The National Association for Black Engagement with Asia, or NABEA (pronounced Nuh-bee-ah), connects Black Asia specialists in both the public and private sectors and seeks to increase the representation of Black Americans engaging with Asia. Through our programming, we work towards building a mutually beneficial economic, political, social and cultural relationship between Black America and the Indo-Pacific.
NABEA was founded in February 2019 by a group of early-career Black Americans who have made engagement with Asia central to their lives. They all believed that engagement with Asia provides a unique experience to empower the Black community on a global stage. They also recognized that the Black experience in Asia contains unique challenges and that Black voices are usually left out of U.S. discourse on Asia. Black Asia specialists often feel isolated and disconnected from fellow Black Asia specialists. Furthermore, Black Americans are underrepresented among Americans that go to Asia, as well as participants in conferences, internships, and other activities integral to careers related to Asia. NABEA is setting out to change these dynamics by integrating existing Black Asia specialists from business, academia, media, and policy into a mutually supportive community that uplifts Black voices and is capable of engaging with a growing, influential, economically significant, and changing the Indo-Pacific.
One of the primary reasons for the lack of Black representation in the U.S.-Asia space is a flawed pipeline. These pipeline deficits include: minimal institutional support for Black Americans, lack of awareness and access to meaningful roles in Asia-related fields, and a lack of visibility of Black American, Asia experts. These pipeline flaws present a challenge to ensuring Black voices are a part of U.S.-Asia discourse. NABEA addresses these deficits with the OOR Cycle: Outreach, Opportunity, and Representation
Reaching into Black spaces to encourage Black Americans to engage with Asia
Encouraging institutions to create spaces for Black voices
Ensuring that institutions highlight Black Asia experts