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SEA Symposium 2016 – Call for Volunteers

Project Southeast Asia is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help organise and run the 5th Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium at the University of Oxford, 15 – 17 April 2016.

The Southeast Asian Studies Symposium is the world’s largest annual conference on Southeast Asia. It aims to present interdisciplinary and transnational solutions to contemporary Southeast Asian issues; to provide opportunities for dialogue and networking among academic, business, political, and civil society leaders from Europe and Southeast Asia; and to provide a platform for emerging and established scholars to demonstrate their latest research on Southeast Asia.

In 2015, over 700 people took part in the 4th annual Symposium, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was opened by DYMM Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, and closed with a public lecture by Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University). [Above: Photo of the volunteers at the 4th Symposium, at Sunway University, Malaysia.]

In 2016, the 5th annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium returns to Oxford. It will be held at Green Templeton College and the adjacent, state of the art Andrew Wiles Building of the Mathematical Institute.

For more information, please visit the 2016 Symposium page (or visit the pages for the 2014 or 2015 Symposia) or email Dr PJ Thum (

An introductory meeting will be held on 19 May 2015, Tuesday, at 6 pm, at The Jam Factory (Hollybush Row, Oxford OX1 1HU). Please email Dr PJ Thum,, if you are interested in attending. Finger food and drinks will be served.

Download an information leaflet.

Why Volunteer?

  • Vision: The Symposium embodies the core vision of Project Southeast Asia: to pioneer transnational, interdisciplinary studies of Southeast Asia, in order to contribute solutions to Southeast Asia’s most pressing contemporary issues relevant to the people of Southeast Asia. The Symposium is unique. It is more than academic conference. It seeks to bring together leaders of academia, politics, business, and civil society, in order to discuss solutions and to make a difference.
  • Impact: The Southeast Asian Studies Symposium is the world’s largest annual Southeast Asian Studies conference. In 2015 it drew over 700 people, including members of royalty; politicians; over 200 of the world’s leading scholars of Southeast Asia; a wide variety of business leaders; civil society activists; and students. Speakers included DYMM Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, Prof Wang Gungwu (National University of Singapore); Prof Nick Rawlins (University of Oxford); Prof Barry Eichengreen (University of California, Berkeley); and Prof Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University).
  • Innovation: The Symposium is entirely volunteer-run, and we welcome students and scholars of all levels who are interested in Southeast Asia. We  offer great scope for enterprising, entrepreneurial individuals to make a difference in the field of Southeast Asian Studies and to organise a major international conference. Do you have an idea for how to bring people together to make Southeast Asia a better place? We are a platform for you to make that idea a reality.

All volunteers will receive complimentary registration for the Southeast Asian Studies Symposium.

Read more

Report, Photos, and Videos online

A general report on the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium is now online. Individual reports on the sessions are being uploaded. Photos are available at our facebook page. Videos of sessions are also being uploaded.

If you have any photos or video of the Symposium, please do share them with us (!

4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium now on!

The 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium is now on! Follow us on Facebook (, on Twitter (@projectsea), and Instagram (@projectsoutheastasia) with hashtag ‪#‎psea2015‬.

The University of Oxford signs Statement of Intent with the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

The University of Oxford signed a Statement of Intent with the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF) on 16 December 2014, for a range of academic and cultural project collaborations between Oxford and JCF. The agreement was signed between Oxford Pro Vice-Chancellor Nick Rawlings and Jeffrey Cheah Foundation Founding Trustee Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.

The first such collaboration will be the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium in March 2015. It will include a specially curated exhibition of artefacts from the Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian Library. The Southeast Asian Studies Symposium is the world’s largest annual Southeast Asian studies conference. You can register for it here.

Following the signing, Oxford Professor Emeritus Peter Carey delivered the Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series lecture on “The Uses and Abuses of History”.

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JCF is a not-for-profit foundation and Malaysia’s largest education-focused social enterprise dedicated to providing high quality education, teaching and research in Malaysia through the 12 institutions of the Sunway Education Group (SEG), and in particular Sunway University and Monash University Malaysia.

This partnership with JCF illustrates Project Southeast Asia’s commitment to building relationships, exchanges, and collaborations between Oxford and Southeast Asia, alongside its goals of promoting transnational and interdisciplinary research of Southeast Asia, and broadening access to an Oxford education for all Southeast Asians.

Registration now open for the 4th SEA Studies Symposium!

Registration is now open for the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium.

Please visit our registration page to register. Registration closes on 28 February 2015.

A programme, list of panels, list of roundtables & workshops, and list of keynote speakers are also available. Please note the programme is subject to change.

This year we are also delighted to offer tours of two major research facilities in Kuala Lumpur: the Arkib Negara Malaysia (National Archives of Malaysia) and the Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia. Both tours are limited to 30 people, and are an optional add-on for any registered Symposium participant.

See you in Sunway!


One Week left to submit a proposal

There is just one week left to submit a proposal for a paper or panel at the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium 2015. The Symposium will be held Friday 20 March 2015 to Sunday 22 March 2015  at Sunway University, Malaysia, in conjunction with the Asian Economic Panel conference (Monday 23 March 2015 to Tuesday 24 March 2015).

We invite proposals for panels, roundtables, workshops, and papers. The 2015 Symposium will focus on the theme of “The Year of ASEAN: Integrating Southeast Asia”, particularly in regard to the four sub-themes of the Environment and Natural Resources, Public Health, Education, and Economic Development. However, proposals focusing on any topics relating to Southeast Asia are welcome.

The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2014. Please read below or visit our Call for Panels and Papers webpage for more information.

We hope you will join us for our grand Malaysian adventure!

Announcement: Asian Economic Panel conference to be held in conjunction with the Symposium

Project Southeast Asia and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia (JCI) are pleased to announce that the Asian Economic Panel (AEP) conference will be held in conjunction with the 4th Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium. The Symposium will be held 20-22 March 2015, and the AEP conference will follow immediately on 23-24 March 2015. Both will be hosted by the JCI at Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Registration to the Symposium includes entry to the AEP conference, and will open on 15 November 2015.

Participants include: Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University), Barry Eichengreen (University of California, Berkeley), Chalongphob Sussangkarn (Thailand Development Research Institute), Kiyohiko Nishimura (University of Tokyo), Fan Gang (National Economic Research Institute), and Woo Wing Thye (Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia).

AEP invites about 40 economists from around the world (particularly from Asia) to meet three times a year to discuss issues that are important to sub-regions of Asia or individual Asian countries. The proceedings of the AEP conference are edited and published thrice yearly in a journal, Asian Economic Papers (MIT Press).

You can download the press release.

Read more

SEA Studies Symposium 2015 – Call for Panels and Papers

The Call for Panels and Papers for the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium 2015 has been released. Co-hosted by the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, the Symposium will be held Friday 20 March 2015 to Sunday 22 March 2015 at Sunway University, Malaysia. The theme for the 2015 Symposium is “The Year of ASEAN: Integrating Southeast Asia”. The Symposium will focus on four subthemes on the Environment and Natural Resources, Public Health, Education, and the Economy, but submissions on all topics are welcome. The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2014. Please visit the Call for Panels and Papers website to submit a panel or paper proposal.

We hope all of you will join us in Malaysia!

Announcement: 4th SEA Studies Symposium

Project Southeast Asia is pleased to announce that the 4th  Southeast Asian Studies Symposium  will be hosted by the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia (JCI) at Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20-22 March 2015. The Call for Panels & Papers will be released shortly. Please visit our Symposium website, join our mailing list or visit our Facebook page to stay informed on the latest updates. You can download the press release here. We look forward to seeing all of you in Kuala Lumpur! Read more

Today: Verapat Pariyawong on the “Thailand and the Rule of No Law”.

Verapat Pariyawong (Former Special Counsel to the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand) will be speaking at the Dahrendorf Room, St Antony’s College, today (Thursday 29 May 2014) at 2pm. Verapat was summoned by National Council for Peace and Order yesterday but has refused to report.


The session will be focussing on Thai politics following the 2006 coup and how the protesters, the care taking government, the courts and military establishment and different classes in Thai society are currently dealing with the political struggles while relying on some form of legal arguments. The current political battle is not fought by mere physical power like in the past, but rather some form of legitimacy power claimed by all sides, each interpreting the constitution differently. As the struggles push closer to the critical point, the dynamic of power politics in an emerging Democracy such as Thailand is being illustrated clearer than before.

About the Speaker:

Verapat Pariyawong is a recognized Thai legal advisor and political commentator. He was Special Counsel to Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Honorary Advisor to Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of Thailand. He holds a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School where he was also a Fulbright Scholar and held honorary distinction for his LL.M. paper on Thai constitutional and political issues.

He was guest-lecturer and speaker at various universities and leading institutions in Thailand; and among his audience were the current and former Prime Ministers of Thailand, the Speaker of the Thai Parliament and the Speaker of the Thai Senate. He co-authored a policy study report on Thai electoral system for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and published articles and chapters on constitutional and international law in academic journals and liber amicorum. Apart from appearing regularly in the Thai press, his comments were reported internationally by ABC (Australia), Agence France-Presse, Aljazeera, Associated Press, BBC World Service, Channel News Asia, China Central Television (CCTV), DPA (Germany), Kyodo (Japan), the New York Times, the Strait Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Xinhua News Agency.