Meridian 180 is a new multilingual community of exceptional thinkers from China, Japan, the United States, and around the world, who work together to devises new solutions for the next generation of transpacific relations. In a time defined by shifts in the global balance of economic power and growing rifts and political realignments within Asia and across the Pacific, Meridian 180 provides a space for shared learning and experimentation, for risk-taking and the incubation of new ideas to confront the challenges and tensions that threaten the Pacific Rim region, and for the broadening of networks across national borders, disciplinary boundaries, and academic, private, and regulatory cultures.
Meridian 180's online platform allows members to converse remotely in English, Chinese, or Japanese, with translation provided by our new Clarke Program postdoctoral fellows. These conversations are often continued in person—in small groups focused on particular topics and also in larger conferences with broader focuses—where members strengthen relationships, find new partners in collaboration, and share perspectives on problems that are deeply transnational in scope: issues of trade, financial regulation, environmental security, social welfare, differences in legal cultures, activist movements, and the nature and function of government, to name a few. Insights sparked in these conversations are then disseminated, with help from Meridian 180's postdoctoral fellows, in academic publications, newspaper articles, and policy papers throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Meridian 180 distinguishes itself from other online venues of its kind by fostering fresh conversation that is serious, substantive, technical, theoretical, challenging, and interdisciplinary. While access to these dialogues is presently reserved to members in order to ensure that the community's dialogues are as frank, as open, and as honest as possible, summaries of some of these conversations are available on the public section of the website.
We launched Meridian 180 in March 2011 and in less than a year it has already hosted nine multilingual forums, its membership has more than doubled to reach over 300 members, and the website has received thousands of visits from 80 countries on all six continents.
Meridian 180 is the most significant part of our larger initiative to broaden the Clarke Program’s online presence. We also expanded our social-media presence: our Facebook page now has a Japanese version, and our Twitter page now finds its Chinese counterpart on Weibo.