MacArthur Foundation To Send Millions to Asia Security

One of the biggest foundations in the Unites States is contributing millions of dollars to promote peace efforts in Asia with some of that money going to build greater cooperation and ease tensions with North Korea.

The Chicago based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced this morning that it will give $68 million to three Asian institutions for “strengthening regional cooperation, preventing conflict in Northeast Asia, and building international cooperation to respond to internal challenges,” according to a statement by the foundation.

Some of that money has already been distributed, according to Jennifer Hunky a foundation’s spokesperson. The institutions that are receiving the grant money are China's Peking University Center for International and Strategic Studies, Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and Korea's East Asia Institute. The latest of these institutions will focus on decreasing tensions over North Korea and other Asian countries.

North Korea’s latest nuclear testing earlier this week has awakened global fears of a possible military conflict between the communist country and its neighbor, South Korea. The US State Department has been pushing China and Russia to influence Pyongyang into resuming to six-party talks, which would lead to North Korea’s full nuclear disarment.

"The growing economic and political power of Asia is transforming the globe," said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. "Over the coming decades, the Asia-Pacific will be the world's economic engine, helping millions in the region to find new prosperity. Yet, in this time of great opportunity, security challenges - from power conflicts to resource scarcity - threaten to undo the region's many gains. As China, India, and other Asian nations become regional and global powers, Asia-Pacific nations must think anew about how our societies can work together to foster peace and prevent conflict.”

All of the grant money will be distributed over a period of seven years, according to Hunky. The grant is part of the organization’s Asian Security Initiative and will help fund new research positions, fellowships, and communication efforts amongst organizations in the region. The MacArthur Foundation has been making grants of this kind for the past 25 years to promote security and peace around the globe.

The foundation has launched a new website to showcase the network’s policy research: http://asiasecurity.macfound.org

Dolores M. Bernal is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist. You can contact her at acejournalist@gmail.com.

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