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ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa Awarded AIT Honorary Doctorate for Pioneering Contributions in Asia and the Pacific

11 Jun 2024
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The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has awarded Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the economic, social, and technological advancement of Asia and the Pacific.

AIT President Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto presented the honorary degree on June 11 at a special conferment ceremony, lauding Mr. Asakawa’s exemplary achievements and steadfast commitment to the region’s development.  He is the 3rd ADB president to receive an AIT Honorary Doctorate, following former Presidents Masao Fujioka and Tadao Chino in 1988 and 2000, respectively. 

ADB President Mr. Masatsugu Asakawa receiving honorary degree from AIT President Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto and Prof. Manukid Parnichkun

“AIT is proud to confer its highest honor on President Asakawa, whose outstanding leadership of the ADB has positively impacted untold numbers of people across Asia and the Pacific,” President Yamamoto said.

Under the leadership of Mr. Asakawa, ADB made significant contributions to Asia and the Pacific’s COVID-19 response with a US$ 20 billion support package and a US$ 9 billion vaccine access facility. He has positioned ADB as the region’s climate bank and led capital management reforms to unlock US $100 billion in new lending capacity. 

(From Left to Right) Prof. Nitin K. Tripathi, Dr Anat Arbhabhirama, Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto, Mr. Masatsugu Asakawa, and Prof. Manukid Parnichkun

This year, President Asakawa successfully led a US$ 5 billion replenishment of the Asian Development Fund, which is ADB’s largest source of grants for operations in its poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries.

Mr. Asakawa has introduced several innovative finance initiatives aimed at promoting low-carbon development, including the Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific (IF-CAP) and the Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM), and he has been instrumental in operationalizing the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF). Also, he has spearheaded programs focusing on biodiversity and gender-specific issues, such as launching the Nature Solutions Finance Hub at COP 28 in Dubai and strengthening women’s resilience to heat stress. These initiatives address underserved areas and recognize the vulnerability of women to climate change-induced heat waves.

“I am deeply honored to receive this Honorary Doctorate degree from AIT,” Mr. Asakawa said. “Throughout my tenure as President, ADB has tackled significant challenges and launched key initiatives to improve lives and livelihoods across Asia and the Pacific. This recognition by AIT reaffirms our shared commitment to pioneering solutions that address the region’s most urgent challenges.”

ADB has provided instrumental support to the Thailand-based international postgraduate institute through scholarships, research projects, and training programs. Since 1989, the ADB-Japan Scholarship Program (ADB-JSP) has enrolled 401 postgraduate students at AIT to contribute to the economic and social development of their home countries in the Asia and Pacific region.

To date, ADB has funded 62 research and capacity-building initiatives carried out by AIT and its partners. ADB aided the founding of the Greater Mekong Subregion Academic and Research Network (GMSARN), a regional consortium located at AIT focused on sustainable infrastructure, knowledge exchange, capacity-building programs, research, and innovation.

“ADB and AIT both share the common word ‘Asia.’ Our institute is aligned with the ADB in the belief that prosperity, resilience, and sustainability are within grasp in Asia and the Pacific, and we remain thankful for its continued support to AIT for institutional and human resource development in the region,” President Yamamoto added.

Mr. Masatsugu Asakawa with ADB-JSP scholars