Why Meridian 180

The current state of the Asia-Pacific dialogue, especially among leaders at the international level but also among experts and professionals, is impoverished compared to the magnitude of the challenges that those in the region confront. Almost daily, we observe situations arising in which experts in different fields, or representatives of different linguistic, cultural or national groups, misunderstand one another because they operate on the basis of unrecognized biases and blind spots--and thus, miss opportunities for creative alternatives to given political stalemates. Misunderstanding and miscommunication escalate potential for discord and conflict, and for serious errors in policy-making.

We recognize that the world is on the verge of a “global reset” in politics, economic and financial relations, social justice, and environmental conditions, in which given paradigms, political alliances, and modes of expert discourse no longer hold. Accordingly, our mission is one of preparedness. Rather than take a retrospective view, we seek to anticipate and prepare intellectually and politically for future environmental disasters, political/military conflicts, and serious problems of social justice in the region by assembling a unique group of creative thinkers and building relationships among them that can be mobilized at times of need.

Meridian 180’s response to the challenge of transforming the dialogue of East Asia and the Pacific Rim begins with our faith in the transformative power of frank, thoughtful, counter-disciplinary intellectual exchange. We offer a unique and innovative venue for shared learning and experimentation, for the incubation of new ideas, and for the broadening of networks across national borders, disciplinary boundaries, and academic, private, and regulatory cultures. This is supported by our cross-linguistic conversation enabled by translators with high levels of expertise in the subjects at issue.