China and North Korea are nominally allies, but relations between the two neighbors – always difficult -- have deteriorated as North Korea has accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile development under Kim Jong Un. Over the past year, Kim has deliberately timed his nuclear and ballistic missile tests to coincide with high-profile Chinese events such as the BRICS summit in Xiamen, the Belt and Road forum in Beijing, and the Xi-Trump Mar-a-Lago summit. Yet, North Korea is economically dependent on China, which currently accounts for over 90% of its total trade volume and most food and energy imports. Although Beijing has tightened sanctions on North Korea, China remains an economic lifeline and has resisted regime-threatening pressure.
Does the solution to the North Korea threat run through Beijing? Who really holds the upper hand in the Sino-DPRK relationship? Could a recently empowered Xi Jinping bring Kim Jong Un to heel if he wanted to? Or do socialist ties and North Korea’s value as a buffer state outweigh the risks of a defiant nuclear next-door neighbor? Bitter Allies will outline the historical context of North Korea-China relations, and unpack key aspects of this critical, but often misunderstood relationship. Panelists will explore the economic, political and military relations between these “frenemies” and the implications for U.S. policy in the aftermath of the Trump-Xi Summit in Beijing.
Access to free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6-14 in India is mandated per the 86th Amendment to India’s Constitution. However, even with the right schemes and programs in place, gender disparity remains a significant barrier to education—around 2.5 million girls have never been to school. Educate Girls, a non-profit organization founded by Safeena Husain, a member of Asia Socie-ty’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Network, is tackling this challenge by mobilizing communi-ties and leveraging public resources to enroll and retain out-of-school girls and ensure access to a quality education for children in underserved communities.
Since its creation in 2007, Educate Girls has helped more than 4.2 million children in over 21,000 schools, has brought back and retained over 200,000 girls, and launched the world’s first “Development Impact Bond” in education. In addition, Educate Girls works to change cultural barriers and patriarchal mindsets so that girls can make better informed life choices, gain employment, and lift their families out of poverty while simultaneously creating a generation of educated female leaders, trained teachers, and an ecosystem of parents and village leaders who will continue to influence the community for generations to come.
Join us for a special discussion with Safeena Husain to hear about her ambitious plans as Educate Girls attempts to bridge the education gap for adolescent girls and directly impact over 16 million children over the next 5 years in some of the most rural, remote and marginalized geographies of India.
Meditation is growing to be a more popular and embraced practice among individuals from
different backgrounds. Extensive scientific research on the practice have led to conclusions of many positive health-related benefits. Studies show that meditation is beneficial in combatting stress, high blood pressure, heart disease and used as a means to enhance mental capabilities such as abstract thinking, memory and creativity. With this on-going positive light, today the art and practice of mindfulness has not only seen a tremendous increase in its following, but also embodies a subculture in itself, becoming a billion-dollar industry and being seen as a tool for efficiency and success in the workplace.
Join us for an insightful discussion between Dr. Thupten Jinpa and Dan Harris on the importance of meditation and its effects on modern life and overall mindfulness. Why are more people
starting to practice meditation? How exactly is it beneficial to one’s overall well-being?
Iranians recently took to the streets to protest economic conditions in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s city of birth. The rare protests would eventually spread to several cities across Iran, and grievances would also be directed at the political establishment, as well as the country’s involvement in Syria and elsewhere in the region. Yet, unlike the mass protests following the 2009 elections, the urban middle class in Tehran by and large stayed home, and the country’s political system appears to be safely intact for the time being. What was different this time? How deeply felt are the concerns? What is the appropriate response from the U.S.? President Trump’s initial reaction was criticized—to some Iranians, U.S. advocacy is seen as a “kiss of death” that may discredit their cause. However, President Obama was also criticized for his tepid response to the 2009 protests. Should the U.S. comment at all? Lastly, what will the impact of the protests be on Iran’s foreign policy and the region?
Join us for a discussion with Trita Parsi on Iran at this crucial juncture.
Are human beings hard-wired to be perpetually dissatisfied? It’s a provocative question – and one that was put recently to the author Robert Wright, who teaches about the place where religion meets evolutionary biology and religion. Wright’s answer? In a word, Yes. He says that because evolution rewards the pursuit of pleasure, human beings are almost hard-wired to be unsatisfied: "We are condemned,” he says, “to always want things to be a little different, always want a little more." Wright’s latest best-selling book, Why Buddhism is True, suggests that Buddhist practices can, in effect, rewire the brain, to overcome a host of anxieties and emotional pain that afflict so many people. "I think of mindfulness meditation as almost a rebellion against natural selection," says Wright. "And Buddhism says, 'We don't have to play this game.'"
It’s a fascinating book, a fascinating argument, and a fascinating nexus of neuroscience and ancient religious practice.
As part of the Asia Society “Buddhism and Beyond” season, join us for a special event with Robert Wright, in conversation with Juju Chang, ABC News Anchor.
Robert Wright is the New York Times best-selling author of Why Buddhism Is True, The Evolution of God, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Nonzero; The Moral Animal; and Three Scientists and Their Gods, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Princeton, where he also created the popular online course “Buddhism and Modern Psychology.” In 2009, Foreign Policy named him one of its Top 100 Global Thinker. He has written for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Time, Slate, and The New Republic.
Juju Chang is an Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News “Nightline”. She has covered several high-profile stories, from interviewing transgender soldier Chelsea Manning to the Orlando nightclub and the Boston Marathon Bombing. She has also profiled newsmakers including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Oprah Winfrey. She joined ABC news in 1987 as a desk assistant and has since risen as a correspondent and anchor for the network. Chang graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science and communication. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a founding board member of the Korean American Community Foundation