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Founded in 1979 by Esther G. Kee and the late Joji Konoshima, the US-Asia Institute is a private, United Nations-associated nongovernment organization (NGO). It is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization devoted to improving understanding and strengthening ties between the people and governments of the United States and Asia. Through conferences, off-the-record briefings, people-to-people exchanges, and ongoing interaction at all levels, the Institute has effectively built a bond of trust and mutual respect over the past 38 years and has succeed in keeping channels for dialogue open. The Institute is unique in that its leadership includes many with close, ancestral, professional, and cultural ties to the region. The Institute’s network of political, business, government, and academic leaders here and abroad provides unique insight and access towards this important relationship.

Our Goals


The Institute has established the following objectives:

  • To promote better understanding between the United States and the nations of Asia.
  • To conduct work visits for American legislators, senior Congressional advisors, and others so they can meet their Asian counterparts, and to welcome return delegations.
  • To maintain close ties with the Asian diplomatic missions accredited to the U.S., with members of Congress and their advisors, with other government agencies, and with the private and academic sectors, cooperation and consulting with them on matters of mutual interest.
  • To host small, off-the-record gatherings of American and Asian officials, business and academic leaders, providing invaluable opportunities for frank discussion and a candid exchange of views
  • To offer students a pragmatic approach to understanding policy issues related to U.S.-Asia relations through a hands-on internship program.