Asia Centre is a nonprofit organization based in Thailand and Malaysia that seeks to create social impact in the region. It serves as a think tank, meeting space, project partner, and social enterprise. Asia Centre strives toward social innovation by developing new strategies, concepts, ideas, and means of organizing and collaborating on activities to deliver solutions that have a sustainable impact. The Centre works with a range of project partners to support its initiatives, including educational institutions, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations, governmental institutions, intergovernmental organizations, and businesses. The organization uses a mixed funding approach whereby various revenue streams support specific activities. For its overheads and core operations, Asia Centre generates income via its social enterprise activities related to space rental, event management, commissioned research, and project consultancies. For activities and projects, it receives support through public donations, grants, and sponsorship. It also welcomes volunteers for its initiatives.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asia Centre took steps to strengthen its online capabilities. To shift its operations to online activities, it invested in video conferencing equipment, established an in-house studio, signed up for relevant digital services, improved its presence on social media platforms, and undertook digital training of staff members. Asia Centre converted postponed in-person activities to online events and leveraged its strengthened social media presence to communicate with audiences globally. The organization recorded, edited, and posted activities on YouTube and posted content regularly on social media. The Centre also undertook more evidence-based research, began working on new reports, organized online webinars, and conducted interviews. Topics of its initiatives included the rise of pandemic-related misinformation, the impact of COVID-19 on diplomatic relations, and countering authoritarianism during the pandemic.
Theory of Change
Supporting research, analysis and public discussion on human rights issues, shaping discourse within and across borders, enables social change.
Asia Centre conducts a series of in-person and digital initiatives throughout the year. It undertakes evidence-based research to produce knowledge toolkits such as books and reports, organizes events for the capacity building of stakeholders, and undertakes advocacy through social media and media engagement. Asia Centre delivers its work through its two offices in Bangkok, Thailand and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. In Bangkok, Asia Centre’s work focuses on thematic issues related to civil society, democracy, elections, and human rights, while in Johor Bahru, the Centre’s work focuses on thematic issues related to arts, culture, higher education, media and technology. Certain topics, such as cross-cutting regional themes, are jointly coordinated by both the Bangkok and Johor Bahru offices. Asia Centre’s annual conferences are also jointly coordinated by both offices. As part of its social enterprise initiatives, Asia Centre provides editorial, research, and training services to clients, who include international and non-governmental organizations, education providers, public sector agencies, and civil society organizations. It also provides event management services, sells merchandise, and sells publications and Asia Centre merchandise.
Asia Centre seeks to create positive social change in the region through its initiatives. It does this through building human capital and undertaking timely efforts to influence policy directions on significant issues for the benefit of communities. Asia Centre is well networked with educational institutions, international organizations, nonprofit organizations and other institutions in the private, professional and public sector, in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. It is therefore able to co-convene activities to extend the reach and scope of the Centre’s and its partners’ programs and events. Asia Centre and its staff are often cited in the media and invited to participate in events that convene policy experts. In 2020 alone, the organization met with three embassies to discuss hate speech and areas of future collaboration, signed five Memorandums of Understanding with external partners, and contributed interviews and Op-Eds to local and international media outlets.