Following its tradition of regional trust building, the East West Institute (EWI) aims to expand its programmatic engagement in the South Asia region. Given the incongruous nature of the region and its diplomatic and strategic significance, there remains untapped potential for collective and comprehensive efforts towards generating sustainable solutions to South Asia’s long-standing divergences.
On June 20, EWI’s CEO and President, Ambassador Cameron Munter, shared the institute’s vision at an event in Houston where he was jointly hosted by Riaz Siddiqi, chairman of the American Pakistan Foundation, and Business Executives for National Security to deliver remarks on “South Asia in U.S. Foreign Policy.”
“Despite being one of the most dynamic regions in the world, South Asia has been riddled with conflicts, disputes and deeply rooted mistrust. EWI’s South Asia initiative will principally focus on bringing attention to the opportunities and challenges that define the region and engage key stakeholders in a series of specially designed dialogues that will yield critical insights for innovative policy solutions and reshape the region’s traditional narrative,” said Ambassador Munter while discussing the initiative.
Through its South Asia initiative, EWI is developing a platform for shared economic, financial and geopolitical interests by bringing together influencers, thought leaders and business experts from within the U.S. and across South Asia. The initiative will support substantive and candid discussions around regional security challenges and structural impediments that hamper the region’s growth and welfare. Additionally, it will devote efforts towards identifying new channels of cultural diplomacy as tools for conflict resolution and encouraging recognition for continued alliances between regional players and external partners.
On June 19, Ambassador Munter also discussed the significance of the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relations in his meeting with the Hon. Consul General of Pakistan-Houston, Miss Aisha Farooqui, at a dinner gathering hosted at her residence. At this gathering, he emphasized the need for exercising diligent peace building and cooperation efforts to adduce greater commonality of interests and people-to-people ties between the two nations.
“Changing geopolitical circumstances make it crucial for South Asian nations to move beyond old paradigms and liaise with each other in meaningful ways,” commented Consul General Farooqui, “In this regard, we welcome EWI’s South Asia initiative which aims to reestablish broken channels of communication, understanding motivations and unanimously benefiting from the region’s widening economic activity.”
Consul General Farooqui presents Ambassador Munter with an "ajrak"—a traditional block printed shawl local to the Pakistani province of Sindh.
Ambassador Munter addressing participants at the luncheon discussion on June 20.