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Masatsugu Asakawa of ADB Receives Honorary Doctorate from Asian Institute of Technology

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In a ceremony filled with gravitas and admiration, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree upon Masatsugu Asakawa, the illustrious President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This accolade recognizes his extraordinary contributions to bolstering the economic, social, and technological tapestry of Asia and the Pacific. AIT President Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto commended Mr. Asakawa’s unparalleled achievements and unwavering dedication to the region during the special conferment event on June 11. Notably, Mr. Asakawa joins the ranks of former ADB Presidents Masao Fujioka and Tadao Chino, who were similarly honored in 1988 and 2000, respectively.

President Yamamoto couldn’t hold back his pride, stating, “AIT is honored to confer its highest recognition on President Asakawa, whose stellar leadership of the ADB has positively transformed countless lives across Asia and the Pacific.”

Indeed, under Mr. Asakawa’s stewardship, ADB has made remarkable strides. Amid the pandemic, the bank orchestrated a massive US$ 20 billion support package and a US$ 9 billion facility to enhance vaccine access across the region. As the region’s self-proclaimed climate bank, ADB has embarked on monumental reforms, notably increasing its lending capacity by an astonishing US$ 100 billion.

This year’s milestones didn’t stop there. President Asakawa masterminded the replenishment of the Asian Development Fund to the tune of US$ 5 billion. This fund is crucial as it underwrites grants for the region’s most vulnerable countries. Further solidifying his progressive credentials, Mr. Asakawa introduced groundbreaking finance initiatives like the Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific (IF-CAP) and the Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM). Additionally, he played an instrumental role in operationalizing the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF). His vision extends to specialized programs in biodiversity and confronting gender-specific challenges, exemplified by the launch of the Nature Solutions Finance Hub at COP 28 in Dubai and efforts to address heat stress impacts on women.

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Asakawa remarked, “I am deeply honored to receive this Honorary Doctorate degree from AIT. Throughout my tenure, ADB has faced numerous challenges but has also initiated pivotal projects to uplift lives and livelihoods across Asia and the Pacific. AIT’s recognition reinforces our mutual pledge to innovate solutions addressing the region’s pressing issues.”

ADB’s support for AIT, located in Thailand, has been instrumental in nurturing talent and facilitating groundbreaking research. A notable initiative is the ADB-Japan Scholarship Program (ADB-JSP), which since 1989 has enabled 401 postgraduate students to enhance their countries’ economic and social development.

Furthermore, ADB has championed 62 research and capacity-building projects at AIT and its affiliated partners. ADB’s contributions were pivotal in founding the Greater Mekong Subregion Academic and Research Network (GMSARN) at AIT, a consortium focused on sustainable infrastructure, knowledge exchange, and innovation.

President Yamamoto eloquently concluded, “Both ADB and AIT encompass the spirit of Asia in their names. Our institute is in harmony with ADB’s vision that prosperity, resilience, and sustainability are attainable in Asia and the Pacific. We remain profoundly grateful for ADB’s unwavering support, which has been vital for our institutional and human resource development in the region.”


  1. Greg June 12, 2024

    Wow, Masatsugu Asakawa seems to have done a lot. But is it really worth an honorary doctorate? Feels like these awards are given out way too liberally these days.

    • Linda T. June 12, 2024

      Well, considering the achievements listed, especially during the pandemic, I think it’s well-deserved. His initiatives have had a significant impact on many lives.

      • ThinkBig12 June 12, 2024

        Agreed. It’s not every day you see someone orchestrate a $20 billion support package and increase lending capacity by $100 billion. Those are substantial feats.

      • Greg June 12, 2024

        Sure, but let’s not forget that managing billions in funds is what he’s paid to do. Shouldn’t the focus be on direct, grassroots achievements rather than just big numbers?

    • Joe June 12, 2024

      I can’t believe people still think honorary doctorates hold any real value. It’s like getting an award just for showing up.

      • Kumar June 12, 2024

        Come on, Joe. It’s a symbolic recognition of his contributions. It’s not like they’re expecting him to teach courses or conduct research.

  2. Emily June 12, 2024

    I’m more impressed by ADB’s financial support for sustainable development and gender equality. These are crucial issues that need attention and funding.

    • EcoWarrior June 12, 2024

      Absolutely! The Energy Transition Mechanism and the Nature Solutions Finance Hub are steps in the right direction. Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time.

      • Mike K. June 12, 2024

        While those initiatives are great, the question is whether they are sufficiently impactful or just another PR gimmick to look good on paper.

      • Emily June 12, 2024

        That’s a valid concern, Mike. However, it seems like ADB under Asakawa is genuinely committed to these causes. Time will tell if the impact is as substantial as intended.

  3. grower134 June 12, 2024

    This just shows how interlinked education and financial institutions are. ADB’s support for AIT has enabled better talent and research, which is crucial for economic growth.

    • Patricia W. June 12, 2024

      Education and financial support go hand in hand. It’s not only about building infrastructure but also nurturing human capital. Good on ADB for recognizing that.

  4. Leo June 12, 2024

    It’s fascinating how aid structures can transform regions. From education to infrastructure, the impact is profound and multi-faceted.

    • Elena June 12, 2024

      Absolutely! The ADB-Japan Scholarship Program alone has been monumental. Imagine enabling over 400 students to contribute to their countries’ development. That’s invaluable.

  5. historybuff88 June 12, 2024

    You know what’s interesting? Former ADB presidents also received honorary doctorates. Is it just a tradition or does it reflect their actual impact?

    • Samir June 12, 2024

      Probably a bit of both, but given the scale of ADB’s interventions in Asia, acknowledging their leaders makes sense. They steer massive projects that influence millions.

  6. AnnaLynn June 12, 2024

    Honoring leaders like Asakawa symbolizes the partnership between institutions. It’s a reminder that collective efforts can achieve significant milestones.

    • Deepak June 12, 2024

      Right, but let’s not overlook the bureaucracy involved. Sometimes these partnerships are more about maintaining status quo than driving real change.

  7. Liv June 12, 2024

    AIT President Yamamoto’s pride in Asakawa’s accolades speaks volumes about their mutual goals. It’s aligned efforts like these that push regions forward.

  8. Chuck D. June 12, 2024

    This ceremony showcases the importance of recognizing global leaders. It’s essential for motivating future generations of policymakers.

  9. Nina June 12, 2024

    I attended AIT and can attest that ADB’s support has been crucial. Their initiatives have significantly enriched our educational environment.

    • Ada June 12, 2024

      That’s great to hear from someone with firsthand experience. Personal testimonies are powerful in understanding the real impact of such collaborations.

  10. Tom June 12, 2024

    I wonder if these honorary degrees are inspired by the need to influence policy and ensure continued support from leaders like Asakawa.

    • Cathy L. June 12, 2024

      Maybe, but it’s also about celebrating genuine accomplishments. Besides, AIT standing alongside ADB is mutually beneficial. It’s smart diplomacy.

  11. TechSavvy June 12, 2024

    Increasing lending capacity by $100 billion is no small feat! Turning ADB into Asia’s climate bank indicates visionary leadership.

    • Greg June 12, 2024

      But is it really visionary or just adaptation? Climate change is no longer optional. It’s basic survival at this point.

  12. Sarah M. June 12, 2024

    Credit should be given where it is due. The multi-faceted impact of Asakawa’s leadership and ADB’s assistance to AIT can’t be undermined.

    • Leo June 12, 2024

      Absolutely. Their work in education, sustainable finance, and climate change shows a broad vision. They’re tackling various important issues concurrently.

  13. Felix June 12, 2024

    These recognitions often feel like redundant protocols. I’d rather see them double down on grassroots initiatives than invest in ceremonies.

    • Rita Tran June 12, 2024

      But such ceremonies also bring visibility and foster morale. It’s a fine balance between action and recognition.

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