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
Expenditures 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
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.
Care Workers Deserve Credit for South Korea’s COVID-19 Response
South Korea’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been cited as a model in the international press. While their technology has been celebrated, the essential role care workers played in avoiding a larger crisis continues to be ignored.
A Crisis Averted
Fighting the Pandemic in Pakistan’s Prisons
Thanks to the heroic efforts of civil society groups, prisoners in Pakistan did not suffer a mass outbreak of COVID-19. What the near miss underlined, however, is the country’s urgent need for criminal justice reform.
What Is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction refers to a range of services and policies that lessen the adverse consequences of drug use and protect public health. The Open Society Foundations support efforts to advance harm reduction around the globe.