The Open Society Foundations have been expanding and deepening its work in Asia—engaging on pressing local and regional issues, from ensuring protections for migrant workers to supporting independent journalism and human rights advocates.
Offices and Foundations
By the Numbers
Regional Budget by Year
The Open Society Foundations’ work in Asia has expanded in a way that reflects the diversity of political development across the region. After an unsuccessful effort to work in Beijing that ended just before the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, we established our first foundation in the region in Mongolia in 1996.
Elsewhere, moves from military to civilian rule allowed us to open foundations in Indonesia in 2000, in Pakistan in 2008, and in Myanmar in 2015. Our involvement in Myanmar followed many years providing scholarships and support for Myanmar students who had fled into exile after the military refused to cede power after elections in 1990.
Highlights of Our Work in Asia Pacific
Supporting Democracy in China
Supporting Democracy in Indonesia
Building a Brighter Future in Pakistan
Advocating for the Rohingya
Our Asia Pacific Regional Office coordinates our work, which ranges from ensuring protections to migrant laborers to supporting human rights and a independent media.
In many parts of Asia, a lack of access to the protection of the law serves to perpetuate poverty and discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and others. Open Society has worked in Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and elsewhere to support the provision of free legal advice that helps people resolve everyday problems. In Pakistan, we have worked with the largest network of NGOs to train women as community-based paralegal advisors in remote villages.
From the beginning, Open Society has supported democratic development in Asia, particularly in countries where democratic ideals remains contested. In Nepal, for instance, we have supported efforts to ensure that women and Dalits are included as candidates for local authority positions.
Migrant workers from across Asia leave their homes in search of work, often supporting their families with jobs both elsewhere in the region, and further afield, such as the Arab Gulf, East Asia, and Europe. Our International Migration Initiative works with actors across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to promote fair and equitable working conditions for migrants and refugees, and to ensure that they are protected from all forms of abuse.
In Pakistan, our Early Childhood Program joined our Pakistan foundation to assist in the creation of a national center of excellence for early childhood care and education, while our Education Support Program helped with the introduction of a professional development program for teachers that links curriculum reform, textbook development, and the assessment system.
India Delivers a Case Study in Successful Impact Investing
The Open Society Foundations adopted an innovative impact investment approach in India—now its success has brought in more private capital to fund businesses that deliver positive social and economic change.
Sri Lanka Should Think Twice Before Copying Duterte’s Vicious Drug War
While the world moves on, Sri Lanka continues to drift toward the brutal and criminal “war on drugs” policies championed by the Philippines’ strongman. These heinous policies must be abandoned—before it’s too late.
What’s Changed (and What Hasn’t) Since the Rana Plaza Nightmare
In the five years since unsafe working conditions cost more than a thousand lives in Bangladesh, some progress has been made. But workers face fundamental challenges—including a state that’s still not doing enough to help.