KIAsia strives to be a US-Thai institute of excellence that brings together the resources and skills of the private sector, governments, and universities to promote sustainable partnerships in Asia for economic development. KIAsia provides knowledge, expertise, experience, information, and understanding in all its activities. It does this not through top-down or donor-recipient relationships, but through partnerships that are valuable to all involved.
KIAsia is a “knowledge partner” – working with both Asian and American organizations to help them transfer knowledge and understanding in a way that promotes development. Whether it is linking universities, organizing conferences, providing business skills, building environmental partnerships, or training the unemployed, KIAsia acts as a bridge for knowledge transfer. The Institute works in four strategic areas:
Better Business Practices – The economic crisis that struck East Asia in 1997 revealed the dangers of non-transparent business, weak accounting and auditing and poor corporate governance, so the Institute works with key partners to transfer and implement higher business standards. Joint efforts aim at enhancing the capabilities of entrepreneurs to manage small and medium enterprises to compete in local and world markets by developing quality business and technical skills. KIAsia promotes policies and practices that conform to good governance and transparency.
Environmental Management – Strong business growth cannot be sustained without attention to the environment. The Institute works closely with the private sector and the regulatory agencies to improve regulation without unduly increasing costs, so that protection of the environment will have a bottom-line benefit. It supports US-Asian environmental partnerships, promoting and developing appropriate policies, technology transfers, environmental infrastructure, technical and managerial skills, awareness initiatives, and sustainable environmental management systems
Human Resource Development – The development of people is the key to all long-term progress. KIAsia has a twofold strategy – to make education and training a key part of its activities in all areas, but also to help develop better ways to providing training to take advantage of new technologies.
KIAsia was established in 1996 with an endowment provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Royal Thai Government, the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust. A key objective was to create a private non-profit foundation that would continue the mutually beneficial relationship between Thailand and the United States on development issues after the end of the bi-lateral USAID program in Thailand. KIAsia therefore continues a legacy of more than 50 years and $1.1 billion in development assistance to Thailand. The establishment of the Institute, however, also recognizes the great progress Thailand has made and the benefits that cooperation with Thailand can provide to US organizations that work in Thailand. The Institute therefore is the basis of an equal partnership in development between the two countries with a mandate to extend that type of partnership to other countries in the region.