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| by Suzanne Polak
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Dear Colleagues,

In less than a generation, Asia’s four billion people have become healthier, more prosperous, and better educated. They are thoroughly connected through improved infrastructure, communications networks, and increased regional trade. However, as Asia reaps the rewards of robust economic growth, a confluence of deep-rooted factors is threatening to undermine sustainable development in the region. Among Asia’s significant development challenges are policies and practices that exclude large numbers of citizens from these investments, which will undermine long-term growth and stability. Because addressing these development challenges will depend, in part, on stronger citizen voices and greater engagement with government, it will be critical for states across Asia to expand the legal space for civil society organizations. Moreover, organizations need to be less reliant on a few international sources of funding and more able to secure resources from a diversity of sources, including local donors and indigenous philanthropy. Technology and partnerships with the private sector, as well as leveraging influence through regional and global networks, will be key to more capable and sustainable civil society in Asia.

USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), The Asia Foundation (TAF), USAID/Indonesia, and USAID/Philippines will host the Asia Regional Civil Society Experience Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, May 27-30, 2014. The Summit will be an opportunity for USAID and its partners to learn from technical experts and local practitioners, as well as from one another, about new and emerging models of development in the civil society sector. Analysis of development projects, research, private partnerships and alliances, and the work of civil society organizations (CSOs) across Asia will provide participants with a cross-sector view of the changing political, economic, social, and environmental landscape in which CSOs across Asia operate.

Selected sessions of the Summit will be available through AID Connect for viewing worldwide. The URL for the webinar room that will be used for the entire Summit during the week is

Please share this information with your colleagues and those who are unable to attend.  Virtual participants should click on the link and log in either using a username and password (for USAID staff) or as a guest. Once logged in, virtual participants will be able to listen to the presentations and send in questions and/or comments for discussion.

The following sessions are scheduled to be streamed live during the summit. Please note that all times are for Bangkok, which is currently 11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, Eastern Standard Time.

Tuesday, May 27

9:30 am – 10:30 am: Asia’s Perspective and Aspirations for Civil Society: Building a Common Understanding

  • Chair of Session, Professor Buapaun Promphaping,  Khon Kaen University, Thailand, Center for Civil Society and Non-Profit Management (CSNM)
  • Dr. Mushtaque Chowdhury, Vice Chairman and  Interim Executive Director, BRAC , Bangladesh
  • Sixto Macasaet, Executive Director, Caucus of Development NGOs/ Philippines/ Board of Council for NGO Certification (PCNC)

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm: The Legal and Enabling Environment for Civil Society as a  Leader of Participatory Governance in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Chair of Session, Douglas Rutzen, President, International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL)
  • John Samuel, Institute for Sustainable Development & Governance
  • Marissa Camacho, Board member, Philippine Council for NGO Certification
  • Maryam Safi, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit

Wednesday, May 28

8:30 am – 10:00 am: Regional Cooperation for Regional Development Solutions: Innovations for Civil Society

  • Ngin Saorath, Executive Director, Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization (CDPO)
  • Atnike Nova Sigiro, ASEAN Advocacy Program Manager, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia)
  • Edgardo Amistad, Chairman, ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility Network

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Tech Flash Talks on Inspiring Technologies for CSOs

  • Laurindo Garcia, B-Change, Philippines  
  • Sanjana Hattotuwa, ICT4Peace, Sri Lanka
  • Sunit Shrestha, Change Fusion, Thailand
  • Titi Anggraini, Perludem, Indonesia
  • Javier Sola, Open Institute, Cambodia
  • Tony Bouch, Internews, Thailand

Thursday, May 29

8:30 am – 9:45 am: Plenary Session on CSO Sustainability: Innovations and Experience in Financial Sustainability

  • Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman, Population and Community Development Association
  • Francis Ngai, Founder and CEO, Social Ventures Hong Kong
  • Aurora Tolentino, Board Member, Aboitiz Foundation, and former Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium
  • Ramaswamy Sudarshan, Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy

13:30 pm – 14:15 pm: CSO Partnership Innovations

  • Wicaksono Sarosa, Executive Director, Partnership for Governance Reform, Indonesia
  • Patrick Keuleers, Director, Democratic Governance Group, UNDP
  • Bipin Adhikari, Chairman, Nepal Constitution Foundation


For schedule updates, please check back daily to this group space.  We look forward to interacting with you virtually throughout the week!