Supporting Regional Cooperation for Peace and Security in Asia
May 29, 2009 | Press release | International Peace & Security, Asia Security Initiative

MacArthur is committing $68 million over seven years to a new Asia Security Initiative that will increase the effectiveness of international cooperation in fostering peace and security in Asia. The Initiative brings together 27 institutions from around the world to develop new ideas to address Asia's many security challenges.

"The growing economic and political power of Asia is transforming the globe," said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. "Over the coming decades, the Asia-Pacific will be the world's economic engine, helping millions in the region to find new prosperity. Yet, in this time of great opportunity, security challenges - from power conflicts to resource scarcity - threaten to undo the region's many gains. As China, India, and other Asian nations become regional and global powers, Asia-Pacific nations must think anew about how our societies can work together to foster peace and prevent conflict."

MacArthur's initial grantmaking focuses on three particularly critical security issues: strengthening regional cooperation, preventing conflict in Northeast Asia, and building international cooperation to respond to internal challenges. In each area, a group of grantees will work together to conduct analysis and suggest new ways forward. The work of each group will be coordinated by a leading Asian institution. These three core institutions were selected through an exhaustive two-year search to identify regional leaders in the field of security studies:

  • China's Peking University Center for International and Strategic Studies will oversee the regional security cooperation group, advising policymakers on how to make better use of multilateral institutions, bilateral relationships, and alliances to prevent conflict, manage differences, and foster peace and security.
  • Korea's East Asia Institute will coordinate work on Northeast Asia, developing plans for international cooperation to decrease tensions over North Korea and Taiwan and among Northeast Asian nations.
  • Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies will direct the internal challenges group, which will concentrate on the need for international cooperation to help manage emerging transnational challenges. Such challenges include heightened demand for energy creating competition over scarce resources, the effects of natural disasters, and domestic political instability that creates pernicious cross-border effects and outbreaks of violent conflict.

MacArthur will help build long-term capacity to conduct policy research by funding new research positions, improving communications among institutions, and assisting in the publication of research and analysis in print and online. Today, the Foundation launched a new website - - to showcase the network's policy research.

The Foundation also plans to start a program of year-long fellowships in 2010 for mid-career leaders in academia, government, non-government organizations, the private sector, and media to undertake policy research on Asian security challenges. Fellows will be identified through an open application process and will be placed at the three core institutions.

The Initiative comes out of MacArthur's 25 years of grantmaking in peace and security. Specifically, the Foundation has invested in training, research, and policy engagement to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction. MacArthur supported research and track-two diplomacy between U.S. and Soviet officials and nuclear scientists, which helped lead to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. MacArthur grantees also helped develop the conceptual framework for cooperative threat reduction programs that helped Russia and other former Soviet states reduce stockpiles and secure nuclear weapons and fissile materials. The Foundation's Science, Technology, and Security Initiative strengthened university-based centers of science, technology, and security, creating a new generation of scientists engaged in the study and development of security policy on issues like nonproliferation and arms control.

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