects. The fellowship is a non-resident affiliation with Carnegie Council.

For a list of current fellows, click here.  


Carnegie Council's Asia Dialogues program is leading a weeklong fact-finding trip to Tokyo, Japan, during November 2016. The purpose of the trip will be to conduct dialogues with experts and practitioners and explore current issues relating to gender in Japanese society. Topics of conversation may include: women in the workplace, equal voice in politics, demographic trends, and gender rights. The trip leverages both a global network of scholars and a method of moral inquiry that Carnegie Council has developed over the past several years. Drawn from a variety of professional, regional, and academic backgrounds, the group of Pacific Delegates has been selected to join this trip, engage in dialogue and research, and publish their findings.

For a list of delegates, click here.  

The Carnegie Council's Asia Dialogues program gratefully acknowledges the support for its work from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Program Resources

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Asia Dialogues Program CREDIT: Gusta Johnson. Discussants, L to R: Peter Kwong, Henry Chang, Jiayang Fan, and Kavitha Rajagopalan

Program Staff

Devin T. Stewart
Senior Program Director, Senior Fellow, and CNL Staff Adviser

Amanda Ghanooni
Program Associate

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