CIVIL SOCIETY TAKING CENTER STAGE
This week at the Clinton Global Initiative, U.S. President Obama underscored his support of civil society organizations worldwide, even in restrictive environments, announcing a groundbreaking initiative to establish Civil Society Innovation Centers. Earlier this month, 150 representatives from across Asia convened in Jakarta (right) for an "Asia Regional Civil Society Experience Summit," co-hosted by The Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USAID, UNDP, Kemitraan, and The Asia Foundation. The Summit was held in part as a response to the Stand with Civil Society initiative launched at the 2013 UN General Assembly and further motivated by increased pressures facing civil society in Asia. Attending the Summit were Barbara Smith and Kim McQuay who blog on it this week. From Jakarta, Andrew Thornley writes on Indonesia's dynamic civil society and a contentious bill that would eliminate over 500 direct local elections. Read more.