Civil Society Empowerment must be at the Centre of COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

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On 9 December 2020, Asia Centre released its second baseline study “COVID-19 and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Building Resilience, Fighting Authoritarianism”. This report examines the state of democracy and human rights in the region, from 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2020, and the accelerated regression thereof due to COVID-19. The report was presented by Dr. James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre. Following the unveiling,  key themes of the report were discussed by Dr. Rebecca (Bec) Strating, Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University; Dr. Kristina Kironska, Researcher, Palacky University of Olomouc; Celito Arlegue, Executive Director, Council of Asian…

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Women Lead 2019-20 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Awards

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Women led at the Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award Ceremony on the 2nd of December 2020 at 2 PM - 3.30 PM (GMT+7, Bangkok).The female-dominated field of the top ten journalists were positively judged on their delivery of high-quality articles on the issues of poverty and inequality in Asia. Out of the twelve journalists, who wrote the top ten articles, eleven were women.Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia convened an online award ceremony in place of a face-to-face event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic travel advisories. For this year’s nominations, there were 100 submissions, from 7 countries in the…

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Asia Centre’s Internship Programme

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From 2016 to 2020, Asia Centre’s Internship Programme has hosted 33 interns, with a 2:4 male to female ratio for a total of 133 months. The interns were either undergraduates or postgraduates enrolled at universities in Australia, East Africa, East Asia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Southern Africa and the USA.Intern’s applying to Asia Centre begin the process by filling in the online application form on the website and attaching copies of a CV, an official letter of university enrollment and photo page of passport or ID (for Thai applicants only). Following a review of the submitted documents, shortlisted applicants…

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3rd ASEAN-Japan Roundtable: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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On 18 November 2020, Asia Centre, in partnership with the Japan Foundation, convened the 3rd ASEAN-Japan Roundtable on the topic of “ASEAN-Japan relations: The Impact of the COVID-19  pandemic”, the video of which can be viewed here. Experts in ASEAN-Japan relations came together to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in Japanese society and Japan’s relationship with ASEAN countries in terms of economy, geopolitical developments and people-to-people relations.   Dr. Robin Ramcharan, Executive Director, Asia Centre, welcomed the speakers and participants in his opening remarks that recapped the content of the Centre’s 1st and 2nd ASEAN-Japan round tables held in 2017 and 2019.…

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Asia Centre Convenes “Infodemic” Discussion

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Asia Centre, in partnership with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand (TECO) and the Thai Media Fund, convened a discussion on “Countering the COVID-19 Infodemic: Sharing Best Practices” on 4 November 2020. The session, which brought together speaks from Taiwan and Thailand, examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic creating an “Infodemic” which has challenged countries trying to tackle issues of disinformation, misinformation and too much information as there has been a surge of fake news related to COVID-19, placing vulnerable communities at risk to the public health arena and national security.Ambassador Lee, Ying-Yuan (Taiwan’s Representative to Thailand) introduced…

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5th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable: COVID-19 & Vaccine Nationalism

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Asia Centre will convene the 5th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable entitled, ‘COVID-19 & Vaccine Nationalism’. The event, held in partnership with the Thai Media Fund, will take place next year on January 20, 2021 at 2 PM - 3.30 PM (Bangkok, Thailand, GMT+7).This event will review the implications of pre-purchase agreements being made between governments and vaccine manufacturers to secure and prioritise a country’s needs before others. In particular, it will examine how high demand for a COVID-19 vaccine, now commonly known as ‘vaccine nationalism’, will affect Asia.Since 2016, Asia Centre has convened 4 memorial roundtables to examine the work…

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5th International Conference (2020): Hate Speech in Asia: Challenges and Solutions

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From 7 to 9 October 2020, Asia Centre convened its fifth International Conference on Hate Speech in Asia: Challenges and Solutions. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 travel and health advisories, this conference was convened as a hybrid event with participants joining in-person as well as teleconferencing from locations worldwide. The Law Faculty of Thammasat University was the location for the first day of the conference. Thereafter, starting that evening, panels were hosted in Asia Centre’s office and online.Into its 5th year, Asia Centre’s annual conference continued to grow from the previous year in spite of the pandemic. There were 18…

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Hate Speech Solutions Require Multi-Stakeholder Approach

Hate speech in Southeast Asia has evolved into new forms and requires a multi-stakeholder approach for finding sustainable solutions. Civil society, governments and technology companies need to work together to address the issue.This was the general consensus that emerged when Asia Centre launched its report, Hate Speech in Southeast Asia: New Forms, Old Rules, via webinar on July 22nd. Some 200 people registered to attend the event via Zoom which was also live streamed over Facebook and shared widely.Dr Robin Ramcharan, Asia Centre’s Executive Director presented the report. He noted, that “apart from those based on race and religion, new…

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Asia Centre and Oxfam Announce Journalism Award Finalists

Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2019 Journalism For An Equitable Asia Award.As thought leaders and creators, journalists have the skills and voice to expose social issues of inequality to build the public’s understanding and support for equality, #humanrights, and #sustainability. Many journalists across Asia fight the injustice of #inequality and poverty. Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award, co-hosted by  Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia aims to recognize them and encourage more journalists to write for a fairer #Asia.  Here are the finalists:Aidila Razak is Special Reports Editor at Malaysiakini, where she explores…

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Hate Speech Echoes Government Speak

Hate speech in society towards vulnerable communities often reflects the discriminatory and prejudicial language by government officials and political leaders. In Southeast Asia, the spike in hate speech against migrant workers, refugees, undocumented workers, ethnic minorities and the homeless can be attributed to this trend. This was the analysis offered by speakers at Asia Centre’s webinar on COVID-19 and Vulnerable Communities on 24 June 2020. (watch it here)  The webinar attended by over 114 attendees of 380 registrants, offered a thorough discussion on hate speech arising from government and political speak. The event follows an earlier webinar on COVID-19 and…

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