New Initiative for Indo-Pacific Cooperation Gathers Democracy Leaders in Japan

Distinguished representatives from across the Indo-Pacific gather for the Sunnylands Initiative. (Photo courtesy of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

On August 1-3, 2022, prominent practitioners, scholars, political leaders, and former government officials from across the Indo-Pacific will meet in Odwara, Japan, for the second summit of the Sunnylands Initiative on Enhancing Democratic Partnership in the Indo-Pacific (“Sunnylands Initiative”) to develop concrete strategies that defend and strengthen democratic governance and human rights at a critical moment for democracy in the region. (Read more about the second summit of the  Sunnylands Initiative here.

“Asia currently lacks regional infrastructure to support civil liberties, freedom, and rules-based order,” says Lynn Lee, deputy director for Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). “The Sunnylands Initiative provides a new platform for democratic leaders to debate, design, and advance a shared vision that ensures regional governments are transparent, accountable, and inclusive of all citizens, while respecting the rule of law and protecting human rights and dignity.”

The Sunnylands Initiative was established in 2020 by NED and CSIS. (Photo courtesy of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.)

The Sunnylands Initiative was established in January 2020 by NED and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) at a retreat hosted by the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, that convened distinguished representatives from Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Redefining regional cooperation, this partnership of democracy organizations, think tanks, and public intellectuals remains committed to invigorating national and regional dialogue around consequential democratic challenges in the Indo-Pacific and bolstering efforts for regional cooperation to address them.

“Despite growing challenges, the Indo-Pacific region has made incredible strides with successive waves of democratization, thanks to the resilience and determination of ordinary people who continue to aspire and struggle for fundamental freedom and human rights,” says NED President and CEO Damon WIlson. “The Sunnylands Initiative celebrates this impressive progress and will work to strengthen a regional commitment to democratic governance that delivers. This initiative aims not only to encourage democratic governments increasingly to work together in the region, but as importantly to foster an Indo-Pacific democratic infrastructure of support for democracy activists, civil society, and independent media in the region.”

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