ASIA Centre inks MOU with Calcutta University

Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre and Professor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee, Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University’s signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 8 February 2019 in Kolkata, India.The MOU signing was part of the Government of West Bengal’s push for its universities to collaborate with knowledge partners abroad.  The event was witnessed by Kolkata’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banarjee during the 5th Bengal Global Business Summit that took place on 7-8 February 2019. For ASIA Centre, the MOU signings form part of the Centre’s strategy to engage externally and build more partnerships globally.Asia Centre will be undertaking more…

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Asia Centre engages with Indian Universities and Think-Tanks

Over February to March 2019, Asia Centre will participate in several meetings organised by Indian universities and think-tanks in Kolkata. Kicking-off, Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre will be Calcutta’s University delegate to the Bengal Global Business Summit on 7th and 8th February 2019. The annual flagship event, organized by Government of West Bengal, is positioned as the business gateway to South-East Asia and North-East India. During the occasion, Asia Centre will sign an Memorandum of Understanding with Calcutta University to formalise cooperation between the two entities. A month later, from 8 to 9 March 2019, Tessa…

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ASIA Centre Takes Fake News Discussion to Indonesia

Asia Centre and local partner – Indonesian alumni of Asian Public Intellectuals - co-organised two seminars on fake news or “berita hoax” in Jakarta on 16 and 17 Jan 2019. The seminars are part of a series of activities around fake news Asia Centre will undertake with partners in Indonesia in 2019. On 16 January 2019, the first seminar entitled “Fake News and Freedom of Expression” was hosted by venue partner KineForum at a theaterette at the Tun Ismail Marzuki arts complex. Speakers included, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez, Dr. Sri Nuryanti, LIPI political researcher and former Election Commissioner (2007-2012),…

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4th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable: Chinese Nationalism

China’s rise and its increasing assertive efforts to re-shape the world order have far-reaching consequences, in particular in Southeast Asia. In the age of information and disinformation, China’s ambitions as a global power must be appreciated critically, inclusive of the fact that Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are means to an end - removing China’s sense of being ‘encircled’ by its global competitors, namely the United States and its allies. To dissect China’s foreign policy and its impact on the region, Asia Centre held its 4th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable entitled “Chinese Nationalism and Its…

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Asia Centre on The SDGs, Climate Change and Human Rights: The Indonesian Palm Oil Industry

As states seek to address climate change resilience following the Paris Agreement by committing to ‘foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development’, they appear to be willing in so far as such measures do threaten food production” (SDG Indicator 13.2.1). An analysis of the palm oil industry in Indonesia exposes a potential rights conundrum amidst the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Asia Centre’s Dr. Robin Ramcharan dissected this apparent conundrum in relation to the Palm Oil industry in Indonesia in a lecture to the Leuven Center for Global Governance in Belgium on 20 December 2018. The palm oil…

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Asia Centre Develops Partnerships in New Zealand

Asia Centre has built two partnerships around impact projects on Fake News and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Southeast Asia during its New Zealand outreach from 21-31 October 2018 to seek out collaboration opportunities. Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre, kicked off the first leg of the trip as an Activist-in-Residence at the Massey University-Center for Culture-Centered Approach (CARE) on October 23rd-26th. One focus during this residency was to collaborate with CARE on “Communication, Democracy and Freedom in Asia” highlighting the “Fake News” challenge to democracy. The issues were delivered in the form of a public lecture…

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Asia Centre Participates in Workshop on Freedom of Religion or Belief

  3 November 2018 - Dr. Robin Ramcharan analysed the role of youth interaction with religious leaders in constraining religious extremism during a workshop on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), organised by the Rule of Law Program of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and its partners in Singapore, from 29 to 30 October 2018.  He noted analysis worldwide that showed the impact of marginalization and of religious-dissonance on the progression of youth from their regular lives towards extremist thoughts  and sometimes violence. Research has shown that religious leaders can play a vital role in youths’ search for theological consistency in their…

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Asia Centre’s Japan Outreach

As part of Asia Centre’s regional outreach, Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre visited Tokyo, Japan during the first week of October 2018. This visit builds on a series of activities over the last three years the Centre has undertaken with Japanese academia, civil society and other supporting institutions.  During the visit, on 2 October, Dr. Gomez was invited by Professor Yasushi Katsuma to lecture on “Fake News and Elections in Southeast Asia” for the graduate students at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University in Tokyo. One of the main discussion points was around the question…

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The Rohingya Crisis: A Long, Tortuous Road to Security and Justice

One year after the start of the latest mass exodus of Rohingya fleeing violence and persecution by the Myanmar Government and military, the prospects of a deepening humanitarian crisis and of achieving justice are prolonged indefinitely into the future. This is the grim conclusion drawn from Asia Centre’s one day conference on The Rohingya Crisis: A Multidimensional Tragedy, on 24 August 2018. Participants noted a number of salient points as follows.  Very few of the refugees have returned to their homes in Rakhine state, despite an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, which hosts around one million Rohingya ‘refugees’. Failing security…

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States have a duty to regulate businesses to protect human rights

Conference Report: The duty of the State to protect human rights and regulate the behaviour of business organizations was the focal point of discussions at Asia Centre’s International Conference on Business and Human Rights: Holding Governments Accountable (BHR Conference), held on 12 and 13 July 2018 in Bangkok. The focus on the duty of the State was deemed important by the conference participants as Asian countries increasingly consider the development of national action plans (NAPs) on BHR. Experts from around the world analysed the multifaceted linkages between business operations and international human rights norms but circled back to point to…

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