US-J-SEA Fellowship Year 1 Fellow: Courtney Weatherby

Residency: February - March 2019
Contact Information:*

BiographyCourtney Weatherby

Courtney Weatherby is a research analyst with the Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia and Energy, Water, & Sustainability programs. Her research focuses on sustainable infrastructure development, regional security, and energy challenges, particularly food-water-energy issues in the Mekong basin in mainland Southeast Asia. Weatherby was lead author on the Stimson Center Mekong Power Shift report, the TRENDS Institution UAE Energy Diplomacy report, wrote a chapter “China Invests in Myanmar: The Political Fallout of ‘Going Out’ Next Door” in the 2014 book China’s Great Leap Outward, and has authored and co-authored numerous short pieces a range of online publications including East by Southeast, The Bangkok Post, Nikkei Asian Review, and The Diplomat. She has spoken publicly on panels at a variety of institutions including the Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food, and Energy, the US-Asia Institute, and Chulalongkorn University. Before joining Stimson in 2014, Weatherby interned with the Center for Strategic International Studies, the State Department, and Human Rights Watch. She holds a M.A. in Asian Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors from Dickinson College.

Research Topic: The Indo-Pacific Economic Vision: Emerging Opportunities for U.S-Japan Collaboration on Infrastructure Needs in Southeast Asia

Security and trade issues have been amply covered in public statements on the Trump Administration's free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), but a clear role for American investment and development assistance was overlooked early on. The Asia EDGE and ITAN initiatives, along with the recently passed BUILD Act, will help address this gap. While these emerging economic initiatives are focused on creating opportunities for American actors, they will have significant development benefits for developing countries. Southeast Asia faces a $2.6 trillion energy and infrastructure investment gap. No individual country is capable of meeting these needs, and in order for these economic initiatives to be successful it is imperative that the United States coordinate not only with the private sector but also with its regional allies and partners. Japan is a major investor in Southeast Asia, and there are obvious complementarities between the IPS and Japan's own policy efforts such as the 2018 Tokyo Strategy for Mekong-Japan Cooperation. This research project will use a desk study and interviews in Washington, DC and Japan to explore ways that IPS could supplement Japanese development policy in Southeast Asia, with the ultimate goal of identifying opportunities for collaboration.

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