Asia Programme Manager
Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs)
Describe the impact on foreign policy you have made in your current/past jobs.
As part of the research and policy-oriented work that is conducted by the Asia Programme at Chatham House I engage with policymakers, academics, and the media to develop a better understanding and response to key challenges in the region with a focus on identity, governance, and conflict in South Asia and South East Asia.
What is your vision of foreign policy in the 21st Century?
My vision of foreign policy for the 21st Century is one in which a fair, free, and secure world for all is achieved through an enduring commitment to the pursuit of these ideals for both present and future generations.
What is the greatest foreign policy issue facing our generation?
The current geopolitical power diffusion has left our generation uncertain about our role and identity within our own countries, and as a result, so has our perception of other nations. As the fight against terrorism continues and countries become increasingly economically inter-dependent, future generations will have to navigate and negotiate their personal and national identities in the global arena.
What challenges need to be overcome to create better foreign policy?
Despite the growing global interconnectedness, there remains an inherent fear and mistrust between certain countries, which has been exacerbated by the first major global conflicts of the 21st Century in Afghanistan and Iraq within the rubric of terrorism. The challenge will be to address the contradiction between the need to exclude the purveyors of terror and allow in the goods and services that drive the global economy. The global economic crisis and natural disasters have also demonstrated that a country’s foreign policy will have to address the demands of both traditional and non-traditional security issues.
What personal, managerial, and leadership skills and traits must the next generation of foreign policy leaders possess?
The next generation of leaders will need to demonstrate the ability and willingness to understand and engage a country’s allies and their rivals with equal skill. They will need to appreciate the complexity of conflict resolution, and be astute negotiators and cultural chameleons to be able to react with speed, as they will be required to move fluidly across boundaries and sectors. As traditional foreign policy issues and non-traditional security continue to overlap future leaders will increasingly have to apply an interdisciplinary approach to engage with problems in the international arena.
How can foreign affairs be made more accessible to Americans, particularly younger generations?
The coverage and analysis of international affairs in the American press and through online interactive media will play a key role in making foreign affairs more accessible. Unless younger generations are convinced that certain global issues, like the global economy and resource governance, do make an impact, accessibility alone will be pointless if it is not made relevant to their day-to-day lives.