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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Dissecting the 2018 Election in Malaysia: The End of Cronyism?

The key challenge of undoing six decades of cronyism, patronage and money politics was a central point highlighted during Asia Centre’s roundtable discussion on the Malaysian elections held in May 2018. Despite the political earthquake, the end of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule in Malaysia after 61 years and the defeat of former Prime Minister Najib’s government, fundamental change is not guaranteed.   All speakers at the roundtable, held on 22 June 2018 at Asia Centre, observed this critical point. It remains to be seen if the new government of Pakatan Harapan (PH) can usher out the politics of ‘money, race and…

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Asia Centre announces Malaysia branch

Asia Centre has initiated plans to establish a second branch in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The new branch will complement and extend the reach of programmes currently organized by Asia Centre Thailand in Bangkok. The announcement of Asia Centre Malaysia was made by Dr. James Gomez, Chairman, Board of Directors of Asia Centre, on the occasion of the Centre’s third anniversary in Bangkok. He noted that the timing for a second Centre in Malaysia is ripe, as the political developments in the country point to opportunities for more robust conversations. Johor Bahru was selected as the preferred location for the Centre’s second…

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Asia Centre recruits new talent at Webster University’s Career and Internship Fair

Asia Centre had the opportunity to showcase its internship programme at the annual Webster University Thailand Career and Internship Fair on 4 April 2018.     Asia Centre offers two forms of internship: Research, which focuses on researching and preparing evidence to inform reports, articles and conference papers; and Communications, which involves social media promotion, business planning, and creating marketing strategies. Both kinds of internship were met with enthusiasm, and several Webster University students submitted applications at the Fair. Further information on the programme, including the application form, is available here.    Students from the Master of Arts in International Relations…

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The Rohingya Crisis: Asia Centre Deliberates Solutions to the Crisis at Conference in Bangladesh

Asia Centre contributed to the search for solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Bangaldesh during the International Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions, held in Dhaka from 2-3 April 2018.   The conference revealed Bangladesh’s pressing search for assistance with the humanitarian crisis, its concern over the implications - economic, ecological, political and social - of hosting over one million Rohingya for the long term, and its search for durable solutions (e.g. safe repatriation), which ultimately lie in Myanmar.   In this context, Dr. Robin Ramcharan examined the role of ASEAN in the crisis. He…

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Third Annual Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable

In discussions on contemporary South-East Asian politics, a gap exists between the growing discourse on nationalism and national leadership and the gendered perspective on Benedict Anderson’s narrative on nationalism. To address this gap, a diverse and experienced panel, together with an audience of around 35 attendees, held a ‘conversation’ on multiple interconnected issues surrounding feminism, nationalist expression, political control, and women’s leadership in the post-modern political landscape.   The occasion was the annual Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable, held on 19 January 2018. Asia Centre hosts the annual Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable to honour the significance of the late professor’s contribution to…

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