This luncheon gave some of Washington's senior Asia-watchers an opportunity to talk with former congressman Doug Bereuter, who assumed the presidency of the Asia Foundation on September 1, 2004.

Bereuter talked about the Foundation's activities, challenges and plans for the future, emphasizing the importance of public diplomacy and democratization in Afghanistan. The Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

He highlighted America's Role in Asia, an ongoing project drawing on the expertise of both Asian and American policymakers, scholars and private sector leaders. The project has produced two reports—"Asian Views" and "American Views" —which show how opinions converge and diverge on either side of the Pacific. For example, the United States focuses on counter-terrorism, while many Asians also want to emphasize economic concerns. He pointed out that the Asian experts involved in the project particularly underlined the importance of improving women's participation in society.