This write-up is a compilation of organisations and projects aligned / adjacent to the effective altruism movement in East Asia and Southeast Asia and was written around the EAGxPhilippines conference. Some organisations, projects, and contributors also prefer to not be public and hence removed from this write-up. While this is not an exhaustive list of projects and organisations per country in the region, it is a good baseline of the progress of the effective altruism movement for this side of the globe.
Feel free to click the links to the organisations/projects themselves to dive deeper into their works.
Contributors: Saad Siddiqui; Anthony Lau; Anthony Obeyesekere; Masayuki "Moon" Nagai; Yi-Yang Chua; Elmerei Cuevas, Alethea Faye Cedaña, Jaynell Ehren Chang, Brian Tan, Nastassja "Tanya" Quijano; Dion Tan, Jia Yang Li; Saeyoung Kim; Nguyen Tran; Alvin Lau
Forum Post Graphic credits to Jaynell Ehren Chang
EAGxPhotos credits to CS Creatives
Hong Kong 🇭🇰
City Group: EAHK
- Started in 2015 based in University of Hong Kong.
- 5 core organisers, of which 2 receive EAIF funding from 2023 to work part-time (Anthony and Kenneth)
- Organises the Horizon Fellowship Program (In-person EA introductory program). There are 107 fellows since 2020.
- Around 200+ on Slack channel
- Bi-lingual social media account with 350 followers
- Bi - weekly socials with 8 to 20 attendees and around 8 speakers meetup a year.
- Registered as a legal entity (limited company) in July 2023 in order to register as a charity in Hong Kong. Aims of facilitate effective giving.
- High concentration of family office/ corporate funders/ philanthropic organisations. To explore fundraising and effective giving potential.
- Influx of mainland/ international university in coming years due to recent policy change (40% non-local, 60% local). A diverse talent pool.
- Looking into translating EA materials to local language (Chinese) to reach out to more locals.
University Group: EAHKU
- A new team formed in June 2023. Running independently from EAHK.
- Organises bi-weekly dinner to connect and introduce EA to students on campus
- Planned to run multiple Giving Games from Nov 2023 onwards
- Aims to run an introductory program within 2023-2024 academic year
A couple of researchers and professors interested in AI x-risk and alignment.
- AI&Humanity-Lab@University of Hong Kong
- Nate Sharadin (CAIS fellow, normative alignment and evaluations), Frank Hong (CAIS fellow, AI extreme risks), Brian Wong (AI x-risk and China-US)
- 2023 Sep launched MA in AI, Ethics and Society with AI safety, security and governance. Around 90 students in the course.
- Organises public seminars, see events page
- The first annual AI Impacts workshop in March 2024, focused on evaluations
- Hong Kong Global Catastrophic Risk Center at Lingnan University
- See link for Research focus and outputs related to AI safety and governance
- Hong Kong University of Science and Technology University
- Dr. Fu Jie is a visiting scholar working on safe and scalable system-2 LLM.
- Research Centre for Sustainable HK at City University of Hong Kong
- Published a report on the Ethics and Governance of AI in HK
- Dr. Gilad Feldman - Promote ‘Doing more good, doing good better’ through some of his teaching at the Psychology department at the University of Hong Kong.
Cause specific organisations/ projects
- Global health and development - Generocity - a social interest group that advocates increased official development assistance (ODA) from Hong Kong. Lead by Dr. Larry Baum and Anthony Lau
- Animal Welfare, Alternative Proteins & Ecosystem Growth - Good Growth Co helps organisations and funders identify strategies, products and programs to grow effectively in Asia. The research consultancy is led by Ella Wong, Jah Ying Chung and Jack Stennett.
- New community, still finding its feet and figuring out its vision/mission/strategy.
- Kicked off in October 2022. First community event held in November.
- An earlier attempt had been made 2-3 years earlier, but didn’t get traction.
- Notionally a little over 40 community members.
- 9 members attending EAGxPhilippines 2023
- 11 volunteers currently working in various capacities across website, social media, events planning, and new member induction guide. Also another 2 non-EA volunteers who are chipping in to help.
- Many members had previously looked for EA in Indonesia but had no active local group to connect with until now.
- Supported by a CEA Group Support Grant. No paid community builders.
- Local language website launched in April this year. Currently being redesigned.
- Fairly basic local language social media strategy. Two objectives:
(i) inform/educate; (ii) outreach/community growth.
- Aim to hold one EA event per month. Events have included talks, speed networking, discussion groups, and community volunteering.
- Strong interest in AI safety within the community: ¼ to ⅓ of the member base.
- Untapped/neglected market for EAs: Highly charitable society. Large population (270m). Regularly among the top of list of countries in Charity Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index.
- Potentially huge audience for 80k Hours. The Indonesian government offers around 4000 scholarships for citizens to study postgraduate courses in Indonesia or overseas. Many go to top universities around the world. Recipients are grouped into cohorts which could be targeted.
- Key-person risk: One lead organiser coordinating the community. Highly stretched. Expat and likely to leave the country in < 12 months.
- Struggled to make inroads into universities. So far no university group in Indonesia. Only 2 students among our membership.
- English language use is not widespread. Most online content and EA books are not accessible to Indonesians.
- Please do put us in touch with any Indonesians who might be interested in EA!
- Nascent community with about seven active core members, two EAIF-funded part-time community builders (Anneke & Moon) and an OP-funded team of translators
- At least six members of our community will attend EAGx!
- Some of our early successes
- Hosted a “mini-EAGx” student conference with about 30 attendees in March 2023
- Supporting the set-up of an entity for AIS-specific field building in Japan (with the broad goal to build something like an AIS hub)
- Recently finished facilitating the first-ever EA intro fellowship and AGI fundamentals study group in Japanese
- Launched a new EA Japan website which includes the complete EA handbook in Japanese
- Finding (potential) community builders
- Navigating the post-FTX funding landscape
- Overcoming the language barrier (most Japanese people don’t feel comfortable discussing complex topics in English)
- Anneke and Moon are really sad to miss the retreat and would love to connect!
- We’re pretty lowkey, because
- Capacity constraints.
- Malaysia is a middle-in-the-road country.
- Here are our members
- Pretty small locally, but there’s some Malaysian diaspora working in EA orgs in the UK, US, etc
- We have a pretty small but growing community of rationalists
A. Meta Organizations/ Projects:
- City / National Group: EA Philippines
- University Groups:
- Recent Conference: EAGxPhilippines - October 20-22, 2023
- Recent Career Planning Retreat for Students and Professionals
- We made a tentative list of recommended local charities back in 2021. (Note that this is now somewhat outdated, and we have changes/improvements in mind for this document.)
- EA Concepts Translation Project
B. Some Cause/ Topic Specific Organisations
-includes Projects, Research incubated, operating in the Philippines, started / lead/ worked on by awesome EAs in the Philippines
- AI Safety
- Farmed Animal Welfare:
- Mental Health
- Phlourish Mental Health Initiative
- Scale and Neglectedness of Mental Health Disorders in the Philippines
- EA PH Mental Health Charity Ideas Research Shallow Reports
- Global Health and Development
- Aims to foster a community of ambitious, careful and committed thinkers and builders focused on effectively tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems through a focus on China’s role in the world.
We currently do this by facilitating action-guiding discussions, identifying talent and community infrastructure gaps and developing new programmes to support impactful China-focused work.
- Recently had leadership change from FTE to volunteers
- Monthly socials for the community to connect with each other
- 1-1s with organisers as needed.
- Mostly based in a WhatsApp group
- An EA group in the National University of Singapore.
- Farm animal welfare organisation focused on running courses within the region
- Cause prioritisation research. Charity incubated by Charity Entrepreneurship
- Focused on creating an ecosystem for alternative proteins
- Consultancy on cage-free eggs
Effective Giving SG
- An interest group to see if something can be done about effective giving in Singapore.
- An interest group on AI safety.
South Korea 🇰🇷
- Based in Seoul, South Korea
- Currently working on translating the EA Handbook into Korean with support from Open Phil
- Operating out of a Discord server
- Helping setup AMF Korea for tax efficient means of donating to AMF
Active leadership members include Saeyoung Kim and Mike Pool
Viet Nam 🇻🇳
- Reborned many times. Slowly growing. Gained some interest but not enough time and commitment to grow bigger.
- Most known through Doing Good Better Vietnamese translation, debate competitions, and online content.
- A mix of Vietnamese, overseas Vietnamese, and expats in Vietnam.
- Human resources, language barrier.
- Active leadership: Nguyen Tran - firstname.lastname@example.org
EA Fulbright (Fulbright University Vietnam)
- Also Nguyen Tran
- Small and growing rationalist community.
- Active leadership: Hiep Bui - email@example.com
- Past Glory
- 2017 Peak: Taiwan had an active EA community, with regular reading groups in the past.
- Loss of Momentum: Over time, the community diminished and regular meetups stopped, as leaders & some of the community builders left Taiwan for studying/working abroad.
- New Beginnings in 2023
- Renewed Interest: Starting 2023, new EAs have shown interest, especially in AI safety and data-based decision-making.
- EAGxPhilippines Visit: A recent visit to EAGxPhilippines, ignited our inspiration during the engagement with all East and Southeast Asian EA communities, led us to the idea of future plans.
- Future Plans
- Student Organisations: Considering starting groups like EA NTU.
- Reviving Activities: Plans to restart reading/study groups.
- Translation Work: Aiming to translate EA documents to empower the Mandarin community.
- Unique Position
- Irreplaceable Global Asset: Taiwan holds a unique, irreplaceable position in the Mandarin community, given China's large population and the government's cautious stance on EA-related community.
No official group but there are interested individuals. You may contact Vorathep at vorathep112 at gmail dot com for this.