East-West Center Launches Updated 'Asia Matters for America' Publications and Website


Launch Event on Sidelines of Last Week's East Asia Summit in Singapore Marks 'Asia Matters' Data Initiative's 10th Anniversary

SINGAPORE (November 20, 2018) – At a conference on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore last week, the East-West Center and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, with the support of the US Department of State, launched the East-West Center’s newly updated Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia publication, website, and one-page state summaries highlighting the mutual business, diplomatic, security, and cultural engagement between the US and the Indo-Pacific region.

Asia Matters for America bookletNearly 100 guests from the media, diplomatic, business, academic, and policy analysis communities attended the event, which marked the 10th anniversary of the East-West Center’s Asia Matters for America initiative as a resource that provides key statistics, infographics, news, and analysis on US-Indo-Pacific relations at the national, state, and local levels. Hosted at AsiaMattersforAmerica.org, the new mobile responsive website features interactive data visualizations, news articles, and digital versions of the new publication and one-page US state and Congressional district connection summaries.

US interactions with the Indo-Pacific include $1.8 trillion in two-way trade and nearly $1 trillion in regional investment together accounting for over 3 million American jobs. The US earns almost $90 billion from tourism and another $25 billion from students from the region. Cultural exchanges also provide enduring connections and facilitate commerce. Strategically, the Indo-Pacific is home to the world’s most dynamic economies and societies, key US allies, and rising strategic partners as well as potential security threats.

“[Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia] is a very important report. In a concise fashion, it lays out the facts and figures that I believe answers the question of why America is important to us in Asia, and why Asia is important to America,” said Dr. Joseph Liow, Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and concurrently, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs W. Patrick Murphy delivered the keynote address, followed by a presentation of Asia Matters for America findings and website demonstration from East-West Center in Washington Director Dr. Satu Limaye.

“As the East-West Center report notes, over two-thirds of all the international students in the United States are from the Indo-Pacific region,” Murphy said. “Vietnam alone now sends nearly 30,000 students annually to the US, putting Vietnam in the top six sending countries for foreign students and demonstrating the remarkable transition from former adversaries to close partners. The young leaders of this region – including more than 130,000 members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative network here in Southeast Asia – are strengthening those ties every day.”

Dr Satu Limaye speaks at the launch event

“The Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia initiative is usable in many ways,” said Dr. Limaye. “It helps build support for caucuses on Asia in Congress as well as understanding of concrete local connections.  It is used by the America Chambers of Commerce from across the region in their Congressional ‘door knocks.’ It is a resource as well as a platform for state and local officials. It offers an opportunity for American and Indo-Pacific companies to highlight their contributions to jobs and economic development. It is used by media for coverage of US-Indo-Pacific relations, and as an educational tool by teachers for American students. In a real way, the Asia Matters for America initiative is a story of collaboration with partners, echoing the aspirations for America’s policies in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The event concluded with a discussion panel that featured Dr. Tommy Koh, Ambassador-At-Large, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affair,; former Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, US-ASEAN Business Council; Ambassador Piper Campbell, Chargé d’Affaires, US Mission to ASEAN; and was chaired by Associate Professor Ang Cheng Guan, Head of Graduate Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.