Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) is an international association focused on helping researchers and teachers enhance their impact on poverty. It does so by
a) advancing collaboration among poverty-focused academics, with an emphasis on South-North connections;
b) promoting effective outreach to policy makers and broader public audiences, and
c) helping academics pursue applied research and intervention projects as well as campaigns on specific issues.
ASAP’s overarching aims are to contribute to the eradication of severe poverty worldwide and to help ensure that poverty policy and development efforts are guided by rigorous empirical and normative scholarship. ASAP’s principal focus is on poor people in less-affluent countries, because that is where poverty tends to be most concentrated and severe, and where resources for tackling poverty tend to be scarcer. However, ASAP’s ultimate concern is for people, not for countries, and so it includes within its sphere of activity poor people in affluent countries as well.
ASAP recognizes that poverty is a process, not a static given. It seeks to address the root drivers of impoverishment in both the global and domestic spheres and to highlight how some of the same factors can worsen poverty in both affluent and less-affluent countries. Further, ASAP members explore a wide range of factors in their analyses of poverty and promote a variety of solutions. With such diversity in mind, ASAP does not offer a narrow poverty analysis but seeks to promote robust dialogue informed by new research from all regions of the world.
Finally, ASAP’s theory of social change focuses on both institutions and norms. Thus, ASAP seeks to promote sound and progressive poverty policy at the domestic and global levels and also to help change norms around the acceptability of severe poverty. Inspired by how engaged academics helped transform views on civil rights, the US war in Vietnam, apartheid and lately gender inequality and violence, ASAP holds that we can help achieve a decisive shift of views on poverty and poor people worldwide.
Distinctive Organizational Features
The following features make ASAP distinctive among poverty-focused organizations and help highlight the value it adds to anti-poverty efforts globally:
1. ASAP members include hundreds of internationally recognized subject experts and experts-in-training, and its efforts are informed by rigorous, peer-reviewed academic research.
2. ASAP is a truly global association. It has a strong presence among universities and academics in the Global South and North, and a strong focus on creating opportunities for those who face barriers to full participation in the global academic dialogue.
3. ASAP academics work far outside the ivory tower. They are eager to share their expertise in public debates and policy dialogues, and to challenge received wisdom when needed.
Organizational Structure and Governance
ASAP is headquartered in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and is supported by paid staff based there. Its global efforts are guided by an 11-member Board of Directors comprised of academics and practitioners working in six countries, chaired by Prof. Thomas Pogge of Yale University. Additionally, global officers and committee members oversee specific task areas, including Communications, Web Site, Membership and Fundraising. http://academicsstand.org/about/people/board-of-directors/
ASAP has Chapters launched or in development in Austria, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, India, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Oceania, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and West Africa. In total, more than 1,200 ASAP members work and study in universities, research centers and NGOs worldwide. http://academicsstand.org/chapters/
In addition, a 21-member Advisory Board, which includes some of the world’s most widely recognized and influential poverty researchers, gives continuous input to the ASAP Board. http://academicsstand.org/about/people/advisory-board/
In its governance processes, ASAP strives to be inclusive and transparent at all levels: Global Board of Directors and Committees, Chapters and in ASAP-sponsored projects. Broad input on proposals and operating processes is invited from members and non-members, and proposals for ASAP initiatives, including intervention projects and campaigns on specific issues, are actively encouraged.
To learn more about ASAP’s aims and activities, follow this link to the 2014-17 ASAP Strategic Plan: http://academicsstand.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ASAP-Strategic-Plan.pdf