The international economic and political system established after World War II may be coming to an end. As a result, world politics is increasingly defined by deep uncertainty about the future and questions about which values will prevail in the next chapter of history. Meanwhile, Asia is on the rise and will likely be the region that shapes international institutions and norms in the coming decades. What will this Asia-dominated world look like? By hosting people-to-people exchanges, facilitating original research, and producing timely podcasts, videos, and reports on the most consequential moral, economic, and strategic issues of this era, Carnegie Council's Asia Dialogues program advances cross-cultural dialogue and offers critical insights on how to reimagine the international system. In doing so, the program also cultivates the next generation of moral leaders across the Pacific.


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.

Theme Five: Climate Change in the Philippines
With severe typhoons a regular occurrence, the Philippines has become the portrait of climate change victimhood. At COP21 in Paris, the country’s representative told delegates: "For the Philippines, climate change means sorrowful catalogues of casualty and fatality; the countless voices of the homeless and the grieving, their very tears and screams carried to us by the winds and waves that blew their homes away." Many island nations like the Philippines are already being affected by rising sea levels, a specter of what lies ahead for low-lying cities such as Miami, Florida. How is the encroaching threat of climate change reshaping culture, politics and even faith in these communities? How can the claim of economic prosperity be reconciled with the equally valid claim of sustainability and conservation? How can the way Filipinos are coping with extreme climate change-related weather and disasters inform the rest of the world about response and resilience?


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 week-long fact-finding trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during October 2017. Amid growing Islamophobia and populism in Europe and the United States, a more complete picture of Islam is crucial, and as the world's largest Muslim nation, Indonesia has the potential to shape the way the world's fastest growing and most contentious religion is perceived worldwide.

For a list of delegates, click here.


Carnegie Council's Asia Dialogues program led a week-long fact-finding trip to Tokyo, Japan, during November 2016. The purpose of the trip was to conduct dialogues with experts and practitioners and explore current issues relating to gender in Japanese society. Topics of conversation included: women in the workplace, equal voice in politics, demographic trends, and gender rights. The trip leveraged 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 have 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.