Founded in 1979 by Esther G. Kee and the late Joji Konoshima, the US-Asia Institute is a private, United Nations-associated nongovernmental organization (NGO). It is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit devoted to improving understanding and strengthening ties between the people and governments of the United States and Asia. USAI is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization with no policy agenda. The US-Asia Institute works directly with 14 countries: Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Through conferences, off-the-record briefings, people-to-people exchanges, and ongoing interaction at all levels, USAI has effectively built a bond of trust and mutual respect over the past 40 years and has succeeded in keeping channels for dialogue open.

Its leadership includes many with close ancestral, professional, and cultural ties to the region. Our network of political, business, government, and academic leaders here and abroad provides unique insight and access towards these important relationships.


USAI has established the following objectives:

  1. To promote better understanding between the United States and the nations of East and Southeast Asia.

  2. To organize delegations for American legislators, senior Congressional advisors, and others so they can meet their Asian counterparts, and to welcome visiting delegations.

  3. To maintain close ties with Members of Congress and their advisors, with government agencies, with the Asian diplomatic missions accredited to the US, and with the private and academic sectors by engaging them on matters of mutual interest.

  4. To host off-the-record briefings, discussions, and gatherings with American and Asian officials, business leaders, and academic experts, providing invaluable opportunities for frank discussion and a candid exchange of views.

  5. To offer students and young professionals a pragmatic approach to understanding policy issues related to US-Asia relations through hands-on internships and professional development programs. 


Learn more about our work here.