2013 Asia-Pacific Workshops

Sixty percent of the world’s population lives in Asia. While open markets in recent decades have created opportunities for some and made some nations global economic leaders, corporate exploitation and human rights abuses have kept multitudes in poverty. Nearly a billion Asians and Pacific Islanders struggle with daily hunger. Poverty, and the need for fresh water, realities worsened by devastating climate change, social inequalities and the imbalances of global trade. This year we will examine some of the factors behind these conditions in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

In addition, fear of Chinese hegemony and the expansion of U.S. military and economic influence in the Pacific has made many wary of a new Cold-war style militarization and polarization of the region. The new U.S. policy “pivot” toward the region is the subject of one Asia-Pacific workshop this year, while the significant moral and strategic questions posed by the expansion of the U.S. drone program in South Asia is considered in another.

 

Drones, National Security, and Our Faith Values
(Co-sponsored with the Peace and Global Security Track)

In the last few months, the United States’ use of drones to carry out targeted killings has come to the forefront of the American consciousness. Thanks to leaks like the Department of Justice’s ‘White Paper’, more questions are being raised regarding the legal and ethical concerns of carrying out such a program. This workshop will focus on understanding how and where drones are being used in South Asia and elsewhere, and the national security concerns and civilian impact that their use poses. The faith community’s unique contribution to the legal and moral considerations surrounding the program will also be addressed.

Speakers: Matt Southworth, Legislative Associate for Foreign Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation; Speaker invited from the Global Justice Clinic (GJC) at NYU School of Law

 

Indigenous Land Tenure in Cambodia

Conflict over land rights has emerged as the single most important issue facing Cambodia in the early 21st century. Nowhere is the conflict more intense than in Cambodia’s northeastern provinces, a resource-rich region that is also home to the majority of Cambodia’s indigenous communities. Indigenous peoples in Cambodia face special obstacles in asserting their land rights, primarily because they lack political influence on the national level and adhere to cultural concepts of “collective property” rather than individual ownership. Many also have limited ability to speak and read Khmer. In 2012, the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF) commissioned a study to examine the efficacy of the land registration process in indigenous villages in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri provinces. This workshop will assess the Cambodia’s indigenous land titling program, exploring its successes and obstacles and opportunities to improve the fairness of the process.

Speakers: Ms. Yun Mane, Cambodian Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA) and Mr. Manfred Hornung, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Cambodia.

 

The U.S. “Pacific Pivot,” Peace and the Problem of Food Security on the Korean Peninsula

This workshop takes a look at food security and strategic challenges on the Korean Peninsula in the context of the U.S. “Pacific Pivot” and the Trans-Pacific Partnership push for a trade agreement. An assessment of US policy and conditions in strategic countries in the region will be provided by the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization of Asia, policy analysts, and presenters representing decades of work in North Korea on agriculture and economic issues.

Presenters: Christine Ahn, Executive Director of the Korea Policy Institute; You-kyoung Ko, Farm organizer from Pyeong-taek, South Korea; Representative of American Friends Service Committee

 

WASHing Away Hunger: Boiling Down the Water and Nutrition Connection in Asia

This workshop will present a brief overview of the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and nutrition nexus and current WASH advocacy. Followed by a fire side chat with experts from NGOs and the USAID who are working together to create lasting impact in Bangladesh through their SPRING (Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally) program which incorporates key WASH elements into a broader nutrition program. This case study will be used as a catalyst for a broader discussion on nutrition and WASH integration in Asia.

Speaker: Ben Mann, Global Partnerships Director, WASH Advocates

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