The concept of Building a Better Asia – BaBA for short- probably had its origins in the mid-1980s when the founders established the Information & Resource Center (IRC) as a regional think tank that focused on developing a deep understanding of Southeast Asian countries. By the mid- and late 1990s, IRC had broadened its interests to East and South Asia. In early 2000s, we established the Asian Dialogue Society as a network of people –an informal fellowship – who shared similar interests in an Asian Renaissance. In 2006 – in an effort to concretize our interests further – we initiated the BaBA Young Asian Leaders Retreat – a major capacity building initiative – and building upon our previous training activities – that would bring young Asians from all over Asia together to promote networking, understanding, and ideas for a Better Asia. Underlying much of our work in this period is the framework of human security.
BaBA – Building a Better Asia – is a movement to build a better Asia and a better world.
The BaBA ‘fellows’ are a group of people who are committed to building an Asia that can promise a greater future for the world. A better Asia, we believe, should be an Asia that is greater than itself and better than its past. In fostering a shared destiny for the civilizations of the East and the West, a better Asia promotes the shared integration amongst peoples of diverse cultures and distinct identities.
The challenge to humanity is to adopt new ways of thinking, new ways of acting, and new ways of organizing itself in society and in the international community. In short, we must adopt new ways of living. The challenge is also to promote paths of development that take into consideration the cultural factors that shape the way in which societies conceive their own future and choose the means to attain these goals.
BaBA is guided by three fundamental principles that are inseparable: universality, diversity and dignity. These are closely related to the values of justice, cultural integrity, solidarity, tolerance, sharing and equity, respect for human rights and democratic principles
In order to achieve these goals BaBA will focus on several issues: culture, environment, education, poverty, disaster management and health. It will network with the young across nation states and with governments and civil society entities.
Building a Better Asia is a work in progress.
To build a Better Asia, that can promise a greater future for the world, an Asia that is greater than itself and better than its past. In fostering a shared destiny for the civilizations of the East and the West, a greater and better Asia promotes the shared integration amongst peoples of diverse cultures and distinct identities.
“Building a Better Asia”will be an independent dialogue and programmes partner for civil society especially women and youth, policy makers and political parties to interact and deliberate on social, economic, ecological and security issues that will shape the world of tomorrow.